How to Train to Run Faster

Four Methods:Strengthening Muscles and Cross TrainingUsing Interval TrainingUsing Simple Tips for Faster RunningMaking Lifestyle Changes

Though it will take some time, you can train yourself to run faster. You'll need to do some strength training and cross training, as well as practice exercises that can help you run faster over time, such as interval training. You'll also need to make a few changes to your lifestyle so you have a stronger body overall.

Method 1
Strengthening Muscles and Cross Training

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    Try body weight squats. These require no special equipment, increase your balance, and strengthen your leg muscles.[1]
    • Begin in a standing position.
    • Sit back as if you are sitting on a chair, but don't actually use a chair.
    • Keep your knees from moving too far forward. Don't let them go past your feet.
    • Keep moving back until you feel your muscles begin to strain.
    • Stand back up. Repeat until your muscles start to tire, and then take a break.
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    Jump rope. Jumping rope can build muscle and help increase speed.[2]
    • Begin with jumping with both feet. Stand with the rope behind you, bring it over, and lightly jump. You don't need to make an exaggerated jump, just enough to let the rope go under your feet. Continue increasing speed until you have a steady rhythm that you can maintain. This type of training builds endurance.[3]
    • Move on to alternating feet as you jump. Each time the rope comes around, switch to the other foot. You're basically running in place with a jump rope. This technique uses the same stride and muscles as running, so it helps to build a good rhythm for later running.[4]
    • Begin with a minute, and break for 30 seconds. As your endurance builds, you can add time between breaks, up to 3 minutes. Repeat as many as five times.[5]
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    Take your bicycle out, or join a cycling class. Cycling requires you to have flexible hips for rotation, just like running. It also works on your pacing.[6]
    • Cycle instead of one of your weekly runs. Since cycling uses the same muscles and rhythms as running, it can help you increase your strength and speed over time. Choose a flat area or one that only has a slight incline. Try to mimic the same speed you normally would running, such as 90 rpms on the bike if you normally run at 180 steps per minute.[7]
    • Incorporate sprints that mimic your runs. That is, if you normally alternate between sprinting for a minute and slowing for a minute, do the same on your bike.[8]
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    Try single-leg dead lifts. Dead lifts help balance and build muscle, increasing your speed.[9]
    • Bend forward with a weight in each hand.
    • At the same time, lift one leg backwards. Keep the knee of the other leg bent.
    • Lower the weights to slightly below your knees, then slowly stand back up. Repeat for a set of 8, then move to the other leg.
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    Practice yoga. Yoga can increase flexibility, which can help you go faster. Try incorporating it into your morning routine to make you more flexible throughout the day.[10]
    • For example, use the cow-face fold. While sitting, pull one heel around your body so it's touching the other hip.[11]
    • Place the other leg on top of the first one, pulling the heel around towards the other hip. Your heels should each be touching the opposite hip, and one knee should be stacked on the other. This position stretches your leg muscles and increases flexibility.[12]
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    Use core exercises. Core exercises strengthen your body as a whole, sustaining you when you're running.[13]
    • Try planking. Lay face down on the floor. Raise yourself up on your elbows and toes with your body straight. Hold the position. To increase difficulty, lift your right arm and left leg at the same time, then do the opposite.[14]
    • Switch to a single-leg glute bridge. Lay on one side. Balance on your elbow and the foot that's on the ground, keeping your body straight. Raise your other leg up and down. Do the same on the other side.[15]

Method 2
Using Interval Training

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    Use stride interval training.[16] Over a period of time, interval training increases how fast you can run by forcing you to use muscles at a higher capacity.[17]
    • Begin running at a steady pace.
    • Increase your speed for a particular interval. You can use distance markers on a track or a timer if you're running through a neighborhood.
    • Keep the increases short, at about 20 seconds or so.
    • Once you are at your top speed, slow back down.[18]
    • Repeat as you're able, increasing the number per workout over time.
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    For variety, try fartlek. Similar to strides, you increase your speed for short bursts. However, instead of doing it at regular intervals, you do it as you feel moved to do so. Also, you can add in other movements, such as jumping or bounding instead of running more quickly.[19]
    • To try fartlek, increase your speed as you feel like it while running. Go up to your top speed, and then decrease down again. Alternatively, switch to hopping or bouncing instead. Keep these bursts at less than a minute.
    • Like strides, fartlek can increase your overall speed by stretching your capacity in short bursts.
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    Increase intensity with hill intervals. Going uphill helps keep you in proper running form. It forces you to pick your knees and feet up and makes you use your arms to help move yourself upward. Running uphill also builds your muscles, as you're fighting against gravity.[20]
    • Choose a road or hill with a slight incline. You should be able to go back downhill when you are in the recovery stage of your workout.[21]
    • Increase your speed in short bursts. Go faster for short periods, keeping it under a minute for each interval.[22]
    • Use the down slope for recovery. Once you've made it up the hill, gently jog down the hill for recovery.[23]
    • Hill intervals can increase speed, as they improve technique, increase strength, and push your capacity to make you go faster.

