Speed is a common concern among runners. Most runners want to increase their speed and improve their performance. Improving your running times may seem simple enough, but there are many things you can do to help improve your times.
Work on your aerobic fitness
Your aerobic fitness will have a direct impact on your ability to run faster. Running a lot and practicing a lot will help, but improving your aerobic fitness will help improve your speed as well. Try participating in aerobic workouts that you normally wouldn’t three or four times per week and focus on keeping your heart rate in the target zone.
Breathe quickly at the beginning of the race
It may feel more natural to only begin breathing more quickly when your body signals that it needs more oxygen to keep up with the actions it’s performing, but breathing quickly at the beginning of a race will help improve your speed by ensuring you have the oxygen you need, before your body signals for it. Many athletes report taking off quicker at the beginning of a race by doing this, than waiting for the natural need to breathe more rapidly as the race progresses.
Keep your eyes in front of you
It can be very distracting when there are fans cheering runners on from the sidelines, but do your best to ignore them. Even a momentary glance away from the track can increase your time. Stay focused on what you are doing and keep your eyes on your path.
Shed some pounds
If you’re carrying a little bit of extra weight, you may want to work on slimming down to increase your speed. If you want to lose a little weight, you should always follow a healthy weight-loss plan and eat a sensible diet. Even shedding just a couple pounds of extra fat can help improve your running time by decreasing the weight your body is having to support while running.
Practice on hills
Running on hills is a lot more difficult than running on a flat track or downhill. By running on hills, you’re building your strength and improving your performance. After practicing on hills a great deal, running on a flat track will seem easy!
*Samantha Van Vleet is a former high school athlete. She enjoys running in her leisure time and cheering on her sister who is on a local high school’s cross-country running team.
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