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How to Increase Running Speed: 10 Effective Strategies

16 Mins read

Ready to unlock the secrets of becoming a faster runner? You’re in for a treat because this is the ultimate guide to boosting your running speed.

Whether you’re a newbie getting ready for your first 5K or a seasoned marathoner looking to shave precious seconds off your time, improving your speed should be right at the top of your priority list. Believe me, I’ve been there.

I used to think that running more and more miles was the key to becoming faster. So, I hit the pavement, pounding out mile after mile, expecting my speed to magically skyrocket. But let me tell you, frustration quickly set in when I realized I wasn’t getting any faster.

But here’s the exciting part. Once I discovered some game-changing strategies that I’m about to share with you, my running speed took off like a rocket. And it happened in a matter of weeks! It’s incredible how a simple shift in your training approach can make all the difference in the world.

So, get ready to lace up those running shoes and prepare for a training revolution.

Today, I’m going to spill the beans on some creative and effective training techniques that will help you unleash your inner speed demon without having to log endless miles.

Now, let me be clear. I’m not promising that you’ll suddenly morph into the Flash, leaving a trail of smoke behind you. But what I am promising is that these strategies, based on my own experience, will infuse your foot strike with an extra spring. And trust me, that’s a darn good thing.

Are you ready to leave your old pace in the dust and cross the finish line with lightning speed? Let’s do this!

Increase Running Speed Strategy 1- Strength Training

Let’s talk about the secret weapon that will take your running to the next level: strength training. When done right, pumping some iron can be a game-changer for faster, injury-free running.

Imagine your muscles as the mighty engines propelling you forward. The stronger they are, the more force they can generate and absorb, turning you into a running powerhouse. It’s like upgrading your running machine with turbocharged muscles!

But it’s not just about the legs. Oh no! Runners also need a strong upper body to maintain proper form and mechanics. Think of it as having a sturdy frame that keeps you balanced and in control as you conquer the miles.

Now, if you’re scratching your head wondering where to begin, don’t you worry. I’ve got your back! I’ve compiled a list of five must-read posts that will guide you through the exciting world of strength training for runners.

Now, let’s get to the juicy part. I’m going to share some of the best exercises that you should add to your training arsenal. Get ready to feel the burn!

  • Squats: These bad boys are the kings of leg workouts. They engage your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, turning your lower body into a powerhouse. Check out this video tutorial to nail your squat form.
  • Planks: Ah, the humble plank. It may look easy, but don’t be fooled. This exercise is a core-strengthening beast that will give you stability and help maintain that perfect running posture. Watch this video to master the art of planking.
  • Pistols: No, I’m not talking about shooting range skills here. I’m talking about a challenging single-leg squat that will light up your quads and improve your balance and stability. Check out this video to see how it’s done.
  • Russian twists: Say hello to killer obliques and a rock-solid core. This exercise targets those abdominal muscles that are crucial for maintaining proper running form. Get ready to twist and torch those calories! Watch this video to learn the Russian twist technique.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 2 – Interval Training

So, what’s the deal with interval training? Well, picture this: You’re on a rollercoaster ride, zooming up and down, experiencing exhilarating highs and brief moments of respite. That’s exactly what interval training is like for your running journey.

It’s all about alternating between bursts of high-intensity effort and recovery periods to build both speed and endurance.

But here’s the best part: Interval training is like a turbocharger for calorie burning. It’s a time-efficient powerhouse that torches those extra calories in less time. Talk about a win-win!

Now, let’s break it down. The magic happens with a 2:1 ratio. You sprint for 30 meters, feeling the wind in your hair and the fire in your muscles. Then, you ease into a 60-meter jog to catch your breath and prepare for the next exhilarating burst. Sprint 30, jog 60, repeat. You get the idea.

During those intense work intervals, give it your all. Channel your inner superhero and go at maximum speed. Feel your heart pounding, your lungs gasping for air. That’s the sweet spot. It’s called the anaerobic zone, where the real magic happens.