Method 3
Using Simple Tips for Faster Running

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    Stretch and warm-up before you run. Stretching helps flexibility, which makes your stride better.[24]
    • Use dynamic stretches that move your body while stretching. For instance, start by swinging your arms frontward and backward, then moving on to twisting the top half of your body around to each side.
    • Next, try forward lunges. Step forward with one knee, bringing the other knee almost to the ground. Step forward with the other leg, bringing the other knee almost to the ground. Continue forward with the lunges.[25]
    • Move on to exercises that will warm up your muscles. For instance, you can hop in place. You can also jog slowly in place bringing your knees up high, and then jog slowly in place while trying to pull your heels up higher in the back as you jog.[26]
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    Shorten your stride. Faster runners actually take more steps than slower runners.[27]
    • One way to shorten your stride is to run while jumping rope. That is, take the jump rope out to the track with you.
    • Start out how you would normally jump rope, using two feet.[28]
    • Begin alternating feet, running in place while jumping.[29]
    • Move forward while jumping. Once you get the rhythm, start running around the track while still using the jump rope. The jump rope helps rein in your stride.[30]
    • Another way to shorten your stride is to count your steps in a minute, and then try to up that number little by little.[31]
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    Let your muscles breathe. That is, maximize your oxygen intake by using your nose and mouth to inhale and exhale. Your muscles need oxygen to work their best.[32]
    • Take some time to focus on your breathing. As you're running, concentrate on breathing through both your mouth and nose at the same time and blowing air out through both at the same time. If you notice you're only breathing through one or the other, take a moment to focus and correct it.
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    Work on form. Keep your posture good, and hit the ground with the middle of your foot. Your foot should land below your hip.[33]
    • For good posture, imagine you have a string running up your back that keeps everything upright and straight. Keep your chin up, literally, and focus ahead. Also, try to relax your body, including your shoulders, neck, and jaw.[34]
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    Use a treadmill. A treadmill forces a pace, which means you must go that fast, which can increase your speed over time. Try going for a particular interval at a slightly faster speed than normal.[35]
    • While running on the treadmill, increase the pace for 1 to 5 minutes, then push it back down.
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    Make your arms work for you. Focus on swinging your arms close to your body, which will also help keep your legs inline. Keeping your legs inline is better technique, which can help your run faster.[36]

Method 4
Making Lifestyle Changes

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    Be persistent. The best way to strength train and run faster is to be consistent with your workouts. Try not to skip workouts even when life gets in the way.[37]
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    Keep your workout gear ready. When you come home from a workout, take out your dirty clothes and put in what you need to be ready to go the next time. Take down as many barriers as you can to your workouts.[38]
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    Pick a convenient time for your workout. That is, pick one that you can stick with. If you're not a morning person, you may not be able to stick to a morning schedule, so choose another time of day.
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    Run with a group. Not only can a group encourage you to go faster, it means you are held accountable for showing up.[39]
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    Change your training day to day. If you always do the same workout everyday, you'll hit a plateau. By changing things up, you'll continue to strengthen your muscles.[40]
    • That's why important to practice cross-training. Try replacing running with cycling or swimming 1 to 2 days a week.
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    Take it easy. Some days, you need a lesser workout to let your body have rest. You don't need to run full-out every day.[41]
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    Eat right. Make sure your diet includes what you need to succeed. Eat balanced meals that include a substantial amount of fruits and vegetables, as well as a lean protein.
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    Fuel your workouts. Before your workout, eat a carbohydrate-rich snack, which will fuel your workout.[42]
    • Skip simple sugars, such as candies and juice, and grab more sustaining carbohydrates, such as whole grains and fruit.[43]
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    Get your sleep. Your body needs rest to work properly and recover from muscle strain and soreness.[44]
    • If you have trouble remembering to go to bed on time, set an alarm 30 minutes before you should be in bed to remind you to wind down.


  • Pat yourself on the back. Be encouraging to yourself instead of berating yourself if you're not where you want to be. You'll be more likely to get back out there and keep trying.


  • Don't push too hard too fast. You can injure yourself if you try to from a beginner to marathoner in a week.

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Running