“How do I become a faster runner?”
At some point, this question will cross the mind of every runner. We lace up our shoes, put in the miles, and hope to run longer and faster then we did the day before. But then, at some point, we run into issues. Whether the problems arise from fatigue, soreness, or a plateau, struggles in running are as common as the running shoes we where. But here’s the good news, the struggles you face during training are exactly what you need to grow into a better runner.
What do I mean?
Well, when you struggle you are pushing against some sort of resistance. Whether it’s from longer mileage, faster miles, or higher hills, you must always face resistance in your running. Even if it’s as simple as stopping yourself from hitting the snooze button when it’s time to wake up and train. Whatever the resistance, know that we expand by demand. Resistance is GIFT to help you become a faster, stronger, and a more enduring runner!
It’s not in how many miles you run, it’s in how uncomfortable you are willing to get. The SECRET to speed and strength is in our struggles.
But to gain speed and strength, you must perform exercises designed to do so. For example, you can run all day, but if you do not work in speed training, then you will not become a faster runner.
So what exercises will help you become a faster runner?
I’m happy you asked! Read on and learn a set of strength exercises that will improve your running speed. By applying the following exercises, you feel light on your feet and run faster than ever before!
So are you ready? I sure am! Let’s dive in. Let’s discuss 5 essential strength exercise that’ll make you run faster.
[su_box title=”1. Bench Jumps” style=”bubbles” box_color=”#f5417d” title_color=”#222″ radius=”10″ class=””]
A bench jump is a powerful exercise. It helps you develop power and speed by enabling leg and core muscles to engage quicker when you run. While performing a bench jump, be sure to pay attention to your form.
To start, find a platform. You can use a strong box, bench at the park, or a bench at the gym. Start off by facing the platform. Next, squat down and bring your arms back. From the squat position jump onto the box with both feet and swing your arms forward. Swinging your arms forward will help tap into the power of momentum. Finally, land on top of the bench with your knees bent then hop back down. Up and down is 1 rep. Perform 6-10 times per set for 3 sets total.
Click here for an instructional video on how to properly perform a bench jump.
[su_box title=”2. Balance Plank” style=”bubbles” box_color=”#f5417d” title_color=”#222″ radius=”10″ class=””]
Core exercises are essential to becoming a faster runner. Not only will you naturally become faster, but you will improve your form when you tire as well. As fatigue sets in on race day, good form is essential because your pace tends to decrease later in the race. So with a strong core, you’re able to hold proper form longer allowing you to maintain a fast pace all the way to the finish.
One of the best core exercises for increasing speed is the balance plank. To perform the exercise start by lying on your stomach and prop yourself up with your forearms and toes. Make sure to engage your core, butt, and back. Remember, it’s not about how you look, it’s about how you feel. So feel the engagement! Hold this pose for 30 seconds. A 30-second hold is 1 set, perform 3 sets total.
This exercise alone is very beneficial to your speed. But if you’re up for the extra effort, add a little more resistance. To do so, when in the plank position, lift your left leg and your right arm simultaneously. Hold for 3 seconds then switch. Raising your left and right leg is 1 rep. Perform 6-10 times per set for 3 sets total.
Click here for an instructional video on how to properly perform a balance plank.
[su_box title=”3. Single-Leg Glute Bridge” style=”bubbles” box_color=”#f5417d” title_color=”#222″ radius=”10″ class=””]
Another beneficial core exercise for speed is the single-leg glute bridge. To perform this exercise lie on your back. From a lying position bend your legs and place your feet flat on the ground. Next, lift your hips up. The key is to make sure there is a straight line between your knees and your shoulders. Next, from the up position extend your right leg straight out and hold for 3 seconds, then lower it back down to the ground. Repeat the same movement for the left leg. Extending your left and right leg is 1 rep. Perform 6-10 times per set for 3 sets total.
Click here for an instructional video on how to properly perform a single-leg glute bridge.
[su_box title=”4. Rotating Lunge” style=”bubbles” box_color=”#f5417d” title_color=”#222″ radius=”10″ class=””]
It’s all in the hips! The motion from a rotating lunge will strengthen your hips. Stronger hips provide you with better balance and will help you stabilize during acceleration.
To perform a rotating lunge, place a bench 3 feet behind you. To start, put the top of one foot onto the bench. Next, lower down into a lunge motion and rotate your torso 45 degrees. Rotate once to the right, go back to center, and then rotate once to the left. A left and right lunge is 1 rep. Perform 6-10 times per set for 3 sets total.
Click here for an instructional video on how to properly perform a rotating lunge.
[su_box title=”5. Pull Ups!” style=”bubbles” box_color=”#f5417d” title_color=”#222″ radius=”10″ class=””]
Yes, working out your upper body will contribute to becoming a faster runner also. Your arms and trunk provide a power transfer to your legs and core. Body weight exercises, like pull-ups, allow you to strengthen your upper body without gaining extra mass which slows you down. Your body becomes stronger while remaining light. This is a win-win for any runner.
When performing the exercise, focus on the movement because it’s essential to perform pull-ups with good form. So first, using a pull-up bar, grab the bar and place your palms away from you. It’s important to engage the core, meaning, tighten your abs, and try not to arch the back overly. Next, pull up, but as you raise yourself, focus on putting your shoulder blades down and together. Once your chin is over the bar, you have completed 1 rep. Perform 1-10 times per set for 3 sets total.
Note: It takes time for your body to develop muscles to perform multiple pull-ups. Do not become discouraged if you can only do a couple. Our bodies stress, adapt and grow so overtime your pull-up muscles will develop. Soon 10 pull-ups will be a sinch, not a struggle.
Click here for an instructional video on how to properly perform a pull-up.
The secret to running faster is to perform exercises that will help you run faster. So if you stay consistent, and add them to your workouts, you will see results. Your speed muscles will break down and grow back stronger with each new exercise. Eventually you will run faster.
The repetitions and sets listed for each exercise are only where it starts. To grow, you must understand that adaptation and progression is everything.They are imperative to your growth. They are how someone can go from walking a hill to climbing a mountain. Or how I’ve gone from running a mile on a treadmill to 100-mile ultramarathons. Or how you will go from where you are now to the fast runner you wish to be. For example, if you build up to a 30-second plank then increase the time and hold the pose longer the next time.
Remember, we expand by demand, and weight is relative to what you can handle. Your struggle through 10 box jumps today may become equivalent to 20 box jumps next month. Just like your struggle holding an 8-minute mile pace today will be similar to your 7-minute mile pace next month.
The more resistance you apply to your speed muscles the more they break down and grow. And through constant progression, you will become the faster and stronger runner you seek to become. Through the 5 exercises listed, speed training, and running long distance, you will toe your next starting line with a faster pair of legs. You will reach the start as a different runner, a stronger runner, and YES, a faster runner, ready to set a PR!