Wether you are running a 10km, a 1/2 marathon, a marathon or an ultra marathon runners want to
know how they can run faster for longer. There is no simple answer, there is not one miracle type
of training, supplement or food. It comes down to hard work and doing a number of things well. I
will briefly outline some training principals that if you apply to your own training then it will help you
run faster for longer. As I said above to improve you will require applying more than one of these
principals and hard work.
1. Learn to Run
Running is a skill! Everyone can kick a football but some people can kick a football better than
others. Well, running is the same. Everyone can run but some people are more efficient at running
than others. Working on your running biomechanics to make you a more efficient runner will help
you run faster for longer. For some basic info on how to run more efficiently check out these videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVxY8Wh8I90 or https://www.youtube.com/watch?
(note you don't need to be barefoot or in vibram fivefingers to run more efficiently)
2. Build on Your Base Milage and Be Specific
The key to getting your legs used to running your desired distance is simply by putting in the miles.
Building the milage up week by week. As a guide you should not increase your weekly / monthly
milage by more than 10% per week. Be sure to keep your runs specific to the event you're taking
part in. If it’s a flat run, train on the flat but if it’s a hilly run, train in the hills. Also try and
avoid running on pavements as much as possible to reduce the risk of injuries. “
Pavement damages joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The more you can run on grass,
woodchips, or dirt, the better off you are. My athletes run 90 percent of their workouts on soft
surfaces.” Alberto Salaza
3. Speed Workout
Many people make the mistake of running too fast on their steady, long and recovery runs and then
running too slow on their speed sessions because their legs are fatigued. Your steady and longer
runs should be run at a pace where you can hold a conversation and where your heart is working
at no more than average of 75% of your maxHeart Rate (HR). Depending on what your race is will
depend on what speed session you will do but no matter what distance, your speed sessions are a
vital ingredient for running faster for longer.
Hill Sprints / Short Intervals (100m, 400m, 800m,)
These will increase your VO2 max and running speed as well as build power in your legs. Sample
hills sessions could look like; sprinting up a hill at 90-100% of max HR for 1-2 minutes followed by
a recovery walk or jog back down the hill.
Tempo / Fartlek Sessions
These are again best run over similar terrain to what you will be racing on. For this you'll be looking
to run close to your race pace for a 10k but run for 45mins to an hour, helping push your lactic
threshold. Tempo running is part of the staple training plan of many elite Kenyan distance runners.
4. Core, Strength & Conditioning
It important to incorporate this into your training to reduce the risk of injury and also to help
maintain your running form when you are fatigued therefore maintaining efficiency so finding
yourself running faster for longer. I recommend active yoga, pilates sessions for core, also don't
forget back is included in core. Body and free weight exercises are good for developing legs and
upper body strength and muscular endurance.
You can't out train a bad diet. This expression is particularly relevant in a society where a growing
number of people think an hour or so of running should be rewarded with a takeaway!. Learning
from the Elite Kenyan runners, you should be looking to fuel your training and body. Kenyan
runners base their diets on complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and vegetables, fresh
fruit, lean protein and natural fats. As guide to filling up your trolley at the supermarket is to think
about what would typically grow in your garden and also sticking to the fresh food isles and
cooking your meals from scratch and avoiding ready meals and processed food.
If you are all ready doing all of this in your training then you just have to improve on each principal
and work harder if you want to be able to run Faster for Longer