How To Run Faster: Best Ways to Increase Running Speed

Running is the easiest activity to get into. It requires nothing but some running shoes and motivation. But once you get started, you’ll quickly realize many challenges, exercises, races, and sessions are available. One of the things many runners want to know is how to run faster.

The thing about running faster is that it doesn’t work the same as endurance and stamina. To improve your endurance, you need to run for longer than you have on previous long runs. Speed is a different animal that needs a different tactic altogether. That tactic involves feeling uncomfortable as you push your limits.

Luckily, we have your back with all the information you need to get you moving super-speedily at your next race. Mmmm, it smells like PBs already!

Below, we’ll show you the best ways to increase your running speed with different techniques, workouts, and exercises. But first, we’ll look at what impacts your running speed. So lace up those shoes, and let’s get moving.

What Impacts Your Running Speed?

How to run faster and increase your running speed

Several factors impact your running speed, no matter how much training you do or your experience. Some can be altered, while others you have no control over. Knowing what impacts your running speed allows you to adjust your pace to run at your best.

Here are the 13 primary factors that affect your running speed.

1. Gender

Men and women are biologically different, so they compete in different race categories. Typically, men run faster than women. Why? Because their physical predispositions allow for better physical performance. Men have higher testosterone levels, more muscle mass, and bigger hearts which pump more oxygen around the body. 

If you’re a female runner, there’s nothing you can do about this fact. Don’t compare your running to men’s times – that would be like a zebra comparing its time to a cheetah – their bodies work differently.

2. Age

None of us like aging, and most of us like it even less when we realize it impacts our running speed. Typically, we reach our peak between 20 and 30, average out in our 30s, then start slowing down in our 40s. Our bodies change as we age; the older we get, the more muscle mass we lose.

Studies have shown that our bodies lose 3% – 8% muscle mass per decade after we turn 30. Sadly, this rate accelerates even more after we reach 60. Most men lose about 30% of their muscle mass over their lifetime.

The older we get, the longer we take to recover, which impacts how fast and far we can run. If that wasn’t bad enough, as we age, the connective tissue between our bones and muscles becomes less elastic, our aerobic capacity reduces, our maximum oxygen uptake becomes less, and our bone density lowers. Additionally, as we age, our joints have a reduced range of motion, which means shorter running strides leading to less running efficiency.

Tip: While you can’t change your age, you can change your expectations.

When you enter races, awards are normally given for gender and age categories. Don’t aim for the overall gender positions or compare yourself based on anything other than your age group.

See more: how to start running after 40

3. Weight

This is not about fat-shaming or body pride; this is about basic science. The more you weigh, the heavier the load you carry, and the more work or effort is required to move at the same pace over a distance.

A higher body weight makes it harder for middle- and long-distance runners to be efficient, and they can’t withstand faster speeds as long as runners with lower weights. Additionally, carrying more weight raises your body temperature, increases your heart rate, and increases your risk of injury due to the added stress placed on the joints, bones, and tendons.

It goes without saying: losing excess weight can make you run faster.

Tip: If you want to lose weight (and run), consult your medical care practitioner to receive a physical exam. You may have underlying health concerns that running can exacerbate. 

4. Genetics

If you’ve watched any marathons in the last decade, you will notice that the winners are predominantly from East Africa, especially Kenya and Ethiopia. It’s no fluke either; there probably is something in the water. Well, maybe not. But there is something in the genetics.

The simple reality is that the best distance runners are from Africa. Many of the physiological characteristics we have that affect our running are determined by our genetics. Our genetics impact everything from our body shape and height to eye color and our body’s ability to run. 

You know when they say “Born to Run”? This is actually real! While there are several exceptions to the rule, the most successful distance runners are typically short and thin.

5. Fitness Level

It’s simple – the fitter you are, the more stress your body can handle, and the more efficient you become. This translates to a faster pace with less effort and risk of injury. If you aren’t fit enough, your running form and technique will slip, you will tire faster, and you’ll have an increased risk of injury.

If you are at the very start of your running journey, start by walking to gain some fitness and get your body used to the strain exercise places on it. Then add a few short jogs of 30 seconds to a minute within the walk. Gradually increase the amount of jogging as your fitness improves. We will cover more on this later.

6. Experience Level

If you have only started running recently, you can’t expect to have the same results as someone who has put in years of training and has gained experience that comes with time on your feet. When starting, enjoy the process and be patient with yourself. With continuous, dedicated training, you will naturally become faster.

