How to Run Faster

Six Parts:Getting StartedPicking Up the PaceFueling UpStretching For SuccessTraining with BuddiesRunning Tips and Tricks

Running is something almost anyone can do! But running faster—that's the challenge! It takes training, focus, discipline, and determination. Some runners feel tired at the beginning of a run. But with some running techniques you will improve a lot! So if you think you're ready for the next step, read on!

Part 1
Getting Started

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    Figure out your current speed. Before you can increase your speed, it is important to time how fast you are currently running, so you can accurately measure your progress. Use a stopwatch to time how long it takes you to run a mile. Once you have an exact time - whether it's 8 minutes or 16 minutes - you can work on improving it!
    • This is where running on a track comes in handy, as each 400M lap of the track is equal to 1/4 of a mile, so four laps of the track is equal to one mile.
    • If you don't have access to a track, measure an exact mile on a stretch of flat, traffic-free road, then use that to time your run.
    • You should also try to measure the number of strides you take in a minute. You can do this by giving yourself a minute on the clock, then counting the number of times your right foot hits the ground as you run. Whatever number you come up with, you should try to double it as you increase your running speed.
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    Find a good location. Find a local track or flat surface of about 1/4 mile (400 meters) to run on. Tracks are an ideal place for beginner runners looking to increase their speed, as they are a standard length - 400 meters - which allows you to easily measure your progress. They are also traffic-free and flat.[1]
    • Local schools will often open up their tracks to the public, which is convenient if you don't have access to a track elsewhere.[1]
    • If you cannot conveniently make it to a track, you can also improve your running speed on a treadmill at the gym or on any flat road with minimal traffic.[1]
    • Avoid curved or uneven streets, as their shape will affect your running. For example, on a curved street the curb foot will be noticeably lower than the street-side foot.
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    Set a schedule. Increasing your running speed will require a lot of discipline and dedication, so it's important that you set yourself a challenging yet realistic schedule and stick to it. You should aim to be running at least 4 to 5 times a week, varying the length and intensity of your runs.
    • This will not only help you stay on track to running faster, it will also give you an opportunity to gather metrics: do you maintain a steady pace? Are you continuing to speed up, or have you reached a plateau?
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    Set yourself a goal. It is important to have a specific goal in mind as you are training to run faster. Having a goal will increase your motivation and force you to push yourself that little bit harder in order to attain it. Whatever goal you choose, it should be challenging but realistic.
    • You can set a goal which involves running a certain distance in a specific length of time - for example, your goal could be to run a mile in 8 minutes.
    • Alternatively, you could set yourself a goal which involves increasing the number of steps you take in a minute, or your cadence. The fastest runners in the world have an average cadence of around 180 steps per minute.
    • To find your ideal cadence goal, run for 60 seconds, counting the number of times your right foot hits the ground. Then double this number to find your target goal!
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    Get the right gear. The right running gear - shoes, clothes etc. - though not essential to increasing your running speed, can definitely help to make you feel lighter on your feet. There are a huge array of running shoes available nowadays, many with an emphasis on mimicking the feel and movement of barefoot running.
    • Lightweight, breathable clothing can also help you to feel cooler and less weighed down while running, both physically and mentally.
    • You may also want to invest in a high-tech watch that you can use to accurately time your runs, while also measuring distance, speed, calories burned and heart rate.
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    Involve a friend. Getting a friend involved in your new fitness plan can really help to up your motivation levels. Whether your friend intends to run with you, or act as your personal trainer, having some one else along for the ride will ensure that you don't quit and may even provide some healthy competition.
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    Create a mantra. If you're struggling to push yourself or stay motivated to attain a faster running speed, creating an inspirational mantra which you can repeat to yourself while running may be helpful. It can be as silly or a cliche as you like, as long as it's a simple phrase that motivates you to do better.
    • Think along the lines of "you're too slow" or "gotta go fast" - or anything you can think of really!

