- Exercise & Fitness
Learn How To Run Faster
Everyone would like to learn how to run faster! Whether it be for athletics, fitness, fun, or just pride, we all would like to be faster than we are. For most of us, pick-up basketball games are much more fun if you are faster than your opponents, as are flag football and tennis. In the unlikely occurrence of being chased, it would be nice to be able to outrun your pursuer. For serious athletes, an increase in speed can lead to the opportunity for college or professional sports and mean millions of dollars. For police or military, increased running speed may save their life. While most of us will never be Olympic-quality sprinters, just about everyone can become faster than they are! It takes a certain amount of work, and genetics will prevent most of us from catching up to Usain Bolt or Michael Johnson, but whether a ardent athlete or an obese couch potato, you can get faster than you are now.
Genetics do play a major factor in speed potential. Most people have primarily fast-twitch muscle fibers or slow-twitch muscle fibers. Very basically, fast-twitch muscle fibers make for explosive actions. People with primarily fast-twitch muscle fibers are better at explosive, all-out actions such as sprinting, jumping, and throwing. A predominance of slow-twitch muscle fibers lead to good sustained effort, such as distance running, but do not allow the amount of explosion. If you are mostly fast-twitch, you will have a much easier time getting faster, but you will still have to work. If you are slow-twitch, don’t give up! You can still get a lot faster than you are, but it will take a lot of work to get closer to your top speed.
If you are not in good condition, the first step is to start a light running program until you get into better shape. Run regularly as far as you can at a moderate pace. You don’t need or want to sprint right now, but just get in better shape. This by itself will increase your speed a little.
If you are in good condition, start sprinting! If you have the conditioning and mobility needed to do sprints hard, they will help more than anything else. Short to medium distance sprinting will help the most. Put most of your effort into 20-100 yard sprints at just under top speed. Distance running will not do anything for your running speed, because you are working on exploding into a start. If you have a hill nearby, start sprinting up hills. Try to sprint on grass or a track if possible and stay off the concrete. Work on sprint starts if you can, especially if you have a coach that can help you. A good coach can also help with running form. Be careful - if you are injuring yourself sprinting, get some help before continuing.
The other important item that must be done in conjunction with sprinting is weight lifting. We are not talking about the bodybuilding type of lifting, but lifting that will strengthen the legs, hips, and mid-section. Work hard on squats! Do both front squats and back squats - overhead squats are great as well, if you can do them. Romanian deadlifts are an excellent corollary to squats and will improve hamstring and hip strength, both of which are essential for running speed. If you know how or have someone who can teach you, do a lot of cleans and snatches. They are excellent for developing both strength and power, which will help increase speed. Work the abs and lower back as well.
If you work hard on these things, you will get faster! It take some hard work and effort, but the results will come. It will be worth it when you need an extra burst of speed and you have it and more!