I recently started running for the first time in years since my knee injury. I haven’t been timing myself since I’m just letting my body get used to it, but I can feel that I’m getting faster and closer to my past speed. That being said, I don’t think I ever did the mile in under 6 minutes – something that I definitely want to do. Here are some things I’ve picked up while trying to increase my speed on how to get faster at running:
The Importance of Being “Light on Your Feet”
When it comes to how to get faster at running, you’re going to want to be “light on your feet”. You want to have a very limited time where your feet are touching the ground as you run. It’s a feeling where you’re not running on the ground, but actually flying through the air as you run. To do that, you’re going to want to increase your stride. Here’s how:
1. Run for 30 seconds. During those 30 seconds, count how many times your right foot hits the ground.
2. Now run again for 30 seconds, try to increase the amount of times by 1.
3. Repeat 2-3 times, depending on how easy it feels to increase your stride.
[Speaking of running lightly on your feet, check out the above video where these guys say they can run fast enough to run on water. What do you think - is it real or fake? Let me know in the comments.]
Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you want to seriously improve yourself at running, your general fitness level, or really anything, you need to get out of your comfort zone. At a certain point, your body adjusts to whatever it is you’re doing. That’s why the initial pushing yourself to workout stage for couch potatos is so hard, but it’s the same reason why overcoming a plateu is often challenging.
If your body has adjusted to running at 8:35 – the ONLY way you’re going to get your body to hit 8:00 (and later lower) is to will yourself to go just a little faster. You need to get your body out of its comfort zone. When you do that, your brain says to your body, “hey, this is the new speed that you are going to run at, so get used to it.” – and then your body, which wants to be more prepared for the next time, ADAPTS to that new speed allowing yourself to go faster.
For those of you who skimmed, here’s a quick summary on how to get faster:
1. Count how many strides (when you’re right foot hits the ground) you made in 30 seconds, then the next 30 seconds try to increase it by 1. Continue until it gets too hard.
2. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Will yourself to go just a little faster. It might take slightly longer to recover, but your body will adapt to the new speed it has to run at.
Just an interesting note – many people say that when you increase the intensity of your exercises, it actually stimulates the fat-burning hormones in your body.