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How to run faster

Step 1: Running form and posture

Most runners have there own unique running style that is comfortable for them, but it is important to have proper form. Poor form wastes energy and detracts from your performance, it can also lead to injury. Running with proper form insures that the energy you put in translates to faster running and greater endurance.

Posture

You should have a relaxed, upright stance. Your back should be straight, head up and your shoulders should be relaxed and not up around your ears. Don't lean forward this puts too much weight on your legs leading to injury.

Arms

Arm swing helps keep rhythm and propels for forward. Your shoulders should be loose, arms close to your body, and up between your waist and chest. (They should not swing across your body -left to right). Hands should be cupped loosely, don't make a fist, this creates tension and wastes energy. Also don't carry things, like water bottles, MP3 players etc. this detracts from proper arm swinging.

Your arms should swing up and down bending at the elbow, less movement forward and back from your shoulders. Your arm swing should be synchronized with the opposite leg (left arm up right knee up).

Foot strike

Beginner and intermediate runners have a hell-ball( of foot) foot strike. Meaning you land on your heel roll forward and push off from the ball of your foot. Since there is a lot of extra padding on the heel of running shoes this makes sense. However some elite runners land on the midfoot or forefoot then heel then pushing off again from the forefoot. This creates a faster foot strike, hence faster stride frequency.

Stride

To maintain proper form with regards to your stride; the lead foot should stretch forward, swing down and make contact with the ground under your hip(your centre of gravity). If it is too far forward (overstriding) it could lead to injury.

Stride length and frequency

These are two major factors you can change to increase your running speed. Stride length can be increased by lifting your leg higher and pushing off harder with your rear foot. There are a number of training exercises you can do to increases stride frequency, these will be detailed in the next step.

Another option would be to harness the power of gravity and learn to run "POSE" style... According to prof. Nicholas Romanov running often is practiced but hardly ever taught. And here's another interesting point - how many other 'animals', apart from humans, walk/run and allow their heels to contact the ground?
Annatar23 years ago
Instead of fartlek runs which can be tricky in places without obvious landmarks at roughly equal distance there's always 60-120's (or 30-60's if you're just starting). You can do these in the gym on the treadmill which has a setting for interval training, or with a cheap stop watch around the neighborhood. Start off by jogging (or walking briskly if you're just starting out) for 120 seconds. When that 120 seconds is up run as hard and fast as you can for 60 seconds. Its key to really push yourself for those 60 seconds. When that time is up go back to jogging for 120 seconds. Repeat for about 20 minutes, longer as you get better at it.

This is actually the way the US army recommends increasing running times and from someone who has gone from a 16:00 two mile to a 13:00 I can tell you it definatly works. As you get better at it you can do things like swap your rest interval with your run interval so you're running for 120 seconds and jogging for 60.
ChrysN (author)  Annatar23 years ago
Thanks, that's great advice.
Neovenetar3 years ago
haha look at the cat, it's a funny cat. :P this really helps though, espicially the bit about forefoot running.
ChrysN (author)  Neovenetar3 years ago
Thanks, my cat likes to use my yoga mat to sharpen his claws.
Musicman414 years ago
My favorite fartlek is a 3-2-1. 3 minutes fast, 3 minutes recover, 2 min fast, 2 min recovery, 1 min fast, 1 min recovery, repeat for 3-4 miles.
ChrysN (author)  Musicman414 years ago
That sounds like a good one, I'll try it!
StarBlades4 years ago
WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA thats central park! thats in burnaby, BC. i can almost see my house. its close to the edge of the picture
oh i can see my grandpas cemetary too, on the bottom of the pic haha should i start singing 'Its a small world after all'? wow what are the chances.. someone can recognize a picture of a park taken by a satellite lol
ChrysN (author)  StarBlades4 years ago
Cool, maybe you've seen me run by!
i dont know what you look like lol. i bike around central a lot, but mainly the south side.
julesa4 years ago
Good instructable! I would only add one thing -- you didn't mention anything about long slow distance runs. Some sprint-oriented athletes will find adding a longer slow distance run to their weekly routine can push them past a fitness plateau, and develop new strength and endurance that can eventually result in an increased top speed.
ChrysN (author)  julesa4 years ago
Thanks for the tip, that's great!
I have the same shoes as you! or had... good instrucable. always helps to be faster, especially when your running from the cops... jk
but you don't need to run faster than the cops, you just need to run faster than your friends!
ChrysN (author)  mothflavour25 years ago
LOL, that's a good point!
not if they are bad friends and they sell out ur hiding plae bcause u got away...
too true, too true
Torread09125 years ago
Pretty good instructable, but I wouldn't drink straight gatorade. It can give you minor cramps, and water is generally better for you. I reccomend mixing a glass of water with about a fifth of a glass gatorade. It may taste like crap, but it is better for you.
ChrysN (author)  Torread09125 years ago
Thanks, that's a good suggestion.
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