7. Running Form and Technique

Two of the most important things about running are your form and technique. And thankfully, changing these can improve your speed, efficiency, and stamina while reducing your risk of injury.

Overstriding is one of the biggest issues when looking at technique. It uses more energy than necessary while reducing your efficiency. Your feet should land below your center of gravity. Doing this helps to avoid braking while maintaining torque. Your knee is protected by the surrounding tendons and muscles in your leg, which cushion impact experiences when landing.

Tip: Proper running form requires that your body remains upright and straight with a slight forward lean. Keep your chin away from your chest and look ahead. Relax your shoulders by rolling them backward. Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle at the elbows. Swing your arms in a north-south movement. Don’t let your arms cross over your body. Avoid clenching your fists. Run on the balls of the foot, and avoid heel striking.

You can improve your technique by adding drills to your training plan. Drills mimic running movements in a controlled, methodical exercise. Doing them allows you to automatically run with the correct technique.

8. Hydration

The human body is made up of 60% water. When we run, we sweat, losing some water. This is why it’s critical that we drink enough water and electrolytes to ensure we are replacing the water and minerals we lose throughout the day.

Water is a vital nutrient to optimize recovery, improve physical performance, resist injury, and maintain normal bodily functions. Plus, the water in your system carries other nutrients to your muscles and removes waste products from your body.

A general rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in pounds and ounces. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should aim for 80 ounces of water and electrolytes as a minimum. 

Note: You can drink too much water. The upper limit is normally your body weight in pounds in ounces, i.e., 160 ounces if you weigh 160 pounds.

Tip: If you would like to find out exactly how much water your body needs based on your physical activity, muscle mass, sweat levels, etc., you can consult with a sports scientist.

9. Nutrition

No matter what exercise you do or plan you follow, you must adjust your nutrition based on your schedule, so it doesn’t negatively impact your session. Exercising with a full stomach can create several issues, including bloating, cramping, nausea, and gastric distress.

After you eat, your body goes into digestion mode, which increases the blood flow to your intestines and stomach so your body can absorb all the nutrients in the food you’ve eaten. If you run with undigested food in your stomach, the muscles you use for running will tire faster as they lack oxygen.

Foods take different amounts of time to be digested. You need to consider this when deciding what to eat as a runner. Foods like oats, potatoes, grains, bananas, and pasta digest quickly while giving you plenty of carbs to power your run.

You’ll need to try different foods to see what works best for your body — and which to avoid. Some runners swear by oats and bananas, whereas others prefer rice cakes and smoothies. We’re all different, and no one diet will work for everyone.

10. Sleep

Considering we spend about a third of our life doing it, we really should prioritize quality sleep more than we do. Good sleep is required for everything from proper brain and organ functions to recovery from physical activity.

Studies have found that runners who got more sleep could run faster, and their RPE (rate of perceived exertion) was lower than runners with subpar quality or too little sleep. Much like hydration, how much you need varies from one person to another, but scientists agree that this number should be between 7 and 9 hours.

11. Running Gear

We have spoken at length about the importance of wearing proper running shoes, and there are plenty of articles on this site to further this point. But we’ll mention it again because it’s that important. Your running shoes can be seen as the tires of your car. They are the only thing providing you with support and protection from the ground. 

The right running shoes help you avoid injuries and promote more efficient running. Keep an eye on how many miles you’ve logged in your running shoes. You should replace your running shoes every 300 to 500 miles depending on your weight, the surface you run on, and your running style.

Tip: When buying running shoes, purchase them in the late afternoon rather than in the morning. When you run, your feet swell, as they do throughout the day. This will allow you to find shoes that fit your feet properly and comfortably.

But shoes are not the only thing you need to consider. The type of running clothes you wear will affect your speed. A good way to figure out what to wear is to get dressed for running based on the weather outside, then remove the last layer you added. This will normally be sufficient, but if you run hot (no pun intended), you may need to remove another layer or switch to shorts from leggings or longs.

Ensure you have adequate protection from the elements, especially the wind and rain. Nothing slows a runner down as much as feeling like a drowned rat being blown down the highway. And ladies, invest in a sports bra with a proper fit. It should provide strong support without restricting your breathing.

12. Weather

Believe it or not, the weather plays a massive part in how fast you can run. We aren’t just talking about rain or wind, which is where most of our minds go when thinking about the weather. Their impact is a lot easier to understand.

