How do I Improve Running Speed?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 21 January 2020
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Runners frequently train for strength and endurance, which are both very important while running, but find that it is difficult to improve running speed. In order to increase the speed at which you run, it is necessary to specifically train for it, and to exercise the fast-twitch muscles that will need to respond while running. There are a few different exercises that are commonly used to improve running speed.

Trainers often recommend that, in between the days on which you are running, you should be doing strength training exercises for the legs and entire body. These exercises can help to improve strength and running form, which in turn can help to improve running speed. Some of these exercises include calf raises, squats, lunges, and knee raises, just to name a few.

Before every run or every workout, it is important to warm up first. This can be accomplished by walking quickly or even jogging slowly; only when the muscles are warm should you try to increase the speed. After every run, it is important to cool down once again by walking or jogging slowly, and then performing some stretches while the muscles are warm. This can help to prevent muscle tightness and injury, particularly if you have been running hard and trying to improve running speed.


One of the only other ways to improve running speed is by consciously attempting to run faster, though this must be done carefully. Fast runners tend to have a longer stride length as well as faster movements, and this takes time to build up. One way to start to increase running speed is by doing some interval training, also referred to as speed drills. This means increasing speed for short bursts during a longer run; for instance, one might run at a normal pace for three minutes, then increase the speed to a near sprint for 30 seconds to one minute, gradually increasing the time spent running faster over time.

This method will help to improve running speed. Another method to increase speed is by focusing one or two runs per week on speed, while leaving the other runs focused on distance. Try to push yourself during these speed runs to the near max of your ability for as long as possible during the run, being careful not to increase stride length too much, which could cause injury. These are just a few of the effective methods that can be used to increase speed while running, and can shave time off your runs.



Discuss this Article

Post 2

In addition to other strength training, many running coaches suggest strengthening your core muscles as well. Crunches can help, though there are other good exercises as well.

Post 1

As a runner, I think this article reflects some of the best things I have heard on other websites.

One thing I would add, though, is that stretching and flexibility are also important. While some runners and other athletes think there is too much emphasis put on flexibility, it can help to prevent injury and encourage muscles to increase in strength in a balanced way.

Just simple stretches can help a lot,though it can be especially good to try to introduce yoga or pilates into your routine. Even if all you do is a little stretching, though, remember to at least warm up before stretching- stretching cold muscles can caused injuries.

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