A guide to running a bit faster

You may be thinking, what can a marathon WAG that gets gooey over patterned leggings and likes to co-ordinate her nails and running gear teach me about running faster? That’s fair enough. I don’t normally like to mention stats and times on this blog, as it’s dull and can be alienating (plus I’m far too modest, of course). But as someone with a 3:18 marathon personal best time who’s currently training for a sub 3:10 to qualify automatically for New York, I like to think I know a few things about running fast (if nothing else of any use). I’m relying on the following things to hopefully bag my shopping running trip to the Big Apple:

  • Set aside time to run: Whether you’re training for a 5k or a marathon, dedication is important. If you’re looking to go considerably faster, training at least five times a week is pretty essential (I find lunchtime runs and running to work are good ways to fit runs in around a busy schedule).
  • Run with someone fast: When running alone (and in particular on long runs), it can be tempting to settle into an easy pace, but running with someone that’s a bit faster than you can help to push you outside your comfort zone. Hopefully you’ll be surprised that running that bit faster isn’t as hard as you might have expected. I’m lucky to have ultra-pal Matt to train with, but there are online running partner sites to find a fast running buddy.
  • Interval/sprint training: This is, without a doubt, the most important session of the week for runners wanting to run faster. I’m yet to learn to really enjoy this one, but training with a partner or club helps (as does thinking about the post-interval endorphins). I picked up some useful tips from Life Laura London’s blog about sprint techniques, which made me realise where I was going wrong all these years (turns out it’s all in the butt!).
  • Listen to drum ‘n’ bass: Or any music with around 170-180 beats per minute (I like to think my younger years spent in clubs like Fabric were all in the name of research 😉 ). It doesn’t have to be dance music – this site has some good alternatives. This helps to increase your stride rate which can in turn improve running form.
  • Invest in some racing shoes: These are different to minimal or barefoot shoes, although are similarly light. Unsurprisingly, running faster is much easier without two bricks strapped to your feet. This may take some adjusting to if you’re used to cushioned shoes, but most brands make versions for over/under-pronators too. I’m a big fan of Adidas’ Adizero range, in particular the Adios shoes which Haile Gebrselassie runs in (although sadly I’ll never catch him up in mine). Find others here.
  • The old faithful, ‘tell everyone’ trick. Decide on the time you want to run and tell everyone – your friends, colleagues, twitter. Anyone who’ll listen, really.

And finally, there’s nothing like crossing the finish line in super-fast time – it’ll score you major bragging rights and secure you automatic entry to over-subscribed races. No-one said it was easy getting there, but it’s certainly worth it, trust me!

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11 thoughts on “A guide to running a bit faster

  1. Pingback: A guide to running a bit faster | confessionsofanobsessiverunner

  2. Haha, so I see what you mean now about getting targeted DMC! When you were telling me that, I didn’t realise you were talking about yourself! I better keep a look out, team-mates in Steenbergen, enemies elsewhere 😉

  3. Pingback: The Running Mummy Tries a Triathlon - It's a Mummy's Life

  4. Bit late to the party here but love this post Cat – you’re a machine, I’ll take advice from you any day with marathon times like that!! I’ve just blogged about learning to run faster – although my post is a bit less heavy on actual tips and more full of gushing sentiments and love for group runs and speed work. Oh, and dnb is always my music of choice when running – bang on beat! x

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