The temperature also affects your running. It’s not the same running in the cold as in the heat. Studies have found that the best temperature for runners is 45 to 59 degrees Fahrenheit (7 to 15 degrees Celsius). Anything above or below this range will slow you down.

Why is this the case? Well, in colder temperatures below 45° F (7° C), your body uses more energy to maintain your body heat and warm your extremities. When you run in warmer conditions over 59° F (15° C), your body uses more energy to cool you down through sweating.

But it’s not as simple as picking a day with the ideal temperature. You also need to look at the humidity level in the air. Ideal conditions are between 40 – 70% humidity. The higher the humidity, the less your sweat evaporates, so your body stops producing more, resulting in overheating, dehydration, or heatstroke.

Remember that everyone’s bodies react to temperature and humidity differently. It takes about 2 weeks for our bodies to adjust to heat and humidity in an area. Training in hot, humid areas will help you improve your efficiency as your body learns how to control its temperature and dissipate heat.

If you run on a treadmill, resist the urge to turn on the fans or air conditioner. The hotter environment will help train your body to handle the conditions better so you can run faster.

13. Terrain

It’s basic physics that you can run faster on flat terrain than on hilly routes. This is because you can maintain a particular pace as no additional energy is used to navigate resistance. 

The same is true for running on sand or forest trails versus running tracks or asphalt sidewalks. Softer surfaces require more effort to run on, and you need to activate more muscles to keep the same pace and maintain balance.

Altitude (your height above sea level) also impacts your running speed. The higher the altitude, the thinner the air. Thin air is harder to breathe, so you run slower to properly replenish your oxygen supply to your muscles as you go.

Tips to Increase Your Running Speed

How to run faster workouts

Now that we’ve covered the factors that affect your running speed, we’ll look at tips you can use to increase your running speed. Our first section is general tips for all runners. The following three sections are tips for beginners, intermediate, and advanced runners.

Lastly, we’ll cover tips for sprinters. 

Incorporate as many of these tips into your life as possible. They will offer you exciting goals and fun ways to target different parts of your body. Here we go!

12 General Tips for All Runners

These tips are for all runners, regardless of your experience level, running speed, or goals. These should be followed daily.

1. Always Warm Up and Cool Down

Whether running, walking, cycling, or swimming, always start with a warm-up to gradually ease your body into the activity. Warm-ups can be anything from dynamic stretches and walking to jumping jacks or a gentle jog. The warm-up will reduce your risk of injuries, prepare your body for the strain, and prepare your muscles for exertion.

Cooling down and stretching at the end of your session is also vital. It allows your body to ease out of the intensity of the activity and prevent the buildup of lactic acid, which is responsible for muscle soreness and swelling.

2. Eat Properly

You are what you eat, right? Well, the reality is that what you eat plays a big role in your athletic performance. This is especially true for the foods you eat before your run.

Your body is the most important piece of equipment you’ll use for running. In the same way a Formula 1 driver takes care of their vehicle, only putting the best fuel and oil into it, you need to do that for your body.

Ensure you follow a healthy diet that includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, high-quality protein, and carbohydrates. Foods like oats, potatoes, wholewheat bread, pasta, rice, lean meats, beans, and legumes are all great.

Avoid sugary and processed foods as much as possible. Limit foods that are very high in fiber and fat, as they can cause bloating and cramps. If you’re planning on doing a long run, avoid dairy products, as these can cause gastric discomfort, bloating, and gas.

3. Drink Plenty of Fluids

As we said, your body is 60% water, so you want to ensure you are taking on enough fluids to replace what you lose. This doesn’t mean you only drink water after your run – you should drink before, during, AND after your run. 

And you don’t have to stick to water, either. Make it exciting for yourself – you can include herbal teas, BCAA electrolyte drinks (you’ll find dozens of flavors to add zest), and coconut water. Avoid drinking dairy, alcohol, soda, and drinks with sweeteners.

4. Watch Your Weight

No, this is not an attack on your body size, shape, or weight. We believe bodies are beautiful in all shapes and sizes. But runners need to be mindful of these if they want to run faster. If you’re struggling to lose or maintain weight, you’ll find that longer, slower runs will help most.

Keeping your body weight under control will increase the length, speed, and intensity of your runs, allowing you to start running faster and more easily.

