How to improve your speed

How to Improve Your Speed: Unleash Your Inner Potential



Are monotonous runs weighing you down? Craving exhilaration and speed as you pound the pavement? It’s time to upshift your running game with Gym Local’s guidance. Discover proven techniques to accelerate your pace, break past plateaus, and unlock the full potential of your running prowess. From stride exercises to strength training and tailored drills, we’ll equip you to leave yesterday’s records in the dust and sprint towards new personal bests.

How to Improve Your Speed: Unleash Your Inner Potential
How to Improve Your Speed: Unleash Your Inner Potential

Aspect of Speed Development How It Supports Speed Improvement
Warming Up and Cooling Down Prepares the body for activity, flushes lactic acid, and helps avoid injuries.
Striding Exercises Boosts running economy and improves the efficiency of leg use.
Strength Training Builds lower-body muscle power to allow more forcefully driving off the ground.
Interval Training Improves your heart and lung’s ability to handle intense, short bursts.
Hill Training Strengthens muscles and improves stamina by providing resistance against gravity.
Speed Drills Enhances overall coordination, agility, and quickness of the feet and legs.

I. Warming Up and Cooling Down

Before you start your run, it’s crucial to prepare your body with a proper warm-up. Begin with 3-5 minutes of light cardio, like jogging in place or jumping jacks, to increase your heart rate and get your blood flowing.

Next, incorporate dynamic stretches that engage the muscles you’ll be using during your run. Focus on your legs, hips, and core. Swing your arms and stretch your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps. It’s important to keep these stretches dynamic, moving through them rather than holding them statically. Check out our article How to Do a Warm-Up and Cool-Down for specific stretching exercises.

After your run, a cool-down phase is equally important to aid recovery and prevent muscle soreness. Start with a slow jog or walk for 5-10 minutes to bring your heart rate down gradually. Follow this with static stretches, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds, focusing on the same muscle groups you stretched during the warm-up. Remember to stay hydrated throughout your run and cool-down.

Benefits of Warming Up and Cooling Down

  • Reduces the risk of injuries
  • Improves muscle performance
  • Increases blood flow to the muscles
  • Prepares the body for physical activity
  • Speeds up recovery after exercise

II. Techniques To Improve Speed

Striding Exercises

  • Increase Running Economy
  • Improve Leg Use Efficiency

Striding exercises offer significant advantages in running mechanics. They improve running economy, meaning you can run farther and faster while expending less energy, and also enhance the efficiency of your leg use, leading to more efficient movement.

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Strength Training

Benefits Focus
Developing Lower-Body Muscle Power for Enhanced Propulsion Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Glutes, and Core

Building strength in your lower body muscles, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core, through strength training is crucial for generating explosive power. This enables you to push off from the ground with greater force, resulting in increased running speed.

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Interval Training

  • Boost Your Heart and Lungs’ Ability to Handle Intense, Short Bursts

Interval training involves alternating between intense, short bursts of effort and brief periods of rest. This approach not only improves your cardiovascular system’s ability to handle intense efforts, but also enhances your speed by teaching your body to generate power quickly and maintain it for extended durations.

Hill Training

Benefits How It Helps
Strengthening Muscles and Improving Stamina Resistance Against Gravity

Hill training involves running up and down hills, utilizing the natural resistance provided by the incline to build lower body strength and improve endurance. Additionally, it engages your core muscles more than running on flat surfaces, enhancing your overall stability and balance.

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Speed Drills

  • Enhanced Coordination, Agility, and Quickness
  • Improved Foot and Leg Movement

Speed drills are exercises specifically designed to enhance your coordination, agility, and quickness. These drills involve rapid movements, sudden changes in direction, and precise footwork, all of which contribute to improved speed. They help you become more explosive off the ground, improve your acceleration, and maintain your speed throughout your run.

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Techniques To Improve Speed
Techniques To Improve Speed

III. Striding Exercises

Striding exercises are a crucial component of any running routine, as they help improve running economy and efficiency. These exercises focus on developing proper leg use and stride mechanics, leading to increased speed and endurance. Here are a few key striding exercises to incorporate into your training:

  • High Knees: This exercise involves lifting your knees as high as possible while running in place. It helps improve hip flexor strength and coordination.
  • Butt Kicks: While running in place, kick your heels towards your glutes. This exercise targets the hamstrings and glutes, promoting proper leg drive.
  • Skipping: Skipping is an excellent way to enhance coordination and leg speed. It involves hopping forward on one leg while swinging the opposite arm.
  • Lunges: Lunges are a great exercise for strengthening the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Step forward with one leg and lower your body until your back knee is close to the ground. Push back up to the starting position and repeat with the other leg.
  • Single-Leg Hops: Single-leg hops challenge your balance and coordination while strengthening your leg muscles. Hop forward on one leg for a few steps before switching to the other leg.

By incorporating these striding exercises into your routine, you can improve your running form, increase your speed, and reduce the risk of injuries. Remember to warm up properly before performing these exercises and gradually increase the intensity and duration over time.