But hold on, we’re not done yet. After each heart-pounding sprint, it’s time for a little recovery. Slow your pace, let your heart rate come down, and allow your muscles to cool down. It’s like catching your breath before diving back into the action.

Now, here’s a pro tip for you: Before diving headfirst into interval training, make sure to warm up those amazing muscles of yours with a dynamic warm-up routine. Trust me, it’s essential to prevent injuries and get your body primed for the intense bursts of speed.

Okay, time to level up your interval game. Start with a classic 100-meter sprint at your maximum speed. Feel the rush as you unleash your inner cheetah. Then, gracefully transition into a 200-meter jog, catching your breath and preparing for the next round.

Start with six or eight repeats, allowing yourself a recovery period in between each one. As you gain strength and stamina, challenge yourself to push further. Add more reps to your training regimen, and watch your speed soar to new heights.

One important thing to remember: You’ll need a trusty stopwatch to keep track of time during your interval sessions. It’s your best buddy for monitoring those precious seconds and ensuring you stay on top of your game.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 3- Drill Training

If you’re looking to leave your old running time in the dust, these drills are your secret weapon. I’m talking about form, coordination, and a speed boost that will have you tapping into that top speed.

Let’s describe some of these speed drills and explore some of my personal favorites. These drills are like little turbocharges for your running performance, so buckle up!

First up, we have the Acceleration Strides. Imagine this: You start off with a slow jog, feeling the ground beneath your feet. Then, like a rocket launching into space, you gradually pick up speed until you’re sprinting like lightning. These strides are all about unleashing your inner speed demon and teaching your body to transition smoothly from slow to fast. Check out the link for a visual guide on how to master the art of acceleration.

Next on our list are the High Knees. Picture this drill as a chorus line of rocket-powered dancers. Lift those knees up high, as if you’re trying to touch the sky. Not only does this drill improve your running form, but it also strengthens your hip flexors and boosts your coordination. Get those knees pumping and watch your speed skyrocket!

But wait, there’s more. Ever thought about running backward? Yep, you heard me right. It’s time to put a new twist on your running routine with Backward Running. This drill might seem a bit unconventional, but trust me, it’s a game-changer. Not only does it challenge your coordination and balance, but it also strengthens muscles that are often neglected.

Now, remember, these drills are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a whole world of speed-enhancing exercises out there waiting for you to explore. Mix and match, get creative, and find the ones that work best for you. The key is to target form, coordination, and running cadence—those vital elements that will take your speed to new heights

Increase Running Speed Strategy 4 – Hill Training

Ready to kick your interval training up a notch and conquer new heights? Enter hill training.

When you tackle those inclines, you’re not just building leg strength, you’re forging a path to greatness. Picture this: with each stride up the hill, your quads, hamstrings, and calves are sculpting themselves into powerhouses of endurance. The result? You’ll be able to conquer those smooth, flat surfaces with newfound speed and ease.

So, what makes hill training so effective? It’s all about the perfect balance of intensity and impact. Unlike pounding on flat terrain, hill training delivers a punch of intensity while being gentler on your precious joints. It’s like finding that sweet spot where challenge meets safety, allowing you to push your limits without sacrificing your body’s well-being.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of your next hill workout. First, scout for a hill that’s just right—not too steep, not too flat—around 50 to 100 meters in length. It should be challenging enough to make you break a sweat, but not so steep that you start questioning your life choices.

Before you conquer the hill, warm up thoroughly on a flat surface. Get those muscles firing and your heart pumping. Once you’re all warmed up and ready to go, it’s time to charge up that hill. Give it everything you’ve got, sprinting up as fast as your legs can carry you. Feel the burn, embrace the challenge, and then jog back down, catching your breath as you prepare for the next round.

Repeat this ascent and descent several times, adjusting the number of repetitions based on your current fitness level and goals. If you’re just starting out, aim for around six rounds to get those hill-conquering muscles activated. Seasoned runners looking for an extra challenge can push it to a dozen or more.

