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Fitness planner: How to run faster, and top your personal best – Moneycontrol.com

Posted: August 2, 2021 at 1:50 am


To do hill repeats, quickly run 400-800 meters up a mildly challenging hill. Jog down. Repeat four to six times.

The need for speed is very real in the world of distance running. While its a professional hazard for the elite athletes, recreational runners usually want to get faster in search of a personal best or as a sign of improvement once they have achieved the distance goals they set for themselves.

There are plenty of workouts that can help you get faster and the good news is that you dont have to do them all. And, the bad news is no one speed workout is going to help you log any significant improvement, so you will need a combination of workouts. If you have a coach, they would take care of the planning but if you dont have one, try out various combinations till you figure out which works best for you.

You will begin to notice initial results as early as four to six weeks once you include speed work in your training plan. But, like with everything involved in long distance running, the process takes time and you will need to be patient for four to six months to notice sustained and significant improvement.

Hill training

Training in the high altitudes and hills improves strength and endurance. The long runs at a higher altitude help build your endurance while the hill training runs help build strength, says Amrish Kumar, coach to several of Indias Olympics runners.

Hill repeats are a very challenging yet rewarding workout for runners looking to get faster as it helps build strength, which is key to gaining speed. In hill repeats, you choose a mildly challenging slope with anything between 400m to 800m of uphill run. Run up at your best pace and then jog back. Repeat this workout four to six times. In case you are in a city, you could do the exact same workout by choosing a safe and convenient flyover before the traffic builds up (remember to take safety measures likewearing reflective clothing or putting reflectivetape on your clothes).

Tempo runs

One way to become fast is to train fast, says Tanvir Kazmi, founder of the 100 Days of Running challenge. It might sound simple, but it works. Running at a faster tempo on certain days works, he says.

Tempo runs require you to cover middle to long distances or run for a pre-decided time period, whilegradually increasingyour pace tillyou feel your lungsarebursting and then sustainingthat pace over time.

A typical 40-minute tempo run begins with 10-15 minutes of easy running, accelerating to somewhere about 5km race pace for 10-20 minutes with a peak near the middle, then slowing down slightly for the last 5-10 minutes of your run, suggests Kazmi. Going by distance, a 8km tempo run would have you run the first 2km to 2.5km at an easy pace gradually hitting your 5km race pace and sustaining till the 6km mark and then slowing down slightly for the last 2km of the run.

Interval training

By alternating between easy and high intensity, interval training works both the aerobic and anaerobic energy systems of the runners body, Susheel Chand, running coach at Life of Tri, a triathlon coaching start-up in Bengaluru.

The most common examples of interval training are Fartlek and Yasso Loops.

In Fartlek, you run fast for a minute and then run slow for a minute. If you are starting out, attempt 10 Fartlek intervals, so 20 minutes in all and then increase the intervals to 15 and 20 over time.

Yasso loops involve running 800m at a fast pace followed by 400m run at a recovery pace. A typical workout session for beginners would involve doing four Yasso loops.

As you get used to interval training, the pace of both the fast and recovery runs ought to go up for both Fartlek and Yasso loops.

Have a go at LSD

It sounds contrarian, but to get faster you need to start running slow but for longer distances. The Long Slow Drag or LSD requires you to run longer distances, at times longer than your race, but at a pace slower than your race pace. This is the one workout you cannot skip as a distance runner who wants to improve. Chand suggests increasing the weekly mileage gradually and consistently; this builds your foundation for distance running and slow runs should make up 70-80% of your total run volume.

The long runs help build your endurance base and improve VO2Max, which is the bodys capability of absorbing oxygen during exercise, says Kumar. The higher the VO2Max, the better would be ones performance. A strong endurance base and high VO2Max helps improve speed.

Mile/Kilometre repeats

The mile/kilometre repeat requires you to run as fast as you can over a mile or a kilometer. Immediately after that you slow down to a recovery run for a pre-planned period of time anything from 90 seconds to four minutes, depending on your conditioningand then head out for another kilometre or mile as fast as you can. If you haven't done these repeats before, start with 2 x 1km repeats with a 2-minute recovery period in between and gradually move up to six repeats as you progress in your training.

Prep the body for speed

Thebody needs a bit of preparation to handle the additional stress of running at faster speeds. You need to strengthen your musculoskeletal system so that it can generate more force and withstand higher loading at every step, says Chand.

Doing specific strength and conditioning and plyometric workouts helps prepare your body for the extra workload, he adds.

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Fitness planner: How to run faster, and top your personal best - Moneycontrol.com

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