Part 2
Picking Up the Pace

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    Break your patterns. To help boost both your speed and endurance, you need to push your limits and mix up your workout routines a little. If you've been doing the same exercises for a few months, your body will have settled into a routine, and it's likely you've reached a plateau. It's time to shake it up and try some new things!
    • Try running on the treadmill. Using a treadmill is a great way to train your body to run at a higher tempo. The belt will propel you forward while keeping you at a constant speed, thus encouraging a higher leg turnover. To get the most out of your treadmill workouts, set the machine to a speed slightly higher than you're comfortable with and push yourself to keep up. This will train your legs and muscles to work at a higher speed, even off the treadmill![2]
    • Try spinning classes. Spinning classes can help to increase your cadence while running by encouraging your hips to rotate at higher speeds. Spinning classes will also help to get your overall fitness levels up, making them an excellent cross-training choice.
    • Try skipping. Using a jump rope increases cardiovascular fitness, encourages weight-loss and improves coordination, while also training your body to absorb your body weight when your feet impact the ground. Incorporating just 30 minutes of skipping into your weekly schedule can help to get your body in top running condition and promote faster feet.[2]
    • Try yoga. For a more low-key form of exercise that still helps to benefit your running, try working a yoga class or two into your weekly schedule. Yoga helps to improve flexibility, which benefits running form and decreases muscle recovery time - all good news for runners training hard to increase their speed.
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    Improve your form. Maintaining good form while running will ensure that your body is operating as efficiently as possible, helping you to increase your running speed, as well as helping to prevent injuries. Running should feel natural and loose - you shouldn't feel tense or taut. Here are some tips on correct running posture, which will help you to maintain good form:
    • Keep your head up, with your eyes looking straight ahead. Avoid looking down at your shoes or tilting your chin up, as this will put your neck and back out of line.[3]
    • Keep your arms at a 90 degree angle and swing them back and forwards slightly, to propel your body forwards. Don't clench your fists, hunch your shoulders or hold your arms tightly against your body. If you feel yourself doing any of these things, shake your arms out to relieve any tension and resume the correct posture.[3]
    • Your hips should face straight ahead, in an upright position, aligning them with your torso and shoulders.[3]
    • The position of your legs will vary slightly depending on they style of running. Sprinters will need to lift their knees quite high in order to attain maximum speed. However most runners, even if you're trying to run faster than your normal pace, do not need to lift their knees so high. To increase your speed, you should simply take a higher number of shorter strides, lifting your knees only slightly. Your foot should fall directly beneath your body.[3]
    • Your knees should be slightly flexed as your foot lands, so your leg can naturally bend on impact.[3]
    • Your foot should land on your heel and mid-foot, before rolling forward onto your toes to push off for your next step. Good, fast runners are light on their feet and have a bit of spring in their step.[3]
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    Try fartleks. "Fartlek" is a Swedish word meaning "speed play" and is becoming a more and more popular training method amongst runners who are trying to increase their speed. Fartlek training involves varying your running pace at random intervals throughout your run. With fartleks, you can run at a jogging pace for several minutes then sprint for a full minute, before resuming your previous pace.[4]
    • Fartleks are a very flexible training method, and you can decide what the ratio of jogging to sprinting will be, depending on how you're feeling on a given day. For best results, you should aim to incorporate fartlek training into a 40-60 minute run.[4]
    • Most runners don't use very exact methods or timing for doing fartlek training. A lot of times, runners will simply decide to sprint until they get to a particular landmark, like a telephone pole or fire hydrant. The length of the sprint is entirely up to you and your body's ability.[4]
    • It is important to warm up properly - at least 10-15 minutes at an average running pace - before attempting a fartlek workout. This is because you need to ensure that your muscles are loose enough to handle the demands of multiple accelerations. Also ensure that you allow yourself a decent cooldown periods, otherwise you could be dealing with some very sore muscles the next day.[4]
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    Do hill runs. Running over hilly terrain has been proven to gradually build up speed over time, so you should definitely incorporate some hill training into your workout schedule. Running uphill may be harder at first, but after a while of getting used to it, you will find it much easier to run on a level surface, and you'll run at a faster speed.[2]
    • Hill runs are actually better for your body too, as they help you to achieve high intensities, while limiting the joint shock caused by pounding on flat surfaces.[2]
    • To really get the intensity level up, you can try doing some hill sprints. This involves running up a fairly steep hill for 30 to 60 seconds, at the maximum speed that you can physically maintain for that length of time.[2]
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    Learn how to breathe effectively. Getting the most out of your breathing can help to increase both your running speed and your overall stamina. This is because breathing deeply allows more oxygen into your bloodstream, which gives muscles more energy to keep going. You should inhale and exhale using both your mouth and nose, and aim to breath into your belly rather than into your chest.
    • Belly-breathing involves drawing deeper breaths, which, if done correctly, should inflate your stomach like a balloon when you breathe in, and deflate it when you breathe out. When you breathe into your chest, as most inexperienced runners do, you tend to breathe less deeply (limiting your oxygen intake) and hunch up your shoulders (wasting precious energy).[5]
    • While running, try to time your breathes to the rhythm of your footfall. This helps to strengthen the diaphragm. To begin, take one breath in for every two steps (right, left), then exhale for the next two steps. Once your diaphragm grows stronger and your breathing deepens, you can extend this to one breath for every four steps.[5]
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    Look straight ahead. Something as simple as looking straight ahead while running can actually increase your running speed. Some runners have a tendency to look down at their feet or to look around them, taking in their surroundings, during their run. While this is fine for people who are running for pleasure or just to enjoy the great outdoors, runners training for speed should aim to focus their gaze about 20 to 30 meters in front of them, always looking straight ahead.
    • This is particularly useful advice for runners interested in racing - as it helps them to keep their eyes on the finish line!
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    Lose weight. Being fit does not necessarily mean that your are at your ideal weight, especially if you are eating large meals to compensate for an intense workout schedule. It is important to understand that the more extra weight you're carrying, the more effort it will require to complete your run. It might be as little as one pound or as much as ten, but losing the extra weight can help you to run faster for longer.[2]
    • Of course, crash dieting is not an option for people on intense running schedules. However it is completely possible to stay full and satisfied on a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet. In fact, changing your eating habits may allow you to lose weight and provide you with the extra energy necessary to run that little bit faster.[2]
    • To lose weight healthily, try increasing your intake of protein-rich lean meats, such as chicken, turkey and oily fish, and combine them with small portions healthy carbohydrates such as brown rice, multi-grain bread, or wholewheat pasta. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables along with every meal, to increase feelings of fullness with loading on the calories. For healthy yet filling snacks on the go, reach for a banana, a low-fat yogurt or a handful of almonds or raisins.[6]
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    Listen to music. Although some running purists disdain the need for music while running, studies have proven that people who listen to music as they exercise show a significant increase in their power output, particularly when listening to high-tempo music.[7]
    • Try to find a selection of songs with a tempo that matches to running speed you are trying to achieve. While listening to these songs, your body will naturally fall into step with the music and your speed will increase without you even realizing it!
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    Keep a running log. Keeping a log of your workouts is a great way to track your progress and give you some added motivation to keep going when you need it. After every run, take note of your time, your average speed, the route you took, the weather conditions and how you felt physically throughout the run. Such detailed notes will help you to track how certain conditions affect your time and speed.
    • If you make a note that your knee has been acting up for several runs in a row, you'll know when it's time to take a rest day and you can fend off potential injuries.
    • You will also be able to easily see from your notes when your training program is becoming repetitive and realize when it's time to mix things up and try a new running route or speed training exercise.

