How to Run Faster and Longer

Harder, better, faster, stronger is more than just a Daft Punk song. It’s what so many people want to achieve with their own conditioning, fitness, and strength. This might explain why the term “how to run faster” is searched for approximately 33,000 times on Google per month (with nearly three billion search results).

People are always looking for that extra edge, and running faster is an edge in almost any sport you can name.

Tips on How to Run Faster and Longer

What most people will find, though, is that there is no magic pill or secret formula to running faster. Anyone wondering how to run faster and longer won’t be surprised at the answer: hard work sustained over time. More specifically, athletes need to sustain hard work in a few key areas:

Focus on Technique

One of the things that sprinters work on over and over again is their start off the line. Long distance runners will focus heavily on form, too. Why? Because technique—efficiency of motion, essentially—can shave seconds off our times, allowing us to be as fast we possibly can be. If you want to run faster and longer, it’s important to not only get out there and practice, but to practice the right way. This starts with proper running technique.

Add Elevation and Altitude

Improving output and conditioning means introducing new challenges to your workouts. Working hill or altitude training can teach your body to do more with less oxygen—to perform under increased gravitational strain. Head to your local hiking trails, or choose the mountains for your next trips so you can get some alpine runs in. This will improve both your respiratory strength, lending to better short-term and long-term endurance.

Improve Your Core Strength

Your core is the epicenter of all movements. Gains in speed and endurance will not come without a solid core. Make sure you dedicate time to both static (planks and wall sits, for example) and dynamic (medicine ball workouts, for example) abdominal workouts. This will help you not only run faster and longer, but to perform better overall.

Recruit Your Fast-twitch Muscles

Fast-twitch muscles are the muscles you use for short bursts of high intensity movement, such as sprints, jumps, and even throwing a punch. Developing your fast-twitch muscles will train your body to recruit more of these muscles and improve your running, especially in the speed and quickness department. Sprints, lateral motion drills, and agility exercises, along with plyometric circuit work can make for a very effective fast-twitch exercise program.

Tools that Help Runners Push the Limits

There are a number of tools that can help runners push the limits. For starters, many high-performance athletes will use a heart rate monitor. By understanding their different heart rate zones, they can keep their bodies in hard and maximum zones to tap into their anaerobic system.

Other athletes will employ special training masks that simulate running at altitude. Athletes can wear these masks during their normal workouts to improve respiratory strength, another key aspect of one’s speed and conditioning (see hill and altitude training above).

Finally, treadmills allow runners to control speed and elevation for optimized workouts. Special treadmills, such as the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill™ line of produces, enable athletes to train beyond their maximum capacity—“overspeed training,” as it is commonly known. Using unweighting technology to reduce injury risk, an athlete can train approximately 8% to 13% faster than his or her maximum speed.

Read more about using the Anti-Gravity Treadmill to improve running.

Training Teenage Athletes with AlterG

For so many collegiate and professional athletes, learning and development begins during the teenage years. Start ‘em young, as the saying goes. And for good reason: training teenage athletes provides an opportunity to not only get them moving, but to help them learn the correct movements. This can put them ahead of the game (literally) as they become more competitive in college and beyond.

Training is Learning

Yet, training teenage athletes is about more than just learning how to play a sport competitively. It’s about learning the fundamental forms that athletes will use over and over again throughout the rest of their lives, no matter which sport they decide to play.

From bodyweight exercises, like push-ups, free squats, and lunges, to the fundamentals of walking, running, and lateral motion, establishing the correct fundamentals can help athletes perform at a higher level. More importantly, it can help athletes avoid injury that might result from bad technique. Here’s a few common approaches:

  • Repetition and drills
  • Half- to three-quarter-speed simulations
  • Recording and reviewing video with a coach or trainer

Gait Analysis and Training with AlterG

More often than not, teenage athletes tend to be unfamiliar with moving under the strain of added weight and resistance. When faced with these situations, they will often forget fundamentals, hence the tendency to develop bad habits. They might know how to sprint at 100% effort, for example, but they don’t necessarily know how to control their bodies while sprinting at 100% effort. Add in the pressure of official competition, and the challenge becomes even greater.

Learning proper movement and correcting anomalies is one of the common use cases of the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill™. Many physical therapy clinics throughout the United States, as well as collegiate and professional sports teams, leverage our treadmills to train teenage athletes in a controlled environment that helps limit injury risk.

More specifically, Stride Smart Gait Assessment Technology can be used by certified physical therapists to not only help monitor and identify gait abnormalities, but to show the athlete incorrect movements in real-time. What a difference it makes for an athlete to actually see the improvements they need make. It makes self-correcting that much easier. And it can help avoid the development of bad habits.