But here’s the secret: pace yourself wisely. As you tackle each hill, find a rhythm that allows you to conquer the summit without gasping for air or collapsing from fatigue. It’s all about finding your sweet spot, that pace where you feel the burn but maintain control. Running up a hill is not just about raw power—it’s a delicate dance of strength and finesse.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 5 – Plyometric Training

Imagine running as the art of jumping from one foot to the other, propelling yourself forward with each powerful leap. It’s a beautiful dance between your body and the ground beneath you. But did you know there’s a secret training program that takes this concept and turns it into a supercharged powerhouse? Welcome to the world of plyometric training, my fellow runners. Get ready to take your performance to new heights!

Plyometrics, also known as explosive training, is the secret ingredient that can take your running game to the next level. It’s time to unleash the power within you and incorporate this exhilarating form of exercise into your routine. Trust me, the results will leave you in awe.

Research has shown that plyometric exercises are a game-changer when it comes to increasing endurance, agility, and speed. They have the potential to transform you into a lean, mean running machine. Imagine being able to go the distance with ease, effortlessly maneuvering through any obstacles in your path. The studies speak for themselves—explosive power movements can be a game-changer for runners like us.

The beauty of plyo training lies in its efficiency. You don’t need to dedicate hours upon hours to reap the benefits. A few targeted plyometric moves after an easy run or a quick 10 to 15-minute session of jump exercises during your regular strength workouts can work wonders. It’s all about finding what fits your schedule and preferences. The power is in your hands.

Now, let’s dive into the heart of plyometric training—the exercises that will unlock your hidden potential. These are the five plyometric exercises that I highly recommend for maximum impact:

  • Box Jumps: Feel the thrill as you explode off the ground and land gracefully on a sturdy jump box. It’s like conquering mountains with each leap, building explosive power and boosting your lower body strength. Check out this video tutorial for some serious box jump inspiration.
  • Hopping: Embrace your inner bunny and hop your way to greatness. This exercise targets your calves, quads, and overall explosive power. With each bound, you’ll be unleashing the force within you and refining your coordination. Discover the joy of hopping with this helpful video guide.
  • Squat Jumps: Prepare to defy gravity as you launch yourself skyward with a mighty squat jump. This move not only strengthens your legs but also engages your core, helping you maintain stability and control. Get ready to take flight with this tutorial on perfecting your squat jumps.
  • Plyo Push-ups: It’s time to level up your push-up game. Plyo push-ups add an explosive twist to the classic exercise, challenging your upper body and core while enhancing your power and speed. Prepare to push yourself to new heights with this tutorial on mastering plyo push-ups.

One important note: As you embark on your plyometric journey, ensure you have the right gear and equipment. Investing in a reliable and steady jump box is crucial for your safety and optimal performance. Take the time to find the perfect fit for your needs, and let the jumps begin!

Increase Running Speed Strategy 6 –  Running Cadence

Imagine yourself in the company of the fastest runners in the world, my fellow speed enthusiasts. They are like finely tuned machines, training relentlessly and possessing a physique that exudes power and strength. But there’s something else they all have in common—a secret weapon that sets them apart from the average, slow runner.

Stride turnover, also known as running cadence, is the holy grail for increasing speed and improving running technique. It refers to the number of steps you take in a minute. Picture it as the rhythm of your feet hitting the ground, propelling you forward with each swift and efficient stride. And guess what? Research has shown that the fastest and most efficient runners in the world maintain a cadence of approximately 180 steps per minute. That’s the magic number that can elevate your running game to new heights.

But how can you achieve this optimal cadence? The key lies in emulating the habits of the running elites. They keep their feet close to the ground, gracefully floating above the surface with short, light, and lightning-fast steps. It’s like a beautiful dance, a symphony of motion that allows them to maintain speed and efficiency effortlessly.

To determine your current cadence, embark on a little experiment. Run for one minute while focusing on your right foot. Count the number of times it strikes the ground and multiply it by two. Voilà, you have your current cadence measurement. Now, let’s work on cranking up that tempo.