Part 3
Fueling Up

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    Stay healthy. Running fast isn't just about exercising more. You will want to make this a "whole body" experience by maintaining a proper diet, hydrating, and keeping your entire mind and body fit. A healthy diet is essential for runners, as intense, high-energy workouts can take their toll on your body. It is vital that you replace the calories you burn during a workout with healthy, vitamin- and nutrient-rich foods, which help you stay in peak condition and perform to the best of your ability.
    • You should eat plenty of animal products like chicken, lean beef, eggs and dairy products such as milk and yogurt. These foods contain high-levels of protein, which is an essential energy source for runners, as well as lots of iron and zinc, which support the production of red blood cells and protect the immune system. Calcium from the dairy products also promotes strong bones.[8]
    • You should eat whole-grain cereals with added protein for breakfast. These will set you up for the day and help you feel fuller for longer. The healthy carbohydrates will also give you energy, making whole-grain cereal bars a great choice for an energy-boost before, during and after a run. Small portions of whole-grain rice and pastas (rather than their white counterparts, which are void of nutrients) are also a good mealtime accompaniment to lean meat and veggies, making dinnertime healthy, tasty and satisfying - a much sought after-combination![9]
    • Try to get five portions of fruit and veg a day. Fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins, nutrients and good carbohydrates, which help keep you full throughout the day, without piling on the calories. Don't peel the fruit and veg however, as the skins are the most nutritious part! You should also try to vary the colors of the fruit and veg you eat, as the vibrant colors of different fruits and vegetables actually result from the various, healthful, antioxidant pigments they contain. For example, tomatoes get their color from lycopene, while sweet potatoes contain the beta-carotene that makes them orange![8]
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    Drink plenty of water. It is essential that runners stay hydrated, both during their runs and in between, as dehydration can lower the supply of oxygen to your muscles, causing you to run slower. However, contrary to popular belief, drinking eight glasses of water a day may not be the best way forward, and may even cause over-hydration, which can be dangerous in extreme circumstances.[10] To find out how much water you should be drinking a day, follow the formulas below:
    • Men: Men should multiply their body weight (in pounds) by .35 fluid oz. in order to find out their optimum fluid intake per day, though runners should drink a little extra to cover fluid loss due to sweating.[10]
    • Women: Women should multiply their body weight (in pounds) by .31 fluid oz. to get their optimum daily fluid intake, though runners should drink a little extra to cover fluid loss due to sweating.[10]
    • If you bring a sports bottle with you to drink water while you run, don't feel as if you need to be chugging away at it constantly. Current research recommends that you should drink when you're thirsty - no more, no less.[11]
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    Avoid sweets and greasy foods. Junk food and candy may give you an instant energy boost, due to their high levels of sugar and fat, but that boost will rapidly be followed by a crash, leaving you feeling slow and sluggish. Stick with natural sources of sugar and fats for the same boost, without the negative side effects.
    • If you're really craving something sweet, go for a banana, which is full of natural sugars but will keep you feeling full and energized for much longer than a bar of chocolate.
    • If you're craving fats, eat a tablespoon of peanut butter, on its own or spread on some wholegrain toast.
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    Drink coffee. Conventional wisdom would hold that drinking coffee before running is a major no-no, as coffee is a diuretic which increases the risk of dehydration. However, studies have shown that consuming a cup of coffee - or other caffeinated drinks - prior to running can actually give runners an extra burst of speed. This is great news for coffee addicts, but just remember to keep everything in moderation.
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    Get plenty of rest. In addition to eating well, staying hydrated and training effectively, you also need to make sure that your body is getting the rest and recovery time it needs to perform well. Pushing your body too hard can result in exhaustion and injury, which may put you out of the game for some time.
    • To prevent this from happening, make sure that you give yourself one or two rest days a week, where you don't run at all. If you like, you can perform another type of low-intensity exercise such as walking or yoga on such rest days.
    • You should also ensure that you're getting enough good quality sleep at night, as studies have shown that athletes with healthy and consistent sleeping patterns tend to have quicker reaction times and faster race finishes.

