How To Get Faster At Distance Running

How To Get Faster At Distance Running

Distance running is a challenging and highly rewarding sport. Whether you’re a recreational jogger or a competitive athlete, improving your speed and endurance can take your running to the next level. In this article, we will discuss various strategies and training techniques that can help you become faster at distance running.

1. Set Specific Speed Goals

One of the first steps to getting faster at distance running is setting specific speed goals. This will give you something to work towards and help you stay motivated. Whether it’s improving your 5k time or shaving minutes off your marathon, having a clear goal can provide direction to your training.

2. Incorporate Interval Training

Interval training involves alternating between periods of high-intensity effort and lower intensity recovery. This type of training is an effective way to increase your running speed and build endurance. For example, you can alternate between a fast sprint and a slower jog for a set number of repetitions.

3. Increase Your Mileage

To become a faster distance runner, it’s important to gradually increase your weekly mileage. This will help you build the endurance necessary to maintain a faster pace for longer periods of time. Start by adding an extra mile or two to your weekly runs, and gradually increase from there.

4. Do Tempo Runs

Tempo runs are sustained efforts at a comfortably hard pace. By incorporating tempo runs into your training, you can increase your lactate threshold and improve your ability to sustain a faster pace over longer distances. Start with shorter tempo runs and gradually increase the duration as you build endurance.

5. Focus on Strength Training

Strength training is an important component of becoming a faster distance runner. It can help improve your running economy, power, and overall performance. Include exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts to strengthen your lower body and core muscles.

6. Work on Your Running Form

Proper running form can significantly impact your speed and efficiency. Focus on maintaining a tall posture, relaxed shoulders, and landing with a midfoot strike. Avoid overstriding and excessive arm swing, as these can waste energy and slow you down.

7. Cross-Train

Incorporating cross-training activities, such as swimming or cycling, can help you improve your overall fitness and prevent overuse injuries. These activities provide a low-impact way to build cardiovascular endurance and strengthen different muscle groups.

8. Get Adequate Rest and Recovery

Rest and recovery are essential for improving your running performance. Allow yourself sufficient time to rest between workouts and ensure you’re getting enough sleep. This will give your muscles time to repair and adapt, leading to improved speed and endurance.

9. Fuel Your Body Properly

Eating a well-balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats is crucial for fueling your body and supporting optimal performance. Make sure to consume enough calories to meet your energy needs and stay hydrated before, during, and after runs.

10. Stay Consistent

Consistency is key when it comes to improving your running speed. Stick to your training plan and make running a regular part of your routine. By consistently putting in the effort, you’ll see gradual improvements in your speed and endurance over time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How long does it take to get faster at distance running?

The time it takes to get faster at distance running varies for each individual. However, with consistent training and dedication, you can start to see improvements within a few weeks to a few months.

2. How often should I do interval training?

It is recommended to incorporate interval training into your routine 1-2 times per week, depending on your current fitness level and training goals.

3. Can strength training make me a faster runner?

Yes, strength training can help improve your running speed by increasing your power and running economy. Incorporate strength training exercises into your routine 2-3 times per week.

4. How important is rest and recovery?

Rest and recovery are crucial for allowing your muscles to repair and adapt, which is essential for improving speed and endurance. Make sure to include rest days in your training schedule and prioritize getting enough sleep.

5. Is it necessary to follow a specific diet for distance running?

While there is no one-size-fits-all diet for distance running, it is important to fuel your body properly with a balanced diet that includes carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Consult with a sports nutritionist to develop a personalized nutrition plan.

6. Can cross-training help improve my running performance?

Yes, cross-training activities can help improve overall fitness and prevent overuse injuries. Incorporate activities such as swimming or cycling 1-2 times per week to supplement your running training.

7. How can I stay motivated during the training process?

Staying motivated can be challenging, but setting specific goals, tracking your progress, and finding a running buddy or joining a running group can help keep you motivated and accountable.

8. Should I stretch before or after running?

It is recommended to do dynamic stretches before running to warm up your muscles and improve flexibility. Save static stretches for after your run to help with cooldown and flexibility.

9. How can I avoid common running injuries?

To avoid running injuries, make sure to gradually increase your mileage, listen to your body and rest when needed, wear proper running shoes, and incorporate strength training exercises to strengthen your muscles and joints.

10. When should I consider seeking the help of a running coach?

If you’re looking to take your running to the next level or are struggling to see improvements, it may be beneficial to seek the help of a running coach. They can provide personalized training plans, form analysis, and guidance to help you reach your goals.


Improving your speed at distance running requires a combination of consistent training, proper nutrition, adequate rest, and a focus on technique. By incorporating these strategies into your training routine and staying motivated, you can become a faster and more efficient distance runner.

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