Get set to record a new personal best…
1. Nail good form.
The key to running (at any speed) is to practice proper running technique. That means keeping the upper body tall yet relaxed, striking the ground with the mid-foot landing under the hip, and swinging the arms forward and back (not side to side!) at low 90-degree angles.
2. Count your steps.
Get familiar with stride turnover, or the rate of steps taken while running, regardless of pace. The fastest, most efficient runners have a cadence of around 180 steps per minute and keep their feet close to the ground with light, short n’ speedy steps. To find your magic number, run for one minute, count the number of times the right foot hits the ground, and multiply by two.
3. Get low, get high.
Short on gym time? Quick! Try speed training! Interval training, or alternating periods of high and low intensity while exercising, are just one way to build speed and endurance—and burn major calories in less time too!
4. Stride right.
There’s a reason you see all those “real runners” doing short sprints before the big road race. Striders (or strides) are a series of comfortable sprints (usually eight to 12, between 50 to 200 meters each) to improve acceleration technique.
5. Get to the core.
Fast and fit go hand in hand. Stronger core muscles (especially the lower abs) allow runners to tap into more force and speed out on the road. The best part: Just 15 minutes of core work a few days a week is enough for a faster finish .
6. Breathe in, breathe out.
Just do it much faster! Learning how to breathe while running at faster speeds takes practice. Use both the nose and mouth while inhaling and exhaling to get the maximum amount of oxygen to the muscles. Also, try belly-breathing (not to be confused with belly dancing!), which means filling the stomach, not the chest, with air on each inhale.
7. Add weight.
Stronger, leaner muscles will only help when it comes to flying past the finish line. And while runners shouldn’t necessarily take up bodybuilding, just one to two short strength training sessions a week can go a long way.
8. Look ahead.
Simply looking down at your sneaks or turning your head while running to check out the competition can waste precious time. Instead, focus forward—about 10 to 20 meters in the distance—and keep those eyes on the prize.
9. Toe the line.
The whole body plays a role in speed—from the head, all the way to the toes! Pay attention to the piggies and try dorsiflexion (bringing the toes up to the shin) while running. Less of the foot hits the ground for a quicker stride turnover.
10. Fill ‘er up.
Addicted to coffee? Turns out drinking caffeine prior to running gives an extra jolt of speed. Even more good news? It’s a totally legal performance enhancer