5. Correct Your Technique

A study conducted in 2017 referred to improving your form and technique to improve your running performance and reduce injury risk. We covered proper technique and form earlier, so ensure you follow those tips to correct anything you may not have quite right yet.

You can ask a friend or family member to film you as you run so you can check that your form is correct. That way, you can easily see your mistakes and correct them.

6. Get New Running Shoes

Another point we’ve already mentioned, but it’s worth saying again because it’s so important. Your shoes are the only thing between your feet and the running surface. They provide your feet with protection and support.

Your shoes should feel soft and bouncy, but they shouldn’t allow your feet to slide around. They should fit without being too tight, either. If you’ve never been properly fitted for running shoes, whether you’re a beginner or more advanced, you should visit your local running store.

7. Include Strength Training

Look, we get it; you want to run. But there is so much more at play than just your legs and lungs when you run. Running is a full-body exercise, engaging everything from your neck and arms to your core muscles and ankles. The stronger your body is, the easier it is to use correct body mechanics to run faster with more ease.

A 2016 study on endurance runners showed that doing speed endurance and strength training improved overall performance. In the study, the running training volume was reduced to make time for strength training, yet running speeds increased. You will not lose out on anything by switching one or two runs for strength workouts.

It’s important to note that you don’t want to build bulky muscle as this will be heavy for you to run with. What you want are long, lean, strong muscles.

To do this, exercises like lunges, squats, push-ups, and other bodyweight exercises work best. You can also include sports like kickboxing, volleyball, and swimming in your routine.

8. Set Your Intentions

The mind is a powerful thing. When you set your mind to something, write it down, or declare it to a friend or family member, you have a higher chance of accomplishing the goal. 

Set your intentions for your running training, write down your goals (in the case of this article, it would be running faster, but it can be anything, like workouts per week, time goals, distance goals, anything you want!), create a plan to achieve your goals (these are your intentions, i.e., to run faster, I intend on doing four runs per week), then stick to your plan.

When you create the plan to achieve your goals, create a purpose for each training session. This purpose should help move you closer to your goal, such as an endurance run, strength training, stretching, intervals, or even working on your mindset.

9. Include Sprints

Even if you are more of a casual jogger or long-distance runner, getting out onto the running track and doing a few sprints each week will do wonders for your running speed. A study in 2018 found that runners improved their performance after just six sprinting sessions.

Sprinting is great for improving your strength, endurance, and power but requires much less mileage and time than all other types of running training. Yes, we know they aren’t fun, but you will be glad to have done them when you get faster.

10. Focus on Your Breathing

If you have ever done speedwork, you’ll know how fast your heart rate and breathing increase to an uncomfortable level. To run faster, you need to learn how to gain control of your breathing. Focus on deep, oxygenating breaths (we like to call this “stomach breathing”) rather than shallow, gasping breaths (called “chest breathing”). 

Fill your lungs with slow, rhythmic breaths. Try your best to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. When running slowly, see how long you can do nasal breathing (in and out through your nose). Nasal breathing helps you slow down and control your breathing. More air means more oxygen for your muscles.

11. Prioritize Stretching and Recovery

Your body needs to be loose to run faster, which is achieved through stretching and recovery. Stretching often gets the same reaction from runners as strength training – it’s not seen as important. But it absolutely is!

Speed is a mix of stride rate (how many steps you take per minute) and stride length (how far apart your steps are). To run faster, you need to widen your stride length. Stretching is the best way to do this without injuring yourself. 

Plus, stretching keeps your muscles flexible while reducing tightness, soreness, and injury. Our favorite items for stretching and recovery include a foam roller and a massage gun. Taking care of your body will allow it to take care of you too. Recovery includes proper nutrition, hydration, sleep, and stretching.

12. Develop Your Mental Game

Here’s the truth: running fast is not going to be fun. It hurts. Your brain will fight you every step of the way. And if you want to run faster, you’ll need to learn how to fight your brain to push through your barriers to running faster than you have before.

Your mental toughness will push you through when the pace is making your muscles burn or your legs feel heavy. Your mental sharpness will help keep negative thoughts at bay. Wanting to slow down and doubting your ability will happen, but if you have trained your brain, you’ll find more gas is left in the tank, and you can keep going.

Most of us focus on building our physical strength when we want to run faster, but often, mental strength is more important. You can develop your mental game by pushing yourself a little bit when training. Use your interval sessions to push harder than your brain says you can. When it says “slow down,” push just 1% harder.

