A common frustration amongst runners is the inability to get faster. You’re putting the hours in but PBs on race day are a thing of the past, your performances begin to plateau and you seem to run all distances at a similar pace. So, how do you get your running mojo back and take your performances to the next level? SiS ambassador Max Willcocks talks us through his top 6 tips to become a faster runner.
1. Interval training
If you want to run fast, then you have to run fast. To improve your speed you have to incorporate interval sessions at least once a week into your training plan. Intervals are short, sharp speed workouts where you run at a much faster speed than you would normally run at, but for a much shorter time period. You also stop and rest between intervals, allowing your body to recover as much as possible between reps. If you are doing intervals then it’s important to include extra carbohydrates into your session- either an energy gel or energy drink such as GO Electrolyte.
2. Strength training
Building speed requires strength and a larger range of motion. Even body weight training will help develop strength. Squats, lunges and step ups, are all worth including in a strength session. Make sure you also look to build strength in your upper body. The aim is to develop stronger muscles and to improve your arch of efficiency (the range of motion that you are able to generate power through). Strength work comes with a requirement to rebuild broken down muscles. 1.4-1.8 g of protein per kg of body mass per day should be enough to build and recover. Products such as WHEY20 or REGO Rapid Recovery are easy products to hit those numbers.
3. Tempo runs
To improve speed you need to improve your aerobic capacity. This means maintaining a quicker pace for longer distances. Tempo runs are continuous and performed at what can be described as ‘an uncomfortable pace’. Tempo runs will help improve your maximum aerobic function, but they require high muscle glycogen availability during the session. Beta Fuel mixed with 500 ml of water provides an added 80 g of carbohydrate to fuel your training.
4. Easy long runs
Long runs target the slow-twitch muscle fibres and help to build your endurance without increasing your risk of injury. They also allow you to focus on good form, which is not always possible when running fast. It is recommended runners consume 60g of carbohydrate per hour, for example 3 x SiS GO Energy Gel.
In order to perform better, one of the simplest things we can do is eat better. As a whole, if we fuel mostly from carbohydrates, (think fruit, vegetables, grains and pulses) we will actually store more glycogen in our liver and muscles. Increasing the percentage contribution of carbohydrate to your diet from 40-70% can increase the amount of glycogen your body will store. You will have more available for exercise before needing to refuel.
If there’s one thing that’s going to exhaust your body and immune system, it’s training to be quick. It puts more stress on your body, so always make sure you recover properly and include some easy days into your training plan. Nutrition should become a part of your running routine. This includes making sure you consume carbohydrate and protein soon after tough sessions, rehydrating effectively post-training and increasing micronutrient content of the diet.
Extra tip: it is important you have a good quality pair of running shoes. It is recommended that you go to a running shop so they can analyse your gait and ensure you have the correct running shoes based on your foot shape and running technique.