Runners come in all shapes and sizes, male and female, young and old. We can find dozens of differences, but I promise you, all runners have one thing in common - we all want to run faster.
And there’s probably a second thing we have in common – we want to keep running forever!
So how are we to accomplish these two things?
I’ve been running for thirty years. I started when I was 42, which tells you I know a thing or two about trying to run forever. And I’ve spent all of those thirty years trying to increase or maintain speed.
A run can help clear your head and let you tackle a problem you’ve been struggling with. A focused training run can leave you feeling stronger and more confident. A run during sunrise is the perfect way to start the day.
Whatever the reason you’re running, even if you’re not feeling your best, you’ll always finish being glad you stuck with it.
When you’re feeling the joy, you’re running relaxed. And speed comes from getting your head out of the way, relaxing and simply enjoying the “feel” of the run.
Clearly, the number 42 means you’ll run faster than when you’re looking at 72. I’ve been both and I’m telling you – it’s true. However, if you’re willing to keep pushing yourself hard, set challenging goals and train smart, speed does not have to drop as dramatically as you’d expect. My advice: Go into every race using last year’s time as your target. The goal is to beat it and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how often you’re able to make it happen.
I have a picture of Mirinda Carfrae (3x Ironman World Champion) burned into my mind. At a moment’s notice, I can visualize her perfect running form and, with that image in my mind, I stand a little taller, push my chest out and tilt forward, relax my shoulders, arms and hands and lift my knees a little higher. I want anyone watching me, to think….There goes a good runner.
Find your own picture of a runner that will evoke that kind of response in you, kicking you into better form and a faster run.
Speed doesn’t come when your feet are planted on the ground. Speed comes from moving through the air after pushing off the ground. So it makes sense that you’d want to spend as little time on the ground as possible. I like to think of the ground as being hot coals that I can avoid by getting my feet up quickly.
This helps maintain a quick turnover and a light step, which will contribute to both speed and less injury.
Running negative splits (running faster at the end than in the beginning) has several major benefits:
“Hills are Speedwork in Disguise” - Frank Shorter, ’72 Olympic Marathon gold medalist
Hills require physical strength to run well and mental strength to maintain the will to hold on to the top. If these hills happen to be trails, there are several other benefits:
I’m still working on speed and plan to run forever.
I hope to see you out there.
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I don’t do well in cold – water or air. And Santa Rosa was a real challenge in both areas. The good news about this weakness is that there’s a counterbalance. I handle heat and humidity better than many. But I digress – this weekend was not about heat and humidity.