Part 4
Stretching For Success

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    Stretch before you run. Stretches are a great way to increase flexibility, improve performance and reduce the risk of injury while running. Rather than traditional static stretches (stretch and hold), dynamic stretches (which incorporate movement) have been proven to be more beneficial for runners and other athletes alike, as they stretch your body in a more dynamic, functional way.[12]
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    Do leg lifts. Swing one leg out to the side as far as you can swing it, and then swing it back across your body in front of your standing leg, as far as possible. Repeat this stretch ten times on each leg.
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    Do tin soldiers. Keep your back and knees straight, and walking forward, lift your legs straight out in front in an exaggerated march, and flex your toes towards you. Too easy? Add a skipping motion. Do ten reps with each leg.
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    Do butt-kicks. Kick your own butt? You bet! While standing, walk forward, and swing your legs back and up, trying to kick yourself in the glutes. If this gets to be too easy, do it while jogging. Do ten reps with each leg.
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    Do lunges. Step forward using a long stride, and keeping the front knee over or just behind your toes, lower your body by dropping your back knee toward the ground. Walk using that movement. Maintain an upright posture throughout the stretch, and keep your abs tight for maximum benefit. Once again, do ten reps on each leg.
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    Do pike stretches. Get in a "pike" position with your butt in the air. Put your right foot behind your left ankle. Keeping your legs straight, press the heel of the left foot down, and then release. Repeat ten times on each leg.
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    Do hacky sacks. Lift your left leg up like you're kicking a hacky sack, bending at the knee so it points out. Tap the inside of your left foot with your right hand without bending forward. Repeat ten times on each leg.
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    Do planks. The plank exercise is a great way to build your endurance and strengthen both your abs and your back. To do a plank: Lie face down, your hands flat on the ground at head level. Lift up off the ground, on your toes, and resting on your elbows with your hands flat. Your back should form a straight line from head to foot. Tighten your core so your butt doesn't stick up or sag. Hold for one minute, then ease back down. Do 15 reps.
    • Add a leg swing: to get more out of your planks, put your legs in motion, one at a time: Lift one leg up so it's roughly parallel to the ground, swing it outward (keeping it parallel), then return to the starting position, and do the other leg.

Part 5
Training with Buddies

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    Find a friend or a family member who is willing to help you achieve this. This companionship and mild form of competition can be an excellent source of motivation to keep going. It's also an opportunity to test each other.
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    Encourage your running buddy to push you. For example, if you say you are too tired or bored, have your buddy counter your excuses. In turn, encourage your running partner. Make a pact to do everything to motivate each other.
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    Exercise in a routine as outlined above. Try exercising every day as a daily routine
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    Find another way to get a buddy motivator. Just in case your friend or family member doesn't want to run with you, see if you can convince this person to at least come with you with a bike. It can be a good way to get exercise for both of you without your pal having to get totally worn out.