To increase your stride turnover, it’s all about embracing the notion of fast, short, and light steps. Imagine yourself tiptoeing across hot coals, the ground beneath you sizzling with energy. Each step should be swift and purposeful, as if you’re playing a game of hot potato with your feet. Embrace the rhythm, feel the flow, and let your inner speed demon guide you.

As you embark on this journey of improving your stride turnover, keep in mind that it’s not just about numbers and metrics. It’s about finding your own rhythm, your own sweet spot where your body feels in sync and your strides become effortless. Play with different tempos, experiment with your cadence, and find what works best for you.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 7 – Jump Rope

I’ve got some exciting news for you. When it comes to improving your running speed, not all steps involve running. Yes, you heard it right. Your cross-training program, those non-running workouts you’ve been neglecting, can make a significant impact too. And one of the best options you got as a runner is the mighty jump rope.

Jumping rope isn’t just child’s play—it’s a challenging and effective way to boost your running speed while giving your main running muscles a serious workout. Picture yourself gracefully leaping over the twirling rope, feeling the burn as it targets your quads, glutes, and calves—those powerhouses that propel you forward with each stride. But that’s not all.

As you jump, your chest, back, triceps, and shoulders also come into play, assisting in the continuous rotation of the rope. It’s like a synchronized dance between your upper and lower body, working in harmony to unleash your running potential.

But here’s the best part: Jumping rope offers all these benefits without wreaking havoc on your precious joints. That means you can strengthen those running muscles and increase your speed without the pounding impact that comes with running alone. It’s like giving your body a much-needed break while still reaping the rewards of an intense workout.

And the benefits don’t stop there. Jumping rope is a true multitasker. Not only does it improve your overall endurance and breathing technique, but it also hones your focus and coordination. It’s a symphony of mind and body working together, sharpening your skills both on and off the track.

To truly unlock the potential of this classic workout, it’s time to up the ante. Increase the duration and intensity of your jump rope sessions, gradually building up to a heart-pumping 20 to 30 minutes. Challenge yourself to explore new footwork patterns—alternate those feet, try jumping on one foot, or even take it up a notch by bouncing on your heels. Let your creativity flow and make it a fun and exhilarating experience.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 7 – Get The Right Form

Want to unlock the secret to running faster? Well, here’s a valuable key that applies to runners of any pace or speed: running more efficiently. When you run with efficiency, you’ll be amazed at how effortlessly you cover more ground and maintain your energy levels, all while leaving fatigue in the dust. So, how can you achieve this running nirvana? The answer lies in mastering proper running form.

Let’s dive into some fascinating research that supports the significance of running with the right technique. Numerous studies have highlighted the impact of proper form on running performance.

One study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that runners who focused on running tall and maintaining a relaxed upper body experienced reduced energy expenditure and improved running economy. This means they were able to maintain their pace while using less energy—an invaluable advantage in any race or training session.

To incorporate this knowledge into your running, here are a few powerful cues to keep in mind:

  • Stand tall: Imagine a string pulling you up, making you six inches taller as you pick up the pace. By maintaining an upright and relaxed upper body, you’ll optimize your stride and reduce unnecessary tension.
  • Find your sweet spot: Aim to land your feet directly beneath your center of gravity. When your foot strikes the ground, ensure the middle of your foot aligns with your hip. This alignment minimizes the risk of overstriding and promotes a more efficient transfer of force.
  • Relax those shoulders: Let your shoulders loosen up and allow your arms to swing naturally back and forth, forming low 90-degree angles. This relaxed arm movement not only aids in balance but also conserves energy that would otherwise be wasted on unnecessary tension.
  • Gentle grip: Imagine holding a delicate butterfly in your palms. Keep your hands lightly clenched, avoiding excess tension. This subtle adjustment helps you maintain a relaxed upper body and prevents energy from seeping away.
  • Look ahead: Maintain an upright posture with a straight back and head held high. Picture your chin parallel to the ground, allowing you to breathe freely and ensuring optimal oxygen intake for your muscles.
  • Focus on forward motion: Minimize side-to-side movement and focus all your energy on propelling yourself forward. This laser-like focus on forward momentum eliminates any wasteful effort and maximizes your speed.

