Running at faster paces is hard without structured training and proper periodization. Therefore, it is essential to build an aerobic base, whether through cross-training and running combined, or running at an easy effort for 4x/week for four weeks for starters.
Depending on what you’re training for will determine how much you could be running on those four days. For simplicity’s sake, let’s lay out a foundation for running 3 miles, 4x/week for four weeks for a runner looking to run further and faster injury-free with no specific goal race.
Once you have your baseline aerobic fitness, you can then begin to layer in workouts and techniques to work on running faster and not focus on pointless methods that won’t help you attain your specific running goals.
Let’s break it down!
SPEED = STRIDE LENGTH X STRIDE RATE
- Stride Length: the distance taken between each step on the same foot
- Stride rate: the number of actions taken per minute. Stride rate’s two main factors: 1) ground contact time and 2) swing time; two phases of the running gait cycle
Faster Running focuses on three things:
- The number of times you contact the ground
- The amount of muscular force you can produce during push off
- The amount of ground contact time that’s available to deliver that muscular force
Stride length and stride rate are effects of the above components.
The ability to generate and transmit muscular force to the ground is the main factor for faster running.
To run faster, we need to elevate our body above the ground and fight gravity pulling us down while we do so. Having the ability to do this enables us to take longer, quicker strides.
Proof Behind The Method
Leena Paavolainen published a study in 1999 titled “explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power.” Ten individuals were in the experimental group, and eight were in the controlled group. All participants were highly trained and experienced in running distances of 5K or better. No 5K times between the two groups were statistically different before this experiment.
The experimental group reduced their running workout time by 32% and replaced it with an explosive-strength training routine. After nine weeks of training, the control group showed no improvement in their 5k time, while the experimental group showed—statically significant time reduction. The ground contact time decreased in the experimental group and increased in the control group. The experimental group improved their 5K times without increasing VO2 max or lactate threshold. The control group increased VO2 max but didn’t improve their 5K times. Conclusion: combining explosive strength training and endurance training improved 5k running times. The results were from the strength training’s ability to improve muscle power and running economy.
The strength training for runners’ routine plus slower, easy effort running in any distance over .25 miles should be the basis of movement to run faster.
Applying The Strength Training Method for Faster Running
Strength Training w/ running specific movements 2-3x/week on the same days as your track/more challenging workouts can improve your paces during your longer runs.
Strength training techniques for runners to help you run faster and run farther will improve your running performance, allow you to run injury-free during your races, and finish your next 5k and marathon, crossing the finish line strong and happy!
Including one heavy compound lift with low repetitions to begin and lots of rest between each rep is an excellent way to elicit the strength gains needed when you hit the road or the track for a more challenging workout. These sessions should be 4-6 hours apart from running specific activities and done after them.
An example of what this structure around your running could look like in your 4-week training block:
Monday: AM- Run, PM- Strength
Tuesday: Rest Day
Wednesday: AM- Run, PM- Strength
Thursday: Rest Day:
Friday: AM- Run, PM- Strength
Saturday: Rest Day
Sunday: AM- Run, PM- Strength
*Be sure to leave 4-6 hours between each session
Benefits of The Strength Training Method
- Minimizing the amount of time you need to spend running while building you up instead of breaking your body down, giving you the strength gains you need to run faster during your runs
- Helping you see breakthroughs in your race times and running distances
- Allowing you to feel strong and confident during your longer runs
- Making track workouts less intimidating
- Giving you the energy back that the high value of running brings
There are many ways to improve your paces while running. The proven methods described in this blog post are what I applied to my marathon training before running a 19-minute PR on October 21 in 03:02:48.
I’m not saying what others do works for you, but if you don’t include variety in your training and tailor these concepts to meet you where you are in your training, you’ll never know!
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