Are you trying to run faster?

Perhaps now is a good time for this post.

I’ve acheived 6 pbs in the last 5 months, my most recent was the Glasgow Women’s 10k which I aimed to complete in 45 minutes, and finished in 43:51!

How do you get your body to run faster?  How do you smash that pb?

There are a few things you can do:

Understand the pace you run at for a split distance

(I use minute miles and use my Garmin to tell me the pace I run as I run each mile, and review the information after it on Garmin Connect).

  • Minute miles are the number of minutes it takes you to do a mile.
  • If your time for a 10k was 55:48 minutes, you will have done an average of 9 minute miles (divide the number of minutes 55.8 by the distance: 6.2 = 9 minute miles)
  • If you want to aim for a 50 minute 10k, divide the number of minutes (50) by 6.2 = 8.06.  Take away the 8 and times the 0.06 by 60. Then add 8 to that number for your target minute mile pace: 8:03.  So if you run 8 minute miles, you’ll get a sub 50 minute pb.

In the half marathon and 10k I ran recently, I didn’t so much set myself an overall target to beat, but I set myself minute mile targets for each mile.

Slower at the start, working up to finishing strongly at the end.  Doing it this way, you start to overtake all the silly people in the race who started out too quick and are dying by half way round.  It gives you a great mental and physical boost!

I’d always recommend you get yourself a garmin, but you can use a watch with a stop watch, or just a watch instead… and make sure you know where the mile markers are on your run (or run on a treadmill).

If you’re really keen and you want to keep on top of your pace, try and run with a pace band which tells you what time you should be where by to stay on target.

Run further than your target pace in training

When training for a race, I suggest running at least 2 shorter – medium runs in a week and one long run (usually at the weekend).  The long run should be at least twice the distance of your short runs.

An example for a 10k training week would be a 4 mile run, 5 mile run and an 8 mile run.

If you run longer than the distance you plan to race…. the race distance should…in theory seem like a walk in the park.  I can definately vouch for this (having trained for and run the marathon and come back to find 12 mile runs easy peasy!)

A good idea also is to cover the route you are going to run so that you get used to any uphills, downhills and parts you might dread or be surprised by.

But how do you push your body to run faster without dying!? 😉

Your 3 Best Options for Increased Lung Capacity

Everyone has their own pace and whilst its good to run with others, you can concentrate on your own pace when you run on your own.

Don’t be tempted to try and run at other peoples paces unless you know you’ll be comforable running at that pace.  There’s nothing worse than getting 3 miles into a run and feeling like you want to die because you can’t breathe!

You can run on the treadmill and set the treadmill to your target pace (don’t set it too high)… or you can run outside and let your body decide the speed you will push yourself to run at.

Your own pace is defined by genetics, your cardio system (how fit you are), your build and your muscles.  When you start out running, you needto build your cardio up slowly.

Run walk short distances until you get to what I think is a point where there’s no going back:  the magical 20 minutes of non stop running!

From my experience, once you can run 20 minutes non stop comfrotably, you can run forever if you want to! It’s hard work to get there, but it’s definately worth it!

Once you are at that stage…of being able to run 20-60 minutes without stopping, it might be time to introduce speed and tempo work once a week to train your body to run faster:

Tempo runs
You build the middle section up and add a few mins of fast running on as time goes on. The main layout of the workout consists of:

Warm up: 10 min
Tempo: 10 mins as fast as you can (variable)
Cool down: 10 min

Tempo RunningStart with the 30 minute workout with the 10 minute tempo part in it once a week for a few weeks until it gets easier.

Then increase the time you spend running fast (tempo) to 15 minutes… do it for a few weeks, then increase to 20 minutes… and so on until you can run for 40 minutes tempo (60 all together).


You start with 1 fast mile with 0.25 miles recover, then repeat until you end up doing 6 miles:

1 mile warm up
1 mile as fast as you can
0.25 mile recovery slow jog
1 mile as fast as you can
0.25 mile recovery slow jog
And so on…
1 mile cool down

You could do this workout over shorter distances:


Warm up: 1 mile
Fast: 0.25 miles, Recover: 0.25 miles. Repeat as desired.
Cool down: 0.5 – 1 mile.

Both ways teach your body to run faster and if you want to beat your pb you could introduce some of the above into your training pattern.

They seem to have worked for me and I always feel brilliant after a fast tempo run or a speed workout.  It’s amazing what you can push your body to do when you try.

Get a motivational playlist together

When I’m running on my own I like to listen to music.  Some people don’t like it, but I do.

Songs with a good beat or a good positive message usually help me to pick my pace up … there are quire a few examples of good running tunes in this playlist.

Mantras/Positive Self Talk

Having a mantra… a phrase you say to yourself when you are running can also help.

  • You can do it
  • Run Strong
  • Stay Strong
  • This is easy
  • Just run
  • Relax
  • Keep going

One other thing… your weight…

When I started running (October 2008) I was a stone heavier than I am now.  I carried an extra 14lbs or 6.5kg around with me.

Imagine me carrying 6.5 bags of sugar on a run with me… I’ve lost the weight mainly through training: burning more calories than I’ve taken in.  But the point is, it’s easier to run faster if you have less to carry around.

Weight loss is not the be all and end all, but if you want to lose weight, running and training for an event is a great way to help the lbs fall off.  And as a result of all your hard work, you should have less to carry and find it easier to run faster!

Keep an eye on your weight and don’t get too thin, but here’s an example of how much faster you could go based on examples of weight loss: (couresty of Runnersworld)

Not bad eh?  I ran the 10k in 2009 in 48:33, and this year, two years later (7lbs lighter)… did it in 43:51 (over 4:30 faster!).  2 minutes of that could be to do with my weight loss!

Here are some tables which detail ideal weight for ‘competitive’ runners.

As you can see my ideal weight (5’6″) for running should be 120 lbs (8st 8)… about 4 lbs lighter than I am now… but the range is 108 – 132. (7st 10 – 9st 6).  But I’m not worried about my weight and if it comes off through training I’ll just see it as a positive to help me run where ever I’m going to run. 😉

Finally… don’t put too much pressure on yourself, just run!

If your quest to get faster is making you feel like crap, or making you hate running.  Step back and think about what you are doing.

You can run.  You are fit and well and you are not injured (hopefully).  Not many people can run non stop for the time that you’ve managed to build yourself up to run, so it doesn’t matter if you’re not as fast as you used to be, or as fast as you want to be.

We’re all different and there’s no point in hating yourself or hating running if you can’t get that magic number.

Just go out and run… no pressure (leave your watch/garmin at home if you want or if you can!?).  Socialise whilst you run or run on your own and enjoy your ‘me time’.

Just run and have fun.  😀

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1 Response to Are you trying to run faster?

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