For those eager to take their running form to the next level, consider exploring the Pose Method. It’s an approach that emphasizes proper body alignment and efficient movement.

A recommended resource for delving into the Pose Method is “The Running Revolution” by Nicholas Romanov—a comprehensive book that serves as an invaluable guide on this subject.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 9 – Lose Weight

Here’s some exciting news for all you runners out there: shedding those extra pounds of fat (not muscle) can actually have a significant impact on your running performance. According to research published by the esteemed American College of Sports Medicine, for every pound lost, you can expect to shave off approximately two seconds from your mile time. So, imagine the possibilities if you were to drop a substantial amount of weight.

Let’s put this into perspective with an example. Say you manage to lose 15 pounds. That’s no easy feat, but it’s worth it! This weight loss could potentially translate into a remarkable improvement of 80 to 90 seconds off your 5K race time. Just think about that for a moment—nearly a minute and a half of precious time savings.

Now, you might be wondering why losing weight has such a profound impact on your running performance. Well, let me break it down for you. The more weight you carry, the more effort and energy you need to exert to cover the same distance from point A to point B. It’s like trying to sprint with a 25-pound backpack strapped to your back. Go ahead, give it a try. You’ll quickly realize just how challenging it becomes to maintain any semblance of speed or endurance.

When you shed those extra pounds, it’s as if you’re unburdening yourself from that heavy backpack. Suddenly, running becomes easier, more fluid, and dare I say, more enjoyable. You’ll have more power at your disposal, ready to be harnessed for greater speed and improved performance.

But remember, we’re talking about losing fat, not muscle. It’s essential to maintain a balanced approach that includes a healthy diet, proper nutrition, and strength training exercises to preserve your valuable muscle mass while shedding unwanted fat.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 10 – Be Consistent

Let me tell you a little secret: achieving a boost in running speed is all about practice and consistency. There’s no magic potion or instant shortcut to becoming faster. It’s a journey that requires dedication, perseverance, and a whole lot of pounding the pavement.

Picture this: you lace up your running shoes and head out for a run, and then you do it again the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. You keep going, week after week, month after month. It’s through this relentless commitment that you accumulate the endurance, stamina, and strength needed to propel yourself to new levels of speed and performance.

In the real world, there are no silver bullets—no quick fixes that magically transform you into a speed demon overnight. It’s a gradual process that requires patience and a willingness to put in the work. But here’s the thing: if you keep pushing forward, if you stay consistent and persevere, you’ll eventually reach your goals—provided they’re realistic and aligned with your capabilities, of course.

As a general rule of thumb, aim for three to four running sessions per week. This frequency allows for ample training stimulus without overloading your body. But remember, it’s not just about running more—it’s about running smarter. As you start incorporating additional runs into your weekly plan, do so gradually. Focus on building your endurance first, as speed naturally follows when your body becomes accustomed to the demands of consistent running.

Now, let’s talk about the cornerstone of your weekly running plan—the long run. This is the session where you push yourself to cover more miles than any other run that week. It’s a chance to challenge your limits, both physically and mentally. By gradually increasing the distance of your long run, you’re not only building endurance but also training your body to sustain a faster pace for longer periods.

To give you a glimpse of a typical weekly running plan designed to increase speed, here’s a breakdown:


Interval Run –  8 X 4oom at 80 to 90 percent of maximum speed.


 Upper Body Strength Workout


30-Minute Uphill Workout


Lower Body Strength Routine


4 X 800m at 90 percent of maximum speed


Long Run


Rest Day or Cross-train

Increase Running Speed – The Conclusion

By doing interval workouts, increasing cadence, working on technique, losing weight, running hills, and incorporating consistency, you’ll be able to take your running speed to an entirely new level.

Now the ball is in your court. Do you have any other tips to share? If so, then feel free to do so in the comments section below.

I hope my guidelines for increasing running speed will help you become faster than you ever thought possible.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep running strong.

David D.

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