If your goal is to complete your run faster, you’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re running a 100-meter dash, a 5K, or a marathon, the principles of running remain the same across the board. Understanding how to streamline your running form will make running faster absolutely possible! Here are a few tricks to try:
Listen to Your Body
Your body knows what it’s capable of, so listen when it tells you that you can run more, or that you need to take a break. If you notice back pain, knee pain, hip pain, or ankle pain, analyze your run posture to find out what’s causing the pain. Perhaps you forgot to stretch before the run, or you took on a particularly challenging route. Pay attention to the messages your body sends you—it will make you a better, more efficient runner in the long run!
Stop Altering Your Stride
A recent study found that the natural way to run is the most effective. This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one: find your natural running gait, pace, and stride, and stick with it. Many runners will try to correct your form or help you improve your posture, and that advice is worth listening to. However, in the end, you need to do what feels right for your body. Your body is absolutely unique, with its own bone, muscle, and joint structure. You can’t adapt your running style to someone else’s physical dimensions or capabilities. All you can do is find the stride that feels most comfortable to you and stick with it!
Strengthen Your Extensor Muscles
The extensor muscles are all the muscles running along the back of your body: shoulders, upper back, spinal erectors, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. They all play a role in keeping you upright and moving forward when you run. The problem is that many people focus on the more visible muscles in the front of the body: chest, legs, arms, abs, and so on. They fail to strengthen their posterior chain extensor muscles, leading to muscular imbalances and weakness that affects performance. To improve your running speed, strengthen your extensor muscles!
Sometimes, all you need to do to run faster is to run faster. Sounds silly, I know, but think about it: the main thing stopping you from running faster is your anaerobic conditioning. To improve that conditioning, you need to spend more time working on it. This is done through HIIT and sprint training. The high-intensity training protocols will improve your body’s ability to work in low-oxygen (anaerobic) conditions, giving you the stamina needed to run at faster speeds for longer periods of time.
Work on Your Hip Flexors
One of the main reasons you can’t run faster is that your hip flexors are tight. This is the result of spending long hours sitting down. The hip flexors don’t do any work as you are seated, so they relax and weaken. This leads to tight hip flexor muscles, which can actually pull your pelvis out of the proper running position. The pelvis tends to tilt forward as you run, increasing the strain on your lower back and quadriceps muscles. This can increase the stress on your lower spine, thereby increasing your risk of lower back strains. This is why it’s so important to work on your hip flexors. Loosening them up prevents the tightness that pulls your pelvis forward and will keep your joints in the right position. Flexible hip flexors will reduce the strain on your pelvis and spine, thereby preventing lower back strain as you run.