Most runners regardless of their inherited genetic talent want to run faster.
Some simply want to improve their overall running speed, others want to run a fast 10km, still others want to improve their marathon or ultra marathon times.
Everyone can run faster, everyone can improve their running. I’d say the only exception to this rule is an elite athlete who has trained for years in order to reach his/her athletic peak and in this case it’s quite possible they he/she has run or is currently running to their maximum capacity.
But, for the rest of us who hold down full time jobs or run around looking after children all day or sometimes do both and don’t have the talent or the luxury of being full time athletes, there is always room for improvement.
In most cases, simply by changing our daily routine and getting out of our comfort zone from time to time will see improvements in our day to day running.
So the question is this, “How can I run faster?” and that is normally followed by, “without getting injured.”
There is a myth among club runners that speed training = injury, therefore don’t do speed training.
The truth however is that most of us don’t know how to go about doing the correct speed training that will not result in injury.
Most of us think that speed training means going down to the track and hammering it around the track as fast as possible. The myth or misunderstanding is that “if I don’t feel smashed as the end of a track session then I haven’t worked hard enough or run fast enough.” This cannot be any further from the truth.
Speed training just like anything else in running needs to be built up slowly given your current fitness and speed levels. Gradually as you begin to build your cardiovascular engine and leg strength you will begin to increase your overall speed. Of course there are a number of different ways to increase your speed, track work, fartlek, resistance training, hill repeats, etc.
Unfortunately we live in an instant gratification world and that means if I want to be fast then I want to be fast now! When it comes to the body it doesn’t work that way.
If you want to be faster at say Comrades 2013 then it doesn’t help to attempt getting faster as the clock strikes 1 January 2013. If you want to get faster at Comrades 2013 then you have to begin working on your speed now, not when you start increasing and building up mileage come 2013.
This is a very important point and most club runners simply don’t get it.
It you attempt to increase distance and speed you will end up injured. The key is to work on your short distance speeds now, ie) get fast or faster over a 10km race between now and the end of the year. If you go into January fit enough to race a 21km fairly comfortably then you’ve set a great base and you’ve set yourself up for a great Comrades. Now, when you start building mileage around March you are already running a faster average then you were a year prior, this means that you cover more distance in training at a quicker average pace and this equates to a quicker Comrades!
Of course I use Comrades simply as an example but the same principle applies regardless of your target race.
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