Doing this will break the “I can’t” cycle.

The right mentality to run fast
You need the right mentality to run fast

4 Tips for Beginners to Run Faster

If you have just started your running journey and find it hard to push yourself past a jog, these tips are for you.

1. Join a Running Club

Accountability is the best way to keep you on the straight and narrow when you are just getting your sea legs. A running club or group can give you running tips, help you decide when to increase your distance, and boost your fitness level. 

The members are a healthy source of encouragement, competition, and motivation. Plus, you’re all there for the same reason, so you will find many like-minded people who may become your friends.

2. Slowly Increase Your Mileage

When you start running, it’s unlikely that you can head off and run 3-miles unless you already have relative fitness from another discipline. So, start slowly and build up your distance. Begin with short run-walk intervals that are time-based rather than distance-based.

Once you can run for several minutes without needing a break, start playing with distance. Increase your weekly mileage by 10% every 2 or 3 weeks to build up your stamina and endurance.

3. Balance Your Body

We hear it all the time, the terms “alignment” and “balance.” There’s a reason for this – alignment and balance are important for good coordination and posture. Both of these ensure your running stride is in peak form. 

As we said, stretching and strength training are vital for your running (and overall) health. It prevents tension and tightness while reducing the risk of injury. If you don’t like yoga, try dynamic stretches or pilates – these might fit better with your goals.

4. Keep Active

Except for one day per week, you should do something physical every day, even if it’s only for 20 to 30 minutes. You can walk, cycle, swim, use the elliptical, stretch, do strength workouts, or go for a hike – anything that gets your body moving.

Getting your body into the habit of exercising every day helps you build consistency while preparing your body for regular exercise. When it comes time to start running faster, your body will already be disciplined.

4 Tips for Intermediate Runners to Run Faster

So you’ve built up your stamina and can run at least 5 miles without stopping; well done! Now, we need to start fine-tuning your body so you can start increasing your pace. Here’s what you need to include:

1. Core Exercises

The power for almost any physical movement you do comes from your core. A strong core helps establish a solid foundation for strong, healthy movements. This impacts your running because your core helps stabilize and support your back. 

When your back is adequately supported, you can build speed while lowering your chances of injury. You can do plenty of exercises to strengthen your core, from planks and lying leg raises to bridges and bicycle crunches.

2. Hill Training

Okay, so running up hills isn’t fun, and Kate Bush would be welcome to swap places with us. But this is one of the best running exercises you can do. It burns fat, increases your speed, and builds your lower body strength.

Hills are great to do in an interval workout – sprint up the hill at an RPE (rate of perceived exertion) of around 8. You shouldn’t be able to say more than a word or two and should be on the verge of gasping for air. Then, walk or jog back down the hill to recover before doing it all over again… and again… and again!

If you don’t have any hills near where you live or train, you can run up a few flights of stairs and walk back down or use a treadmill.

3. Lateral Exercises

Most of us have heard of core, arm, and leg exercises. Lateral exercises are less known, yet so helpful to improve our running speed (and strength in general). Lateral exercises strengthen the muscles on your sides – these muscles allow you to move in different directions.

Doing lateral exercises stabilizes your knees, thighs, and hips, eases lower back pain and tension, and improves overall mobility. Lateral exercises include shuffles, step-ups, and lateral lunges.

4. Endurance Runs

An endurance run is what most of us would more commonly call a long run. These runs build up your endurance (hence the name) and stamina. They are longer than the other runs in your week, and you run at a slow, conversational, easy pace.

Endurance runs are primarily used for time-on-feet to get your body used to being under strain for longer periods while maintaining a certain intensity (typically low to moderate). Don’t overdo it when you first start. Choose a manageable distance and increase it slowly over time.

4 Tips for Advanced Runners to Run Faster

We have a few tips for those who have been running for over five years and log at least 25 miles per week. You may have found your pace has plateaued, and you need something to push you to the next level. These tips may be just what you need.

1. Tempo Runs

It’s highly unlikely that you have run for many years and haven’t heard of a tempo run. But if you haven’t, a tempo run is when you run at a set pace that you hold for the duration of the run. The pace should be an RPE of 7 (harder than your easy pace but sustainable for up to 30 minutes).

