If you want to start running faster, you can build up your speed naturally over time, but there are other ways to boost your distance and time. Try these ten easy ways to start running faster today!
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1. Give Your Body Fuel
Food gives you energy, so it’s naturally important to try to harness that energy for your run. Go for protein and carbs, since carbs fuel your muscles and protein helps build them up and strengthen them.
Some great protein sources include eggs, whole grain cereals, and black beans. Be creative with your meals to get that extra protein in. Black beans, for example, actually work well in some salads, and eggs can be breakfast, lunch or even dinner.
For carbs, it’s important to get the right ones at the right times. Aim for the fast-acting high-glycemic carbs, such as bananas and low fat yogurt, before you run. During other times, stick to long-lasting low-glycemic carbs, which you can get from foods such as brown rice, whole grain bread and whole wheat pasta.
2. Grab A Cup Of Coffee
For an energy boost, drink some coffee an hour before you start a workout. The drink can help improve your endurance and boost your stamina and speed. According to the New York Times, two-thirds of the Olympic athletes who participated in a 2011 study drank coffee, with use highest among cyclists, rowers and triathletes.
Another study conducted by Coventry University in England found that men who consumed coffee before weight-training were able to exercise for longer than those who didn’t.
Beet juice, according to WebMD, is another energy-boosting option. This wonder drink may improve your blood flow and your stamina, allowing you to run longer. Beet juice is full of nitrates, which your body converts into the blood flow helper, nitric oxide.3.
3. Do The Cool-Down
While it is tempting to just dash back home and shower after you work out, especially if you’re short on time, no routine should end until you’ve done some stretches. These moves will help relieve any muscle tightness so your body is ready and prepared for your next run.
When it comes to post-run stretches, there are plenty to choose from. Use free resources, such as forums and running websites, to find the right moves for your cool-down routine. Don’t be afraid to switch it up sometimes, as you can create different post-run stretch routines to help break up your week and ensure you’re still cooling down properly.
4. Use A Foam Roll
Regular runners often notice that their legs tend to feel sore and tight. Use a foam roll after you train to help massage your muscles, as this will keep them looser and reduce that tight feeling you’re experiencing when you run. Look up different massage techniques using foam rolls online if you’re not sure what to do.
5. Get Into Yoga
Yoga is generally known as being good for the body, but did you know it can benefit runners too? Doing yoga regularly will help your shoulders and muscles relax, lessen pain in your back and open up hip tightness.
There are plenty of ways to start doing yoga. You can join a class at your local gym or community center or use online resources, such as videos and yoga-oriented websites, to get into the practice.
Make yoga a part of your daily routine so you stick to the practice over the long term, as it can also help relieve stress and even improve your mood. Start off easy, with 10 minutes of yoga per day, and work your way up from there.
6. Remember Your Rehab
If you’re a regular runner, you need to do whatever you can to prevent any running injuries. Being sidelined will slow your entire training route down. Stretching and warming up are obvious musts for this, but there are also exercises you can do that help protect injury-prone areas such as knees and ankles.
Add exercises that target your weak spots to help keep you on track. Online resources for runners cover a variety of injury-preventing exercises, and you can also ask people at your gym for help in this area.
7. Schedule Post-Run Stretches
There are stretch routines that you can do to help you run faster and improve your strength and flexibility over time. Add these to your wind-down routine after you run to boost your speed and strength. Runners’ forums and online health portals showcase stretching techniques you can try for free, and you can also speak to trainers at your gym for help.
8. Get Some Sleep
Without enough sleep, you may find yourself feeling sluggish and lacking the energy you need to run your fastest. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults 18 years of age and up need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Make sure you’re getting at least seven hours a night so you’re in top shape for your runs.
Getting enough sleep may require tweaking your nighttime routine, so make changes if you have to! Assign yourself a time to be in bed by, and make sure the TV goes off, your phone is on silent and all your lights are down.
While it may be tempting to skimp on sleep when you have things that need to get done, being half-asleep the next day is likely to put you just as behind as you were before. Make proper sleep a priority for both your running and your life in general.
9. Try Cross Training
Cross training can help to improve your upper body, quads and core, improving your total body strength. Studies have shown that riding a stationary bicycle can boost speed for runners, so it is worth including cycling in your workout regimen.
You’ll find cross training routines online in various health and fitness forums, and you can also develop a routine with a trainer at your local gym. If you decide to go on your own, remember to pace your workouts so you don’t end up injuring yourself because you pushed your body too far, too fast.
10. Keep Yourself Hydrated
Staying hydrated is key when you work out regularly. You can end up fatigued and with muscle cramps if you’re running when you’re thirsty. Always keep water with you, even if you’re not working out, to ensure you stay hydrated all day and are all set when you exercise. Ready-to-go plastic water bottles are great to have on hand in a pinch, and you can also buy a sports bottle to fill at home to save cash.
Following the above tips is easy and will help you rev up your running game today. Keep these hints in mind when you’re tweaking your running routine to beat your own personal best. If you don’t know what your best is, start timing your runs and keeping a log so you know what you’re trying to beat!