Whether you’re a marathoner, part of a run club, or a recreational pavement pounder looking to blow off steam, you’ve probably thought about how to become a faster runner. Running your fastest mile yet requires a combination of training, experience, and practice.
To get started, you’ll want to invest in a good pair of shoes from a specialty running store to ensure you have the proper support and cushioning for your feet.
Finding the right running shoes for your needs makes a massive difference in comfort, performance, and safety. Your form, anatomy, and the terrain you run on all affect the type of shoe you should buy. For instance, if you’re primarily on asphalt or concrete, you may want a lightweight road shoe with minimal treads but cushioning to protect your joints from impact.
Knowing your foot-strike pattern, whether overpronation, under pronation, or neutral, is also crucial when finding the right shoe. If you have a wide or narrow foot, look for a shoe with a toe box that fits appropriately. And make sure you’re not holding onto shoes for too long. Sneakers typically lose their ability to absorb shock after 300 to 500 miles, or about every six months.
How to train to be a faster runner
You’ll need a mix of speed work and tempo runs to increase speed and endurance. Your speed work can be done on a track, as interval training consists of short, fast sprints and more prolonged bouts with rest intervals in between.
It’s also essential to stretch and strengthen your feet to withstand the rigors of running. Before you head out, place a tennis or lacrosse ball under the arch of your foot and roll back and forth.
Runners can improve their performance with a variety of exercises as well. Some bodyweight moves that help promote total-body strength include pushups, dips, squats, pull-ups, wall sits, lunges, and planks. Weighted squats, walking lunges, and Bulgarian split squats are also suitable for building lower-body strength, while plyometrics and sprint intervals can help increase speed.
A Woodway treadmill is a stellar investment for home gyms, as it’s durable and allows you to control your own pace.
How to run a sub-6-minute mile
Running a sub-6-minute mile is challenging, no question about it, but it’s doable with the proper training and dedication. To do so, you must have the endurance to sustain a breakneck pace throughout the mile, as well as power and good form.
According to endurance coach Bobby McGee, an athlete must average a 1:29.5 quarter-mile pace to break 6 minutes in the mile. Additionally, McGee notes that athletes can use a 5K race equivalent of 20:50 to gauge if they’re in 6-minute shape.
To prime your body for the big event, McGee suggests a few dynamic mobility drills beforehand, such as heel walks, knee hugs, quad tugs, lunges, and butt kicks. He also recommends dialing in your form.
Proper running form is essential not only for achieving running goals but also for preventing injury. Good condition is achieved by having the correct body alignment, using the right arm and leg motion, and engaging your core. The Pose Method, a technique developed by Russian running coach Nicholas Romanov in the 1970s, is widely taught by elite running coaches and CrossFit instructors as the ideal running form.
Stand straight with your ankles, knees, and hips aligned. Bend your right knee and raise your right leg until it’s at the same level as your left knee. Bend your elbows 90 degrees and swing your left arm forward from the hip to eye level. Keep your head still without any up-and-down or side-to-side motion.
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