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How to run faster

(28 Posts)
HollyEllis Tue 08-Sep-15 22:13:28

Couch to 5 k graduate here. Finished in the spring and have kept on running through the summer. I'm training for a 10k in December and have done quite well at increasing my distance - I can do 10k now and run continuously for 75 minutes.

But the thing is I seem to only be able to run at two speeds - slow and v slow!

I have a training plan for the 10k which includes an interval training session - run faster for 1 minutes and then 1 min walk recover * 10. I hate this session with a passion. I can hardly manage to run fast for a minute and feel as if I'm going to pass out after about 45seconds. But when I tried to do it a bit slower I just ended up at my normal plodding pace.

Will it get better with time or should I just resign myself to tortoise like progress forever (I'm 45+ so no spring chicken)

lastqueenofscotland Tue 08-Sep-15 22:57:56

Pyramid runs I find really helpful one we do a lot at club is run 2 mins rest 1 min, run 3 mins rest 1.5 run 4 mins rest 2 run 5 rest 2.5 then back down again so 4 reat 2 etc etc.
Hill sessions are great too. You'd be surprised you get quicker faster than you think.

MajesticWhine Wed 09-Sep-15 10:29:52

I can just about plod 5k. I am now looking to increase speed over 5k and also progress towards 10k. I have just started to try out some interval training and I found these 3 interval training plans.
www.active.com/running/articles/3-interval-training-plans-to-build-fitness-fast
I also found a free app called IntervalTimer that allows you to input your programme and it rings a bell / changes your music when it's time to switch to fast or recover etc. It's really quite helpful.
I agree it's absolutely horrible wink - maybe the second one on that link called speedplay would suit you because the fast run is only 30 seconds.

HollyEllis Wed 09-Sep-15 19:07:20

lastqueen - how fast do you run on your pyramids? Is it as fast as you can or just a bit faster than normal.

majestic - I like the 30 sec one - I feel so awful after trying to do just one minute of going fast.

MrsMook Wed 09-Sep-15 19:17:24

I've used the C25k + podcasts. There's 3 with different lengths and different times at different paces so you run to the beat.

I had two speeds after C25k, run and walk. I went to HM 7 months after graduating. I then cut back to 10k and concentrated on pace. One year on comparing my HM training, I have a lot more control of my pace and can maintain higher speeds or do a long slow run without burning out.

A GPS watch is also very helpful!

CardiffUniversityNetballTeam Wed 09-Sep-15 19:27:58

I fucking hate intervals!!
But they do work. I try to do one session per month week. During the run sections I try to go at slightly faster than my 5K race pace. During the recovery sections I take it right down so I'm almost walking.
Some people find it easier if they can measure the intervals visually rather than using a timer/watch. For example, run to the first lamp-post/tree, recover to the next one, and so on.

lastqueenofscotland Thu 10-Sep-15 07:35:31

Holly I usually do about 75-80% of capacity, in out if breath and can't talk when running but I'm not sprinting and don't need to collapse in a heap at the end

Thistledew Thu 10-Sep-15 07:47:44

Have a look at your running technique as well. Are you picking your knees up and kicking out behind you at the end of your stride so that your heels come right up? Are you swinging your arms effectively to help with your momentum?

A more effective style will feel like harder work to start with but will mean that you are running with a longer stride, which will increase your speed for less effort than working hard in an ineffective way.

longdiling Thu 10-Sep-15 07:56:45

Do you have any running clubs locally? They are generally very welcoming of new runners and can really help with improving pace. Running uphill regularly helped me get my pace down!

christinarossetti Thu 10-Sep-15 08:01:12

Hill running feels awful to start with, but you can improve very quickly.

It's also 'task focused' ie get up the bloody thing rather than time focused, which works better for me.

CheddarGorgeous Tue 15-Sep-15 08:33:12

What Thistledew said and also strengthen your core. Look at plyometric training, do some cycling and incorporate hill sprints (10-20 seconds) in your training.

I sympathise - I am also a plodder.

HollyEllis Tue 15-Sep-15 23:30:54

Thank you for all suggestions. Glad to hear its not just me that finds intervals hard and I think probably I've been trying to go too fast for my own good.

