Principles of Running Faster

Soldier running in waterWe have already discussed how running is great for general health and fitness so now we shall look at some ways to start to improve your running. Improving your running requires more than just simply putting extra miles in. If you are training to improve your time for a 10K race or a half-marathon you need to perform a variety of mixed paced workouts to help condition your muscles.

Distance Run on a Treadmill

This workout is from Jeff Galloway. If you complete the whole workout you will be running / walking for 60 minutes. This is a good way to start to build up stamina.

Start with a 3 minute slow jog to warm-up, then:

  • 2 minutes of easy running
  • 1 minute of walking

Repeat the 2 minutes of easy running, followed by 1 minute walk, three times, so this part of the workout lasts 9 minutes.

Then:

  • 3 minutes of easy running
  • 1 minute of walking

Repeat this three times also so that this part lasts 12 minutes.


As you increase your fitness start to add a 4 minute, then a 5 minute run, each time repeating 3 times, so that the workout increases by 15 minutes with the 4 minute runs, and then another 18 minutes with the 5 minute runs.

At the end of the workout do a 3 minute cool down jog.

Total workout time, including the 3 minute warm-up, once you progress from 1 minute to 5 minutes is 60 minutes. Jeff Galloway was on the US Olympic team in 1972 and held the US 10-mile record in 1973. He is founder of the Galloway Marathon Training Program.

Step Down Run Workout

This workout is designed to condition yourself for longer runs. It was originally shared by Michelle Frey, an America marathon runner, with Runners World magazine.

It can be done on a treadmill or the road / track. You do need to be an experienced runner and know your half-marathon, 15k, 10k and 5k pace. If you do not already know this you need to go out on a few set distance runs and time yourself. Here is the workout:

  • 20 minute warm up
  • 15 minutes at half marathon pace
  • 5 minute cooldown jog
  • 10 minutes at 15k pace
  • 5 minute cooldown jog
  • 10 minutes at 10k pace
  • 5 minute cooldown jog
  • 5 minutes at 5k pace
  • 5 minute cooldown jog

The workout is 80 minutes in total, so provides a good introduction to a more intensive longer run. You are forcing your body to work harder in a form of interval training, so you will increase your fitness levels (VO2 Max, lactic acid management etc.). The ultimate purpose is to condition yourself to run faster even on tired legs – this is how marathon runners sprint to the finish line. The workout progressively increases intensity and is very challenging, but if you do this each week you should start to see improved performance.

Six / Sevens Workout

The Six / Sevens workout is a hill training run on a treadmill. Hill training is vital for long distance running as rarely is a run completely flat. Many marathon routes are very hilly. The workout is simple, but you need a treadmill with an incline option. After warming up perform this routine and repeat 5-10 times for a 30-60 minute workout.

  • 1 1/2 minutes on a 6 degree incline at your marathon pace
  • 1 minute recovery on flat
  • 1 minute at 7 degree incline at your marathon pace
  • 2 minute recovery on flat

So each round is 5 1/2 minutes, 10 repeats is 55 minutes. You can adjust the workout for specific runs. If you know that you will be running a very hilly route then train accordingly with some shorter and more intensive hill intervals.

Put In the Miles

While it is important to train to improve your strength, endurance and speed, it is also very important to put the miles in. Paula Radcliffe, who holds the world record for the marathon, runs around 130 miles a week, averaging 18.5 miles a day. Of course, she is an extreme case, but this just emphasizes the importance of improving your distance running by doing a lot of running. If you wish to enter a 5 mile run you must be prepared to run a few miles every single day and then do one or two longer runs to be sure that you know how your body copes with the distance.

High mileage training (running over 10 miles a day) increases your VO2 Max, which means it makes you fitter – your body becomes more efficient at transporting oxygen from the lungs to the cells, which means you can work harder for longer without resting.

However, you still need to rest. Even Paula Radcliffe takes every 8th day off for a full rest. She also takes 2 weeks of complete rest after a marathon and then runs every other day for one week before starting full training again.

Ran Faster With The Loughborough Circuit

A great circuit training workout to compliment your running is the Loughborough Circuit, which was created by Coach George Gandy and helped Seb Coe go on to become a double Olympic Gold Winner.

Remember to Eat For Running

As you increase your distance you need to increase your food intake, especially carbohydrates. Eating for running means adding bananas and protein drinks to your diet, which provides speedy nutrition for after workouts. Eat more vegetables, oats and rice provide slower release energy and eggs, fish, meat and poultry provide plenty of dietary protein.

More like this in the Fitness section

  1 comment for “Principles of Running Faster

  1. David
    May 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Thanks alot for your online notes but i would like to learn more on running faster and improving my finishing power.

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