Tempo runs are great for increasing your fitness levels while practicing your running technique and form. You should start at around 10 minutes, trying to ensure you are holding the pace steady – focus on this. Distance is not important. Once you keep the pace even for 10 minutes, increase it gradually to 30 minutes.

2. Racing

Humans, by nature, are competitive. Some of us are competitive with other athletes, while others want to beat themselves and their previous times. Either way, one of the best ways to push yourself one step further is to enter races.

Add a few races into your schedule, whether 5k, 10k, 10 miles, or half marathon. If you’ve been struggling to beat your 10k time, follow a specific 10k training plan, incorporate the tips we mentioned earlier, then go out on the day and push it.

You can also boost your drive and motivation by choosing a new distance. Never run a 10-mile race? Give it a go! If nothing else, at least you’ll get a PB for the distance. Limit the number of races you do, though. You don’t want to over-race and end up throwing your training or getting an injury.

3. Tabata (HIIT) Training

You may never have heard of Tabata training, but it’s a type of Japanese workout created in 1996. It falls into the high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, category and will definitely kick your butt (in the best way!).

Tabata training requires you to do a 20-second burst of intense exercise followed by a short 10-second recovery. This process is repeated eight times, and the workout takes about 4 minutes. 

Exercises in the 20 seconds include push-ups, jumping jacks, heel touches, uneven planks, simple squats, mountain climbers, lunges, and standing ab twists. It helps build your aerobic base, fitness, and strength.

4. Rest, Relax, and Recovery (Three R’s)

We all know how important rest days are. But how often do you consider the other two R’s? Along with resting, you also need to do things to relax and recover. Have fun! What’s the point of all the training if you can’t enjoy the rest of your life with the fitness you’ve gained?

Go for a slow, meandering walk on the beach with your family or friends, play mini-golf, or ride a bike around town. When looking at recovery, prioritize hydration and activities that will help your muscles recuperate. Things like progressive muscular relaxation, cold therapy (for the brave), meditation, yoga, and massage.

3 Tips for Sprinters to Run Faster

Sprinting isn’t for everyone, but if you find it to be your cup of tea, here are a few tips that are specifically for you to push your pace:

1. Breathe Properly

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it several times – your breathing impacts your running speed much more than you think. You need to ensure you’re breathing properly – deep, controlled abdominal (stomach) breathing every few steps. 

Most runners will breathe in for two to four steps, then breathe out for two to four steps. This technique will also help you focus your mind on something other than the discomfort of running fast.

2. Take Shorter Strides

To increase your speed and efficiency, practice taking shorter strides and landing on the ball of your foot. The goal is to maintain proper form and focus on the push-off on each foot. Taking shorter strides means you can practice the push-off without covering as much distance. You also reduce your risk of injury by practicing with shorter strides.

3. Do Sprinting Drills

It’s in the name, right? The best way to run faster as a sprinter is to practice sprinting faster. Add a few sprinting drills at the start and end of your workout. Sprints should only be between 50 and 100 meters long. 

A basic workout that anyone can include is to start by jogging for 10 meters, run for 10 meters, then open up your stride to a sprint for 50 to 80 meters, then slow it back down to a jog for 10 meters, and repeat. We will cover sprinting drills a bit more below.

Best Workouts to Increase Your Running Speed

Below, we’ve included several exercises that will help you increase your running speed. These drills will teach you how to run faster for longer while avoiding injury. 


A relatively simple exercise to do, the burpee can help you increase your strength and aerobic capacity, which helps you run faster. 

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Stand tall, with your toes pointing straight ahead and your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bend your knees and move your hips backward, putting your hands on the floor in front of you, preferably right in front of your feet.
  3. Jump or step back to be in a push-up plank position with straight arms.
  4. Gently drop yourself to the ground with your hips and chest flat on your floor. Bring your chest upward off the ground in a push-up motion back into the push-up plank.
  5. After you have your chest off the floor, snap your hips and bring your feet back to your hands, right below the hips.
  6. Now, bring yourself upright.
  7. Bring your arms over your head and hop once.
  8. You’ve now completed a burpee.

If you cannot complete an entire burpee for more than a couple of reps, leave out the push-up and do beginner’s burpees by skipping step 4 above.

In 20 seconds, you want to do as many good burpees as possible, normally around 4 or 5 for beginners. After that, catch your breath and rest for 10 seconds. If you’re new to burpees and exercise in general and require more time, rest for an additional 10 seconds. Then, you can go again! 