I think hills are probably the way to go for me as I live near lots of them and so have incorporated a few more of them into my runs - its nice how easy the flat bits seem after you've slogged up a big hill. I'm also going to try to do something like swimming on my non running days or have a go on DH's exercise bike. I do think that I need to increase my overall strength without too much pounding on my old joints.

I'd quite like to join a running group but its tricky to fit into family schedules - there are two near me I could join but neither at very convenient times.

CremeDeSudo Fri 18-Sep-15 11:01:20

I'm another C25K graduate trying to pick up speed - really helpful thread!

MrsMook - are they running specific podcasts? Where can I find them? I find running to the beat really helps me.

Have just downloaded the interval timer app to try too.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Fri 18-Sep-15 11:10:23

Also, and please don't flame me, losing weight can also significantly help with speed.

CremeDeSudo Fri 18-Sep-15 11:20:01

Fortunately, I think the interval training will also help with weight loss as it helps to burn more calories? Two birds an' all that grin

SerendipityDooDah Fri 18-Sep-15 13:34:24

I was just bemoaning my turtle pace this morning -- timely thread!

Can I ask wise MN runners another question: how about building endurance? I've recently returned to running after a couple of years off with hip/pelvis issues. My muscle strength seems to have come back, but I get really out of puff after 20-25 minutes and on hills even at my absurdly slow pace. Legs are willing to continue, but lungs disagree, if you see what I mean.

Any ideas? I'm 45 like OP (does that make us late summer/early autumn chickens?) and hoping it's not just age, as I was a reasonably paced marathon runner in my 30s. Not sure whether to focus on building up how long I can last time-wise, even at a ridiculously slow pace, or change tactics and try to get my cardio capacity up. Thanks to all.

suzannecaravan Fri 18-Sep-15 14:00:30

Serendip afaik potential for cardio vascular efficiency should be around as good in your 40's as it was in your 30's
I guess elite runner would've dropped off a bit (?) but mortals should be around as good.

I'd say just keep at it and your cv system will respond to the training stimulus.
Perhaps use a schedule from your marathon training days?

fuzzyfuzzyduck Fri 18-Sep-15 17:41:45

I've just read an article on the best stretches to improve running performance(as I have terrible hamstrings) I can link it if anyone is interested.

OhYeahMama Fri 18-Sep-15 21:57:45

I am in a similar position to you OP - what about Jeffing?

I think it is a kind of interval training too though, I haven't tried it yet.

OrderofWork Fri 18-Sep-15 22:14:04

There are loads of different theories/methods.

Interval training does work, but not if you hate it and don't do it!

Some suggestions:

-Increase the length of your long run, up to double the length of a "normal" run. This will make short distances feel easier and you will run faster.

-Threshold running, start with 10 mins and build up at what I call a comfortably hard pace. You're not racing but you are pushing yourself

-Hills (my favourite!) either reps or incorporate asmany hills as possible into your usual runs

-Join a club. Interval training is fun in a group (honest!)

-My running always improves if I consistently do a couple of hard spin classes a week.

Serendipity, slow down! Your long runs should be done very slowly, about 1-2min per mile slower than your usual run.

GerrardWinstanley Sat 19-Sep-15 19:10:54

Am I the only person who loves intervals and finds the plodding much more difficult. I schedule in a 20 second walk after 10 minutes running because my brain needs the change. I'm weird aren't I?

I'm a recent C25K graduate too. In my early 40s. My struggle is running for longer. I get bored before I get tired blush.

CremeDeSudo Sat 19-Sep-15 19:50:29

I get bored too. I find walking for a bit helps. I've never done interval training but I think I'll prefer it!

MajesticWhine Sat 19-Sep-15 22:12:37

GerrardWinstanley - have you tried the Bridge to 10k program? It works up from 5k to 10k in 6 weeks. I can't say if it works or not I'm on week 2.

OrderofWork Sat 19-Sep-15 22:57:15

You need a club too Gerrard

Never be bored running with friends from all walks of life, some of whom you'd never meet without running in common

EarlyNewDawn Sun 20-Sep-15 08:54:26

To run faster:

Move your arms faster. Move your arms, the legs will follow. Stay tall, look ahead and focus on those arms.

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