Doesn’t it feel great to run? With the wind blowing in your face and the road flying beneath your feet, there are few sensations in the world quite as exhilarating as a good run. Unfortunately, most of us spend our time jogging or running slowly, because we’re just not in the proper shape. But did you know that you can start running faster today?
Want to pick up the pace? Here are a few sneaky tricks to help you:
Breathe Like a Singer
How do you breathe when you run? Short, shallow breaths, or long, deep ones? Use rhythmic breathing techniques to control your pace, and you’ll maximize your lung capacity while reducing the wear and tear on your body. Breathe into your diaphragm as well as your lungs -like a singer does- and you’ll hold more oxygen.
Change Your Pattern
What’s your pattern for breathing as you run? Do you “inhale, inhale, exhale, exhale”? Many people inhale for a count of two, exhale for a count of two. However, that actually can place uneven stress on your body, and could wear out one side faster than the other. Instead, use a five-count (inhale for three steps, exhale for two) for jogging or a three-count (inhale for two steps, exhale for one) for running. It will reduce wear, and will help you control your energy expenditure as you run.
Hit the Treadmill
If you want to hit a certain speed, try it on a treadmill first. You’ll find that treadmills make it much easier for you to run faster, so you can see just how hard it is on your body to run faster before you take it to the trail or track.
This is probably one of the best pieces of advice for any runner who wants to pick up the pace. Jumping rope gives those calves a great workout, but also helps you to push off your toes faster and more easily. As you increase your speed at jumping rope, you’ll up the pace in your running as well.
If you’ve never tried barefoot or minimalist running shoes, you may find that they’re the key to picking up the pace. It will take a few weeks for your feet to get used to the odd new shoes, but once you’re accustomed to them, you can run much faster thanks to the reduced weight.
Hit the Hill
Have you ever RUN, not jogged, up a hill? Not only is it exhausting, but it can help to increase your speed on level stretches as well. Jogging uphill builds strength in your calves, and will give you the confidence to up the speed once you recover from the hard upward trek.
Try a Track
You may not have run on a track since college, but it feels great to sprint on the springy material. You’ll find that you get more traction with each step, and the ground is softer and easier on your feet. It’s guaranteed to add an extra spring to your run!
If you do long runs, fueling up mid-run may sound like a recipe for a bad stitch in your side. Well, if you do it right, it may not be. Midway through your run, pop an energy chew and down a sip of water. The water will replenish a lot of the fluids you’ve lost, and the energy chew will power your muscles to help you increase your speed.
Instead of slowly increasing your speed as you run, start sprinting on a daily basis. You should only sprint up to 60 seconds at a stretch, but try to do at least three or four sprints in your workout. It will help you to become more comfortable with your running, and you’ll start to get the hang of the faster pace. Once you’re used to sprinting, it will be much easier to work on increasing your speed with every outing!