Repeat this process for 4 minutes total (8 sets).

Long, Slow Runs

While this exercise certainly seems counterintuitive, it can help you build your aerobic capacity. In turn, this will help improve your running speed during shorter, quicker events. Try to aim for one long run per week. 

The length of this run will entirely depend on you as a runner, but it should make up about 20% of your weekly mileage. Keep yourself at a maximum of 70% effort on these runs – enough to work hard but still talk. 

Run Faster to Get Faster

One of the most effective ways to get better at running faster is to start running faster. One of our favorite workouts to get started with this is an unstructured interval workout called speed play or fartlek. Speed play involves running intervals, but these aren’t set. You can run when you want, for any duration you want.

Here’s a method we love:

  • You’ll choose portions of your run to push yourself. Your run, your rules.
  • You can do these runs in several ways – time-based, distance-based, or landmark-based.
  • Time-based and distance-based are self-explanatory. For landmark-based, pick something you’ll encounter several times on your run: trees, a series of light poles, or a hill.
  • Every time you reach the object you picked, you’ll have to run faster for the entirety of that obstacle. For example, run fast for 4 light poles, then recover for 4 light poles.
  • Don’t flat-out sprint, but push yourself to around 80%. 
  • You can then return to a slower pace until you hit the next obstacle.
  • To incorporate strength training, do 5 to 10 lunges between each rep.
  • You can do this on the treadmill by randomly throwing in sections at a faster pace. If you’re watching television while on the treadmill, pick up the speed during commercials, and recover during the show. 

This is an awesome way to make running faster a fun and interesting activity.

Hill Sprints

Consider taking your exercise to the great outdoors and finding a hill or two to sprint up. If you prefer to stay indoors, you can use a treadmill and adjust the incline. In our opinion, going outside is a lot more fun. 

Sprinting uphill as fast as you can for about 20 to 30 seconds followed by 40 to 60 seconds of recovery – this should be enough time to slow your heart rate and breathing.

Squat Jumps

Next, you can target your hamstrings and glutes with the simple squat jump

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Stand up straight, with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Point your toes straight ahead. Move your hips back and bend your knees.
  • Your knees should be pressed out laterally (not caving in).
  • As you sit into the squat, bring your arms out in front of you.
  • When your upper legs are as parallel to the ground as possible, squeeze your glutes and press them down to your heels.
  • From the deepest part of the squat, swing your arms backward, then forward.
  • The momentum created by moving your arms will pull you upright into a jump.
  • As you land, move right into the next squat position with your arms in front of your body again.
  • You’ve now completed a squat jump.

Perform 20 seconds of continuous squat jumping, then a 10-second break. Repeat this process for 4 minutes, and incorporate it into your training plan twice a week to develop strong leg muscles that can support your body through faster running. 

Box Jumps

Box jumps are similar to squat jumps, just that you’re jumping up to a higher surface. You can jump up a step, a park bench, a box – anything higher than the first level. 

Here’s how it’s done: 

  • Start by standing up straight.
  • Drop into a squatting position as you would if you were performing a squat jump, except now your arms will move behind you.
  • You’ll start coming out the bottom in the same manner, but now your arms will be brought forward.
  • Squeeze your core and bring your knees to your chest just as your feet leave the floor.
  • Your feet will flex, and your legs will bend in front of you.
  • You’ll use this leverage to reach a higher area. 
  • Try sinking directly to the bottom part of a squat as you land.
  • Then, squeeze your glute muscles, press your heels down, and stand up straight.
  • Step to the floor slowly and carefully (once you get the hang of it, you can jump down).
  • You’ve now completed a box jump!

Here are a few things to be mindful of, especially if you’re brand new to these:

Gyms typically have several box heights. Be sure to try the different heights and find which works best, even if it means you start on the lowest height.

If you’re exercising outdoors using a makeshift concrete raised surface, like a curb or park bench, practice the jump by doing some step-ups to make sure you’ll be able to jump that height. Confidence is key here – the stronger you can bring up your knees, the more successful your box jumps will be.

Box jumps are a brilliant way to increase your leg strength and aerobic capacity, helping you become a quicker runner over time.

Interval Runs

Like HIIT workouts, interval runs involve working at a high effort level for a short time, then recovering before repeating the process. If you have a track at your disposal, consider using it for interval workouts. 

