Simple strategies to get faster in Spring 2023
Good weather is around the corner and it’s the perfect time to focus your training. Here are 6 ways to get faster – fast!
What is it about Spring that makes everything seem easier? Maybe it’s the longer daylight hours, milder weather, or cheery sunshine. This time of year is tailor-made for working towards a clear running goal.
Speed is a great goal, whether you want to get faster for a race PB or simply cover more ground on your regular running routes. But how exactly can you achieve that goal?
Intervals are a challenging but satisfying way to add speedwork to your training programme. If you’ve never tried them, now’s the time! Intervals are not just for fast runners. Everyone can do them (after all, how do you think the fast runners got fast…)
Intervals are most effective on a flat, even surface where it’s easy to measure 200m, 400m, and 800m intervals. Most running clubs will provide access to a local track. If you can’t get to a track, run intervals as part of any flat running route.
Always warm up with 10 minutes/1 mile easy pace. Then run 6 x 200m sprints at a high intensity (with 200m walk/jog in between). In time you can increase this to 400m or even 800m intervals.
Try hill sprints
Hill sprints are a tough but simple way to build speed and power which will translate brilliantly into flat runs. Running on an incline reduces the impact on your joints. By powering up the hill, you will teach your body to use the major muscles in your legs and bum.
Find a local hill that’s about 8-12% incline. Jog 10 minutes to warm up and then power up the hill for 10 seconds before walking back down. Repeat this 6 times, adding reps on each week until you can do 12.
Tempo run sessions
Tempo runs are a staple part of any decent training programme, and will definitely help you get faster. Tempo runs are done at medium to high intensity, at a pace faster than usual. Tempo running will get your body and mind used to the feeling of holding a higher pace without backing off. Ideal if you’ve entered some races this year!
Warm up at your usual pace for 10 minutes/1 mile, then run 10 minutes at 20s slower than your 10K pace. Build up the amount of time every week (your maximum tempo run will depend on your distance goal). Always cool down with 5 minutes at an easy pace.
Enter a 5K
It’s difficult to really push yourself when running alone. Races provide the atmosphere to spur you on to run your true 5K time so you have a benchmark.
Simple! Search online or ask your running friends for recommendations of local races. If you have a local Parkrun, this is a great way to get a 5K time on a route you can repeat in future.
Get a little lighter
We’re certainly not saying every woman needs to lose weight! But the truth is that any excess weight will add time to your runs. It’s simply because heavier bodies don’t move as fast (unless all the weight is from muscle, like an elite sprinter). Weight loss will always be entirely your own decision, and we support all shapes and sizes here. But if you want to get faster, losing a little weight is one of many things that will help.
Losing weight comes down to calorie balance, so if you’re eating more than you expend you won’t lose weight. You already exercise, so look to your calorie intake to address the balance. Assess your portion sizes, snacking habits, and the fatty and sugary foods you know carry a lot of calories.
Eat more carbohydrates
Nutrition is highly individual, but many runners aren’t fuelling their bodies enough to train hard and get faster. The body prefers carbohydrates over any other macronutrient for fast energy. Are you eating enough?
Try increasing the amount of carbohydrates you eat at breakfast time and before running on training days. Choose healthy, natural carbohydrates like fruit, rice, rice cakes, honey, oats and other whole grains (rather than manmade carbohydrates like sweets and pastries).
Windsor Women’s 10k Saturday 23rd September to enter now click here