For the low price of $19.95, I can sell you the #1 tip I have to getting a faster running time. Are you ready for it?
Can you handle it?
I don't think your ready for this jelly!!
Okay you all broke me down.
The #1 tip to get faster is...
... buying some Acme Rocket Boots from Wile E Coyote!
Not what you were expecting?
Why because they aren't street legal?
Oh because they aren't real.
Just a girl trying to make a quick buck! ;)
But seriously, the number one question I get asked is: "How did you get so fast?"
Some days I really don't know how it has happened.
It's been years in the making.
I ran my first 5k in March 2005 in a time of 38:21.
In August 2013, I set my current 5k PR of 21:59.2.
That's right. I have taken a little over 16 minutes off of my 5k time.
I ran my first marathon in September 2006 in a time of 5:59:27.
In my second marathon in November 2012 I set my current PR of 3:58:49.
Just over two hours taken off the marathon time.
So how did I do it?
Here are a few of the things that have helped:
1) Weight loss
I was close to my heaviest (so around 230 lbs) when I started running. It took a lot out of me to run: pounding on my knees and other joints, heavy breathing, etc.
I ran from 2005-2006 before taking just over a 4 year break. During that break I joined Weight Watchers and started my healthy lifestyle journey.
There are articles out there saying that for every 5 pounds lost you take 30 seconds off your pace. I have yet to find any scientific proof of that, but either way I have to disagree with that statement. I don't think losing weight guarantees that you will speed up.
What I can say is the weight loss lessened the pain I felt, as well as the shortness of breath. It has been proven that for every 1lb lost reduces the pressure on your knees 3-4 lbs. That I can TOTALLY get behind.
So with less pain in my body while running, I could train longer and add in speed work more comfortably.
I will give a lot of my speed improvement credit to Spinning.
I went to my first Spin class in 2009 and my life was changed. Haha. It sounds so dramatic, but it really was.
Before I knew it I was Spinning 4-5 times a week. My legs felt stronger. My cardio was improving.
In 2011 after back surgery, I was cleared to return to activity and I was ready to give running another shot. I was starting at ground zero. The first mile I ran after back surgery was about a 15 min pace or so.
As I got back into my running routine, I noticed that hills were getting easier thanks to hill workouts in my Spin classes.
While 2011 was a rebuilding year after surgery, 2012 was the year of PRs. I watched my 5k time go from 25:27 to 22:20. Woo! It was quite a ride and really the muscles built during Spin was a huge factor.
3) Cross Training
Yes there is more to cross training than Spin class. But I had to give Spin it's own category. In order to help my running, I need to find ways to strengthen my body and work on endurance without a ton of pounding on the joints.
Bring on the stationary bike, Stairmaster, elliptical and swimming.
If you don't like to swim laps, I would recommend even doing water aerobics classes. They can combine more low-impact swimming with strength training.
If you are wondering where to find swim workouts, there are ample websites out there.
I like to switch up elliptical and stationary bike workouts by the programs on the machines themselves. The Stairmaster at my gym tells you how high you are climbing in relation to world landmarks, which is fun and motivating.
I usually cross-train 2-4 times a week depending on what I am training for.
4) Find A Faster Running Buddy
Find a friend that runs a faster pace than you or a running group that is just ahead of your normal running partners ... and run with them!!!
Those folks will bring out the best in you and push you to a pace that you wouldn't think imaginable.
NOW I am not saying I am going to head out and run with Shalane Flanagan tomorrow - even though that would be fun - I am saying if you run a 10:30 pace find something that is 10:00 or 10:15.
Don't push the limit too much too fast.
My best friend Sarah and I are great at pushing each other. She is by far the better runner in our duo, but she wants me to reach my potential so she devises runs for us to do together that will do that.
Additionally running with a BQer (Boston Qualifer) can be daunting, but Robin keeps it light and fun. She has a great energy and really knows running. So besides running at a faster clip when I am with her, I also believe I can do anything!
If you don't have a friend that you can reach out to, check out a local running group to see if they have someone that runs at the pace you are looking to hit. It is a great way to meet new people and work on your speed.
5) Get Yourself Socks With Capes
I'm serious!! :)
Even if they don't technically improve your speed, they make you FEEL like you do.
No matter what my Garmin says when I am wearing my Superman caped socks I am freakin' MEB out on the course.
Most of my running socks, which are not compression, are super hero socks. Not only do they make me feel amazing, but they help win over the race crowd as well.
6) Sign Up For A Race With Free Beer At The Finish
Nothing gets me to a finish line faster than knowing there is GOOD free beer at the end. ;)
Now beer may not be your thing so go ahead and insert your motivator into sentence where beer is.
Sometimes thinking of people enjoying my free beer put a little light under my ass and make me pick up the pace.
I mean they could run out! ;)
7) Refuel and Recover
Proper refueling can greatly impact your athletic performances ... which is why I swear by my low-fat chocolate milk.
I don't drink it just because it is easy and a treat after a hard workout, but for the health benefits listed above.
In addition to 8 oz of low-fat chocolate milk after a workout, I am sure to keep my legs fresh with Zensah compression gear (shorts and socks).
Now yes folks also find speed work to be helpful and if I did it more, I am sure I would improve my times even more. But honestly I haven't worked it into my plan as much as I should.
It is something that I am going to be working on in the future.
For now here are the seven tips have really helped me. Now I am not sure they will work for everyone, but I can only share my experiences.
I am available for questions whenever folks have them.
Excuse me while I go and order another pair of Superman socks to go with my
Wile E Coyote rocket boots Asics sneakers.
What has helped you improve your speed?