Even if you are training for a long distance race, you can increase your speed. With many race options from a Half Marathon to a 100-miler, it can be tough to know where to start with your training. With that being said, I have compiled a quick list of 5 easy tips to incorporate into your training to increase your speed during your long distance runs.
1. Vary workout intensities.
Try incorporating different types of workouts at various intensities into your training. A good race-training program will include VO2max, lactate-threshold, endurance, and easy recovery runs every week. Keep your body guessing, instead of letting it adapt. That’ll consequently help you build your speed!
2. Stay Consistent.
Consistency is everything. Often we fall into the trap of taking a day off (which is alright), but a day can quickly turn into a week, and sometimes more. If you want your speed to increase, stay consistent with your training. Listen to your body and remember, fitness is built over a long period of time. It takes day after day and month after month of consistent training to improve.
3. Strength Train.
Do a few strength-training sessions per week to strengthen your body, which will inevitably improve your running. A typical issue I often see with my clients is muscle imbalance, especially in their posterior chain. So make sure you’re strengthening your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back, too.
4. Run Hills.
Hill running can have a huge impact on your increase in speed during a long run. Many races have hills, so you should definitely be practicing them. Running hills are great for spiking your heart rate, increasing leg strength, and improving your aerobic capacity. Try throwing in some hill repeats at the end of your workouts to really get the most bang for your buck.
When in doubt about your running speed, just take it to the track and sprint it out. I’ve found that even the most elite endurance runners never fail to incorporate track workouts into their training plans. Whether you’re doing 800m repeats or a few short dashes, your body will thank you when it’s time to race.
I hope these quick tips will help you build your speed and decrease your running time during your long runs. Trust me, training smart will give you the results you’re looking for!
Good luck on your next race!