Running Tips and Tricks


  • To run faster you can focus on something which is farther that you and run towards it.It will help you to run faster and you will be less tired.
  • When you are getting tired, at the end of the race, focus on driving and swinging your arms. Swinging your arms faster makes your legs run faster!
  • Always remain focused on the goal.
  • Do a warm up before you run.
  • Use your arms, as the faster they go, then the faster your legs will go, and keep your hands open, not closed as this increase aerodynamics when sprinting.
  • Before you start running, practice jogging on the spot to warm up.
  • Remember to keep your head straight and eyes forward.
  • Invest in good training shoes that are both light and comfortable. Running shoes without sufficient cushioning can cause shin splints and other injuries. Replace shoes every 300 miles (480 km) or if they're deformed in any way.
  • Keep your hands straight and point facing forwards swing them and start running hopefully that might help.
  • If you do a long run, don't run as fast as you can! Conserve your energy and spread it out throughout the run.
  • Have a straight back when you are running.
  • Run with a heavy backpack on and do sprints. Then take off the backpack and do sprints.
  • Before you decide to make running a regular thing on your schedule, you may want to try a sport like skateboarding or skiing to strengthen your leg muscles.
  • Make sure your trainers are in good shape. You can check to see if need replacing by bending the toe section in towards the laces. If they meet relatively easily, you need new trainers.
  • Go against the fastest person you know, that might make you want to challenge yourself to go faster.
  • Race with a friend that is faster than you. Do this about 2-4 times a week then race with him/her again to find out it increased.
  • Don't look behind at the other runners; focus on yourself and what's in front of you, so you don't fall or trip.
  • Get a friend to film you running, so you can spot problems with your running form that you might need to change.
  • Make sure you run with shoes and not bare-foot, as running bare-foot has caused many injuries.
  • If you are a girl with long hair, it will be better if you tie your hair back so it doesn't get in your face and block your vision.
  • Make sure that you breathe the right way, it wastes up all your energy and strength if you don't.
  • Always remember to stretch before running to prevent injuries.
  • When running, breathe through your mouth and out your nose. This can prevent side cramps.
  • When running, breathe in from your nose and out through the mouth to make sure you are expelling enough CO2.
  • If you are a short distance runner than run fast for a short distance, then the next day run a little longer, than a bit longer, until you reach your goal.
  • Make sure you keep a water bottle with you, if you don't you will get tired.
  • Jog a lap before you reach full speed. This will help you run faster without tiring yourself out as much!
  • Don't look behind you while racing, or you will slow down.
  • Push with your arms and extend your arms because, you should usually stay the same pace as your arms so match up your arms and legs.
  • Find somewhere where you can practice running such as a running track, a field, or a park.
  • For short distances you need to run as fast as you can. As, short distances do not allow us to cover the competitors. Whereas, long distances should be started with a slow speed, as you need to conserve energy for the later half of the run. By the end of running long distances, others are drained of their energies. It will help you running till the end.
  • Avoid eating before running, do not drink a lot of water (take a small sip take a breath take a small sip and so on). For energy you can eat a banana 10 minutes before running.
  • While running, keep an eye on the terrain in front of you. This is especially important on cross-country races where the path might contain obstacles. Make sure you scan both directly in front of you and up ahead to keep yourself from tripping or turning an ankle.
  • Don't take gulps of water while running because it will give you cramps. Make sure to take little sips.
  • The trick is to take longer and stronger strides.
  • Make sure you eat the right things before you run. Examples: eat a few almonds 60 minutes before running (not too many almonds; it's high in fat, so no more than 23 almonds). Eat a banana before running for energy.
  • Don't doubt yourself. Self confidence goes a long way while taking part in competitive sports.


  • When hydrating during a run, do not drink too much at once: that will cause side pains. Instead, drink small sips. Do not chug a whole water bottle down at once, as this will reduce your performance.
  • Do not force your body more than your abilities during starting days, keep in mind that every individual has their own ability and no race is more important than your life.
  • As with any exercise program, if you have any medical conditions, you should get a doctor to let you know what to avoid prior to starting any new physical regimen.

Things You'll Need

  • T-shirts/sweatshirt. A tight, specialized training shirt is a good idea for more serious runners
  • Something to keep loose strands of hair out of your face. For example: a ponytail holder (hair-tie), a sport headband or a haircut
  • Plenty of water
  • A timer
  • Running shoes

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