How To Train Yourself To Run Faster

How to Train Yourself to Run Faster


Running is a great form of exercise that not only improves cardiovascular health but also helps to maintain a healthy weight and build strong muscles. If you’re a runner looking to enhance your speed, there are several training techniques and strategies that can help you achieve your goal. In this article, we will explore some effective ways to train yourself to run faster.

The Importance of Speed Training

Training to run faster is not only beneficial for competitive runners but also for individuals looking to improve their overall fitness level. Here are some key reasons why speed training is essential:
1. Improved Performance: Speed training can significantly enhance your running performance, allowing you to increase your speed and tempo.
2. Increased Muscle Strength: Engaging in speed training exercises can help build stronger muscles, particularly in the legs and core, enabling you to generate more power and speed.
3. Enhanced Endurance: By incorporating speed workouts into your training routine, you can improve your cardiovascular endurance, enabling you to run longer distances at a higher speed.
4. Injury Prevention: Speed training can help strengthen muscles and improve flexibility, reducing the risk of common running injuries such as shin splints and muscle strains.

Effective Speed Training Techniques

1. Interval Training

Interval training involves alternating between high-intensity bursts of speed and periods of active recovery. This method helps improve both speed and endurance. Here’s how to incorporate interval training into your running routine:
– Warm up by jogging or walking for 5-10 minutes.
– Sprint at maximum effort for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
– Recover by jogging or walking for 1-2 minutes.
– Repeat the cycle for a total of 10-15 minutes.
– Gradually increase the number of intervals as your fitness level improves.

2. Fartlek Training

Fartlek, a Swedish term meaning “speed play,” is a more flexible form of interval training. It involves incorporating bursts of speed into your regular running workout. Here’s how to include fartlek training in your routine:
– Begin your run at a comfortable pace for a few minutes.
– Pick a landmark ahead (e.g., a tree, signpost) and sprint towards it.
– Once you reach your chosen landmark, return to your regular pace.
– Repeat this pattern several times throughout your run, selecting different landmarks each time.
– Gradually increase the number and duration of the sprints as you progress.

3. Hill Repeats

Hill repeats are excellent for building strength and power in your leg muscles, which translates into increased speed on flat surfaces. Here’s how to do hill repeats:
– Find a hill with a moderate incline.
– Warm up by jogging for 5-10 minutes.
– Sprint uphill at maximum effort for 20-30 seconds.
– Walk or jog back down the hill to recover.
– Repeat the cycle for a total of 5-8 repetitions.
– As you become stronger, increase the number of hill repeats.

4. Tempo Runs

Tempo runs involve maintaining a challenging yet sustainable pace for an extended period. These runs primarily focus on increasing your lactate threshold, allowing you to run faster before fatigue sets in. Here’s how to incorporate tempo runs:
– Start with a warm-up jog for 10-15 minutes.
– Run at a comfortably hard pace, just below your maximum effort, for 20-30 minutes.
– Finish with a cool-down jog for 10-15 minutes.
– Begin with shorter tempo runs and gradually increase the duration as your fitness level improves.

5. Plyometric Exercises

Plyometric exercises help to develop explosive power, strength, and speed. Incorporating these exercises into your training routine can improve your running performance. Some examples of plyometric exercises for runners include:
– Box jumps: Jump onto a sturdy box or step and immediately jump back down.
– Single-leg hops: Hop from one leg to the other, focusing on explosive power.
– Squat jumps: Perform a squat and explosively jump into the air, landing softly back into a squat position.

Other Strategies for Running Faster

1. Proper Form

Maintaining proper running form is crucial for maximizing speed and efficiency. Here are some tips for improving your running form:
– Keep your body relaxed and upright, with a slight forward lean from the ankles.
– Strike the ground with your midfoot or forefoot, rather than your heel.
– Swing your arms parallel to your body, with a relaxed bend at the elbow.
– Maintain a quick turnover and avoid overstriding.

2. Strength Training

Incorporating strength training exercises into your routine can help build muscle strength and power, leading to faster running speeds. Focus on exercises that target the muscles used during running, such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts.

3. Consistency

Consistency is key when training to improve your speed. Stick to a regular and structured training plan, gradually increasing your intensity and volume over time.

4. Rest and Recovery

Allowing your body to recover is vital for avoiding burnout and reducing the risk of injury. Incorporate rest days into your training schedule and prioritize quality sleep and nutrition.

5. Proper Nutrition

Fueling your body with the right nutrients is essential for optimal performance. Consume a balanced diet, emphasizing lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.


1. How long does it take to see improvements in my running speed?

The time it takes to see improvements in running speed varies from person to person. With consistent training and dedication, you can start noticing improvements within a few weeks to a couple of months.

2. Is it necessary to incorporate speed workouts into my training routine if I’m not a competitive runner?

While speed workouts are often associated with competitive running, incorporating them into your training routine can still benefit recreational runners. Speed training helps improve overall fitness, endurance, and can add variety to your workouts.

3. How often should I do speed training exercises?

The frequency of speed training exercises depends on your fitness level and goals. As a general guideline, aim to incorporate speed workouts 1-2 times per week, allowing for adequate rest and recovery between sessions.

4. Can I incorporate speed training if I’m a beginner runner?

Yes, beginner runners can also benefit from incorporating speed training exercises into their routines. However, it’s essential to start slowly and gradually increase intensity and duration to avoid overexertion and injury.

5. What should I do if I experience pain or discomfort during speed training?

If you experience pain or discomfort during speed training, it’s crucial to listen to your body and take a break. It’s normal to feel some muscle soreness, but if you’re experiencing sharp pain or joint discomfort, consult with a healthcare professional.

6. Can cross-training activities help improve my running speed?

Yes, cross-training activities such as cycling, swimming, and strength training can help improve your running speed by targeting different muscle groups and enhancing overall fitness.

7. How can I stay motivated during speed training?

To stay motivated during speed training, consider setting specific goals, tracking your progress, and participating in races or virtual challenges. Having a training partner or joining a running club can also provide accountability and support.

8. What should I do on rest days during speed training?

On rest days, it’s essential to allow your body to recover and recharge. Engage in active recovery activities such as light stretching, yoga, or going for a leisurely walk.

9. Can wearing proper running shoes improve my speed?

Yes, wearing appropriate running shoes that provide proper support and cushioning can help improve your speed and reduce the risk of injury. Consult with a running specialty store or podiatrist to find the right shoes for your feet.

10. How long should I warm up before speed training?

It’s important to warm up adequately before speed training to increase blood flow to the muscles and prepare your body for intense exercise. Aim for a warm-up of 10-15 minutes, including light jogging and dynamic stretches.


Improving your running speed takes time, effort, and dedication. By incorporating speed training techniques, maintaining proper form, and following a consistent training plan, you can gradually increase your speed and become a faster runner. Remember to listen to your body, prioritize rest and recovery, and enjoy the process of challenging yourself to new heights. Happy running!

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