Here's How To Actually Become A Faster Runner

Tips and workouts that’ll turn you into a speed(ier) demon.

For lots of newish runners, the step right after “start running regularly” is “try running faster.” And it's actually not as complicated as you might think.

To explain how everyday runners can do this safely and effectively, BuzzFeed Health reached out to Toni Carey, RRCA-certified running coach and co-founder of Black Girls RUN!, and Jason Fitzgerald, USATF-certified running coach, 2:39 marathoner, and founder of Strength Running. Here are their tips:

Get ready for your weekly running schedule to get a bit more structured.

Get ready for your weekly running schedule to get a bit more structured.

As long as you run regularly and are injury-free, you're ready to start getting faster, says Fitzgerald. The first step will be to get a bit more strategic about your training schedule. For example, you'll start doing some targeted workouts and thinking more about intensity and recovery than simply piling on the miles.

Plan to run four to five times per week, says Fitzgerald. All of these runs should be done at an easy pace — like a 5 on a scale of 1-10. (Eventually you’ll make one of these runs a longer one and another one a speed workout — but more on that later.)

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Find a 5K to train for.

Find a 5K to train for.

“When you’re training for speed it always helps to have a goal in mind,” says Carey. It'll give you a timeline to work with and a distance around which you’ll shape your workouts. And because 3.1 miles is so accessible to new runners and racers, there's always a ton to choose from, says Fitzgerald.

If you absolutely don’t want to enter a 5K race, consider choosing another pace goal and target date (again, the 5K distance is considered a great introduction to pace training).

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Do one long run every week.

Do one long run every week.

Running longer builds your aerobic capacity, makes your cardiovascular system more efficient, and give your legs longer staying power, says Fitzgerald. And all of these are crucial for running faster. So, if you don’t already run a little longer one day of the week, now is the time to start.

Your longer run will be one of those three-to-five weekly runs that you do at an easy pace. To figure out what distance to start with, take an average run from your last few weeks of training and add 5-10 minutes to it. Depending on how your body is feeling, every couple of weeks you can add another 5-10 minutes.

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