Running

Friday, April 21, 2006 2

Q: How can I improve my running speed?

I am a slow runner. In fact, last week I was running and I was passed by a glacier. How can I improve my speed?

By: Question from: Mark, Yonkers, New York
Photo: Jan Rillich via Flickr

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Outside GOOur hottest adventure-travel tips and trips. Sent occasionally.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Subscribe
to Outside
Save Over
70%

Magazine Cover

iPad Outside+ App Access Now Included!

News

Apr 23, 2014

A:

Biomechanists have long known that there are two ways to improve running speed. Increase your stride length and increase your stride frequency. It makes sense, right? But how can you do that? Both require increased flexibility and sport-specific strength, as well as improved neuromuscular efficiency. Fortunately, you can work on these things with a few specific drills. For all of these drills, complete each three to six times. Recovery between each should entail either walking back to the starting point of your drill or one to two minutes easy walking.

Running Strides
These efforts should be anywhere from 50 to 150 meters in length, and can be done after your daily run. The interval should be done as a build-up effort; that is, starting at a low speed, build to near 5K race pace, and then gradually ease off the gas to the finish. You should be focused on maintaining an upright posture, lifting your knees, and executing a proper arm swing.

High Knees
These efforts may be more accurately described as "fast knees." They are short, 20- to 50-meter efforts that require you to lift your thighs parallel to the ground while running, repeatedly, as fast as you can. Horizontal speed is not important with this drill, but vertical speed is paramount.

Power Skips
Although possibly the hardest of the three drills for many people, these are good for specifically improving strength in the ankles and calves. Go back to your childhood and re-learn how to skip. Make it more explosive by attempting to vault as high as possible with each push-off. Your thigh and opposite upper arm should raise parallel to the ground at the same time. These should be most often done in 20 to 50-meter intervals as well.

Incorporating these drills into your running program will increase your running dexterity, strength, and neuromuscular conditioning, and will help you to run faster next year.

More at Outside

Next in Adventure (5 of 49)

Can you give me a good one-month running schedule that would help me build up a base?

Read More »
Current Issue Outside Magazine

Subscribe and get a great deal! Two free Buyer's Guides plus a free GoLite Sport Bottle. Monthly delivery of Outside—your ultimate resource for today's active lifestyle. All that and big savings!

Free Newsletters

Dispatch This week's featured articles, reviews, and videos. Sent twice weekly.
News From the Field The most important breaking news from around the Web. Sent daily.
Gear of the Day The latest products, reviews, and editors' picks. Coming soon.
Outside Partners Outside-approved deals and special offers from select partners. Sent occasionally.

Ask a Question

Our gear experts await your outdoor-gear-related questions. Go ahead, ask them anything.

* We might edit your question for length or clarity. If it's not about gear, we'll just ignore it.