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IV. Strength Training

Strength training is an essential aspect of speed development, as it helps build the muscular power needed for forceful propulsion. Here are some key strength exercises that can enhance your running speed:

  • Squats: Squats are a compound exercise that targets the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. They help develop lower-body strength and power.
  • Deadlifts: Deadlifts are another compound exercise that works the entire posterior chain, including the hamstrings, glutes, and back muscles. They help improve hip extension and power.
  • Lunges: Lunges are a unilateral exercise that targets the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. They help strengthen the legs and improve balance.
  • Calf Raises: Calf raises are an isolation exercise that targets the calf muscles. They help improve ankle mobility and power.
  • Core Exercises: Core exercises, such as planks, crunches, and leg raises, help strengthen the core muscles, which are essential for maintaining proper running form and preventing injuries.

Incorporating these strength exercises into your routine will help you build the muscular strength and power needed for faster running. Remember to focus on proper form and gradually increase the weight or resistance over time.

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Striding Exercises
Striding Exercises

V. Strength Training

Build Strength and Power

Strength training is a crucial component of any running program. Stronger muscles, particularly in the lower body, can help you run faster, longer, and with better form. It can also reduce your risk of injuries and improve your overall athleticism.

  • Improves running economy
  • Reduces risk of injury
  • Improves overall athleticism

Here are some ways to integrate strength training into your running routine:

  • Start with exercises that target the major muscle groups: Glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core.
  • Start with a light weight and gradually increase it over time.
  • Perform 3-4 sets of each exercise, with 8-12 repetitions per set.
  • Lift weights 2-3 times per week, with at least one rest day between workouts.

Strengthening your muscles is essential in improving your running stride and preventing injuries. Maintain proper form to reap the full benefits of weight lifting.

Exercises to Improve Your Running Speed

Incorporating strength training into your running routine can lead to significant improvements in your performance. Start slowly, listen to your body, and watch your running speed soar.

Strength Training
Strength Training

VI. Interval Training

Interval training enhances your heart and lungs’ ability to handle intense, short bursts, leading to greater cardiovascular endurance.

It follows a pattern of alternating between high-intensity work periods and brief rest or recovery periods. For instance, a common interval workout might involve sprinting for 30 seconds, then jogging or walking for 60 seconds, repeated for a set number of rounds. This helps you push your body to its limits during the work periods while giving it enough time to recover before the next.

  • Improves cardiovascular endurance.
  • Burns more calories in a shorter amount of time.
  • Increases muscle strength and power.
  • Boosts metabolism.
  • Lowers the risk of chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, and stroke.

Benefits of Interval Training

  • Improves cardiovascular endurance.
  • Burns more calories in a shorter amount of time.
  • Increases muscle strength and power.
  • Boosts metabolism.
  • Lowers the risk of chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, and stroke.

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How to Start Interval Training

  1. Start slowly and gradually increase intensity and duration over time.
  2. Choose activities you enjoy to make it more sustainable.
  3. Warm up before and cool down afterwards.
  4. Listen to your body and take rest days when needed.

Interval training is an efficient and effective way to improve your fitness, so give it a try and see the results for yourself!

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Interval Training
Interval Training

VII. Hill Training

Hill training offers a fantastic way to boost your running speed. Running uphill builds lower body strength, helping you generate more power with each stride. It also improves your stamina and mental toughness, making it easier to push through challenging sections of your run.

There are several ways to incorporate hill training into your running routine. You can start by finding a hill with a moderate incline and running up and down it several times. Gradually increase the length and steepness of the hills as you get stronger. You can also try hill repeats, where you run up a hill, recover at the top, and then run back down. This type of training can help you improve your speed and endurance.

  • Strengthens lower body muscles, propelling you forward.
  • Develops stamina, enabling sustained high-intensity efforts.
  • Improves running form, reducing energy wastage.

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Additionally, hill training can help you develop better running form. When running uphill, you naturally engage your core and glutes more, which can help you improve your posture and stride length. This can lead to increased speed and efficiency on flat and downhill sections of your run.

Hill Training
Hill Training

VIII. Speed Drills

Speed drills are an essential part of any runner’s training regimen. They help to improve your coordination, agility, and quickness, all of which are essential for running faster. There are many different types of speed drills that you can do, but some of the most common and effective include:

  • High knees
  • Butt kicks
  • Skipping
  • Lunges
  • Squats
  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Crunches

These drills can be done anywhere, and they don’t require any special equipment. Just a few minutes of speed drills each day can make a big difference in your running performance.

Here are some tips for getting the most out of your speed drills:

  • Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your drills over time.
  • Focus on your form and technique. Make sure you’re doing the drills correctly to avoid injury.
  • Listen to your body and take breaks when you need them.
  • Have fun! Speed drills should be challenging, but they should also be enjoyable.

If you’re looking to improve your running speed, speed drills are a great place to start. With a little effort and consistency, you’ll be running faster in no time.

Here are some additional tips for improving your running speed:

  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Wear proper running shoes.
  • Run on a regular basis.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Find a running partner or group.
  • Have fun!

By following these tips, you can improve your running speed and achieve your fitness goals.

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Speed Drills
Speed Drills

IX. Conclusion

With dedication and consistent practice, you can elevate your running speed and conquer those distance milestones. Remember, progress takes time, so be patient and celebrate each small improvement. Keep pushing your limits, and you’ll be amazed at how far and fast you can go. Embrace the thrill of the chase and let your feet carry you to new heights of speed and endurance.