QT: Running Faster Requires Being Patient and Doing the Work

If you are like many runners I know, running faster is one of your goals.

Without a doubt, the most frequent question I get from listeners of the show has to do with running faster during races.

Whether the goal is a PR or a BQ, running faster is something a lot of runners strive for.

So the million dollar question is pretty simple: how does one go about running faster during a race?

To Run Faster, You Need to Run Faster


If you want to run faster, you need to practice it right?

Yes and no.

Yes, you need to “practice” running faster if improving your speed is one of your goals.

But, it’s not as simple as just running faster all of the time.

If you do that, you’re going to wind up injured. And taking time off to deal with an injury is not the formula for becoming a faster runner.

Do You Really Need to Get Faster?


However, there is a chance (probably a very good one) that you’ve got enough speed in you that you don’t actually need to work on running faster in order to improve your finish time in a race.

What you most likely need to improve is your ability to run faster for a longer period of time, aka improve your endurance.

Before you dismiss this idea, hear me out.

For me to BQ, I’d have to average a 7:15 pace for my next marathon.

That's Not Gonna Happen

But, I’m pretty sure I could go out tomorrow and run a 5k at 7:15 without any difficulty.

What does that mean? Simple: I need to improve my endurance at 7:15 pace, because the speed is there. I can run that pace for 3 miles, probably for 5, and if I push it slightly for a 10k as well.

But for 26.2 miles?


Train Smarter and Harder

I believe wholeheartedly that the best way to improve your overall race pace (no matter the distance) is to adopt the principals of 80/20 Running and adjust them to your current level of fitness.

In case you’re unfamiliar with 80/20, let me give you the basics: 80% of your training volume should be of the easy variety and 20% of it should be moderate/hard.

That means that in order to race faster, you probably need to slow down during the majority of your training. 

I’ll pause for a minute to allow that to sink in…


(I’m not going to get into all of the details here, but check out my chat with Matt Fitzgerald and/or get the book and check it out for yourself.)

However, when it’s time to go hard you need to fricking go. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

When you have a workout, it should leave you exhausted. But when you have an easy run, which should be most of the time, you need to be disciplined enough to keep it easy.

The “Pace” Series

This is Quick Tip #2 of a three-part series talking about running/racing pace.

If you missed last week, we talked about monitoring your pace during your runs, and next week we will be talking about controlling your pace at the start of a race/run. Stay tuned for that!

Want to become a faster #runner? Keep your easy runs easy and your hard runs HARD! #runchat #running Click To Tweet

Do You Have Any Speed Based Running Goals? Share Them in the Comments Below!

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