How to Start Fast and Stay Fast When Running
Being able to maintain speed through a run is a clear sign of an experienced and confident runner. If you find that your running speed seems to dip down, then jump up over the course of your regular training – or even during a race. It’s worth looking into ways of making your pace more consistent. This will help you achieve your running targets more easily, reduce exhaustion and give you a greater sense of control over your exercise.
How to run faster and longer, consistently
Every runner has been there at some point – you start with a challenging but comfortable tempo, yet after a few miles you struggle to keep the pace up. Before long, your minute-per-mile ratio is all over the place and you’re feeling exhausted.
Learning how to maintain speed through a run can help you avoid this scenario and become a more consistent athlete.
Below are 5 techniques you can use to maintain speed through a run:
1. Work out your baseline speed
Your baseline speed is your average minute-per-mile/kilometre pace. You can figure this out fairly easily by taking a 5-mile run and noting exactly how long each mile took to complete. On finishing your run, add the times for all 5 miles together and divide by 5 – you will use this as your baseline speed.
If you run on a track, simply press the ‘splits’ button on your stopwatch each time you’ve run a mile. Alternatively, use ASICS’ Runkeeper App , which will accurately record your minutes per mile wherever you go running.
Now that you have established your baseline speed, your next target is to ensure each mile you run is done at this exact pace. Over time, you’ll want to increase that rate, but for your next two training sessions at least, aim to run at your baseline pace consistently – that will get you used to a more stable rhythm.
2. Set a target time per mile/km based on race goals
If you are training towards a marathon – or indeed any race – it’s always best to set yourself a realistic finish time. Once you’ve set your target finish time, you can then work out exactly how long you need to run each mile or kilometre.
For example, say you’re taking part in a 10K run and hope to complete it in exactly 60 minutes. To figure out your speed per kilometre, you’ll need to divide 60 minutes by 10 – i.e., you’ll have to run each kilometre in six minutes. For at least some of your training, you need to aim to run at this speed, and get used to it.
3. Listen to music
If your goal is to maintain speed through a run, listening to music can be a big help. Choose a style with steady beats and a sustained rhythm – any kind of hip-hop, dance, electronic or pop music will normally do the trick. Various studies have shown that when runners listen to music, their performance also increases, helping them run up to 15% faster while reducing the perception of fatigue or discomfort.
4. Train faster
If you want to know how to run faster and longer in races, there’s one simple solution: run faster in your training. By getting your body accustomed to running faster, it will be able to sustain bursts of speed for much longer than if all you do is slow-but-steady jogging.
There are many exercises you can do to train faster, but if consistency is your goal, try these:
- Tempo runs: Tempo runs require you to run at a ‘comfortably difficult’ speed for long periods of at least 15 to 20 minutes. By ‘comfortably difficult’, we mean you shouldn’t be able to have a conversation, yet you’re also not going to be sprinting and getting completely out of breath. Instead, try and run at the threshold where you feel that if you went much faster, you’d be running anaerobically.
- Mile repeats: Once you’ve established your race target time (see point 2 above), begin training with mile repeats. A mile repeat requires you to run a mile at just above your target race time. After running for one mile, stop and recover then repeat 4 to 5 times. This will get you used to running at a specific pace consistently, and by going faster than your target, your body will find your eventual race that little bit easier.
5. Join a running club
Running clubs are another great way of encouraging consistency in your running style and tempo. Training with others will unconsciously make you stick to the group’s pace, meaning you’re less likely to slow down and speed up randomly. Following the crowd will keep your pace more stable.
Consistency is king
Just as with any sport, aiming for consistency and gradual improvements over time is key to improved pacing and performance. And with the right running gear , you’ll have all the comfort you need to focus on your form.