Here are some sprint/interval workouts to include in your training plan:

  • 3 miles (easy) + 8 x 25-second strides w/40-second recovery, 800m cool-down
  • 800m warm-up, 10 x 400m @ 5K pace w/2 minute recovery, 800m cool-down
  • 800m warm-up, 4 x 800m @ 10K pace w/2 minute recovery, 800m cool-down
  • 800m warm-up, 5 x 1k @ 10K pace w/2 minute recovery, 800m cool-down
  • 800m warm-up, 12 x 400m @ 5K pace w/2 minute recovery, 800m cool-down
  • 1 mile warm-up, 2 x 1 mile @ 10K pace w/4 minute recovery, 800m cool-down

Learning to Run Longer

Running speed is often a result of endurance. Here are some of our best techniques to help improve your running speed and duration. 

Focus on Mental Strength

Even when working with an amazing running group and the world’s best plan, learning to run for longer will require a degree of mental fortitude. There will be days you feel incredible on your runs and days you don’t even want to lace up your shoes.

The best warm-up and preparation can’t prevent your legs from feeling too heavy that day or stop you from feeling more fatigued than normal. These things can also happen during a race. So how can you push through a bad day when you’re trying to run for longer?

It’s simple: find techniques that are most effective for you. For some runners, that means finding an awesome playlist that boosts their confidence and motivates them when they’re feeling down. For others, mental imagery works best, such as picturing themselves getting a new PR on race day. 

Interval training can also help make things interesting and keep you stimulated mentally. Consider counting trail markers or light posts until you can measure the distance you’ve traveled using these ‘checkpoints.’ This will distract you from your thoughts. 

Of course, if you’re ill or have an injury, you’ll have to end your run short and listen to your body. Never push through for the sake of finishing a run. But if it’s a battle of willpower, you got this!

Slow and Steady Finishes the Race

It’s normal to want to nail your first long run, but you’re likely to injure yourself if you push too hard. The 10% rule can help you prevent burnout and injuries – don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% every week.

Keep your long runs light and easy. You can take a few friends along and make an outing of it.

Breathe Through Your Nose

If you’re tracking the number of miles that you run, try inhaling through the nose and exhaling out of the mouth for the first minute of every mile. When you aren’t counting miles, do the same for one minute every 10 minutes. 

This breathing will help you master your diaphragm, build stability, and prevent you from swaying as you run. It helps prevent wasted energy, allowing you to make the most of every mile.

Pay Attention to Your Cadence

Our cadence is one of the first things that suffers when we get tired during long or fast runs. Cadence refers to the number of steps per minute (spm), and we all have a naturally-occurring cadence. Most GPS watches count your steps for you, but if yours doesn’t (or you don’t run with a GPS watch), here’s how to work it out:

On your next run, count the number of times your left foot hits the ground in 10 seconds. Double that to get your total footfalls in 10 seconds. Multiply that by 6 to get your spm.

If you want to keep your cadence on point, download a metronome app and set it to 90 bpm. Ensure your left foot lands with each beat.

If you feel tired toward the end of your run, look at your cadence. We tend to shuffle when we get tired. If you notice this happening, use the metronome to see where your cadence is. 

Adjust as needed to maintain strong form and avoid wasting any more energy so you can finish strong.

Find What Works for You

The method to get better at fast running is entirely your decision. You can use some of the strategies above (or all of them) in your training routine and reap some excellent rewards in your run times, no matter the duration. 

Be Cautious

We can’t stress this enough – always use proper technique and form to prevent injuries, and don’t over-train. If you’re a beginner, the best thing you can do is start slow and stop if you feel faint or experience any pain.

You can increase your pace and mileage gradually every couple of weeks. It’s okay to miss a day or two. Just don’t try to double up on your training on other days to make up for it. 

How To Run Faster: Dedication + Persistence!

The options are limitless when it comes to increasing your running speed. Harness the power of inner motivation and persistence to develop a training plan that works for you so you’ll stick with it. 

We recommend using a fitness app (like Strava) to keep track of your running times and workouts – it’ll help you get a clear picture of your progress, keeping you motivated.

Author Profile

Thalia Oosthuizen

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Thalia started running during the the pandemic as a way of getting out of the house. The running bug bit, and now much of her life revolves around everything to do with running - videos, podcasts, studies, books, articles, and interviews. She's also done several courses on running nutrition and mechanics to aid in her training and advising others.
Thalia Oosthuizen

Revel SPorts Contributor

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