Many runners dream of getting faster, whether it's to hit a new personal best in a race or simply to feel more accomplished and confident on their daily runs. Speed training, unlike building endurance, isn't just about adding more miles to your routine; it requires a smart, targeted approach. While increasing endurance often involves gradually extending the length of your runs, enhancing your speed calls for a combination of specific exercises, interval training, and fine-tuning your running form.

Achieving greater speed means pushing your physical limits and stepping out of your comfort zone. This involves not just the legs but the entire body, as well as a disciplined mindset. Incorporating various training techniques can help improve muscle strength, cardiovascular efficiency, and overall running mechanics. Whether you’re aiming to get faster for your sport, or just looking to outrun your previous times, the right strategies can make a significant difference.


How to run faster

If you want to run faster, incorporating speed elements into your routine is essential. This can be achieved through high-intensity runs and strength-building exercises that promote explosive power. Developing disciplined habits both during and outside of your workouts will further contribute to your speed improvement. Today, we’ll explore various methods to help you achieve this goal.

We’ve put together a comprehensive plan featuring several key strategies to boost your running speed. These include targeted workouts, practical tips, and a few extra pieces of advice to give you an edge. This approach moves beyond traditional long-distance and tempo runs, incorporating cross-training, advanced techniques, speed drills, recovery methods, and more.

These exercises are designed to be quick and do not require any special equipment, making them convenient to perform anywhere. The tips provide a holistic view of your training, ensuring you stay focused on your overall progress even when you're not actively running.

Let’s dive into these strategies and start working towards a faster, more efficient running performance!


1. Preparing your body to run faster

Before diving into drills and exercises to improve your running speed, it's crucial to ensure that your body is in optimal condition for performance. This involves focusing on aspects such as weight management, dietary improvements, and choosing specific foods that enhance your overall health and energy levels.

Here are some key strategies to get your body primed for faster running.


Weight management

One effective way to increase your running speed is by managing your body weight. While runners come in a variety of shapes and sizes, reducing excess weight can significantly impact how quickly you can move. Losing even a small amount of weight can lead to noticeable improvements in your speed. Set achievable weight management goals and make gradual changes to your lifestyle to support this process, ensuring you remain healthy and strong.


Improve your diet

A balanced diet is critical for any runner aiming to improve their performance and is a key part of weight management. Evaluate your current eating habits and make necessary adjustments. Hydration is key, so drink water consistently throughout the day, not just around your running times. Incorporate a wide range of fruits and vegetables, particularly those that are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Focus on including dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale, which are nutrient-dense and support overall health and recovery. Whole grains such as oats, quinoa, and brown rice should be part of your regular diet as they provide sustained energy for long runs and intense training sessions. Additionally, reducing your intake of processed foods and snacks can help you feel lighter and more energised during your runs.


Choose performance-enhancing foods

Certain foods can provide an extra boost to your running performance. Here are some examples to consider:

Lean Proteins: Sources like chicken, fish, and legumes help with muscle repair and growth, enhancing your strength and recovery.

Complex Carbohydrates: Foods such as sweet potatoes, whole-grain pasta, and brown rice offer long-lasting energy crucial for endurance activities.

Healthy Fats: Avocados, nuts, and seeds contribute to overall energy levels and help reduce inflammation.

Hydrating Foods: Fruits like oranges and vegetables like cucumbers can help maintain hydration, which is essential for long-distance running.

Anti-inflammatory Foods: Incorporating berries, turmeric, and ginger into your diet can help minimise muscle soreness and improve recovery times.


2. Warming Up: Practices to improve speed

Warming up is a critical component of any running routine, particularly when you're aiming to enhance your speed. A proper warm-up prepares your body for the physical demands ahead, reduces the risk of injury, and optimises your overall performance.


The importance of warming up

A good warm-up gradually increases your heart rate, enhances blood flow to your muscles, and improves your joint flexibility. This process helps prepare your muscles and cardiovascular system for the higher intensity of a run, reducing the likelihood of strains and other injuries.


Best practices for warming up

Dynamic Stretching: Start your warm-up with dynamic stretches. These are active movements that take your muscles through their full range of motion. Examples include leg swings, arm circles, and walking lunges. Dynamic stretching helps increase blood flow to your muscles and improves flexibility.

Light Aerobic Activity: Follow dynamic stretches with a few minutes of light aerobic activity. This could be brisk walking, jogging, or cycling at a gentle pace. The goal is to gradually elevate your heart rate and body temperature.

Progressive Strides: Finish your warm-up with a series of progressive strides. Strides are short sprints (50-100 metres) where you gradually increase your speed. Start at a comfortable pace and build up to about 85-90% of your maximum effort. Strides help prime your body for faster running and prepare you mentally for the workout ahead.


Optimising Your Breathing

Efficient breathing is essential for maintaining a steady pace and avoiding fatigue. Applying these breathing techniques during high-intensity sprints can be challenging, but consistently practising them during warm-ups will train your body to perform them instinctively.

Rhythmic Breathing: Establish a consistent breathing rhythm that aligns with your running pace. A common pattern is the 3:2 ratio, where you inhale for three steps and exhale for two. Find a rhythm that feels comfortable and sustainable for you.

Breath Control: Focus on controlling your breath, especially during intense efforts. Practise breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth to regulate airflow and maintain a calm, steady rhythm.

Breath Awareness: Pay attention to your breathing during your warm-up. If you notice that you’re breathing too quickly or shallowly, consciously slow down and deepen your breaths. This awareness will help you maintain control over your breathing during your run.3. Perfecting your form when running.


3. Perfecting your form when running

Achieving optimal running form is essential for increasing your speed and efficiency while minimising the risk of injury. Proper form ensures that your body moves harmoniously, making each stride more effective and less taxing. By paying attention to your running posture and incorporating specific drills, you can significantly enhance your performance.

Running at high speeds demands a full-body effort. As you tire, your form can deteriorate, leading to inefficient strides and potential injuries. Maintaining proper form helps you utilise your energy more effectively and keeps your body aligned, ensuring that each step propels you forward with minimal wasted effort.

By following 5 simple adjustments to your form, you can optimise your running technique for greater speed.


Running form drills

Incorporating specific drills into your warm-up routine can help you develop and reinforce proper running form. Here are some effective drills to include in your training programme:


Knee Drives

Knee drives form the habit of reaching triple extension in addition to developing your explosive power, ensuring a powerful and efficient stride.



Posture Holds

This drill helps develop correct habits and posture which is crucial when sprinting.



Similar to Knee drives, this exercise focuses on putting your body into triple extension to improve your posture when sprinting.


Form Sprints

Mark out 40 metres. Over the first 10 metres, build up speed to reach 80% of your maximum speed. Then hold your speed at 80% for a further 20 metres. Over the last 10 metres, gradually decelerate to the finish line.


Ankle Runs

This drill helps activate the foot, strengthening the ankle and achilles and reducing injury. Start with a straight leg and a tall posture. Engage your core.


Arm Runs

This drill teaches you to perform the correct arm mechanics when running.


Single Exchanges

This drill builds the mechanics of sprinting, emphasising the correct angles and triple extension you need to sprint faster.


4. Recording your top speed

To accurately measure improvements in your sprint speed, it is essential to regularly record your top speed. By tracking your progress over time, you can identify areas of improvement and adjust your training accordingly. Regularly recording your speed not only provides motivation as you see tangible improvements but also allows you to make informed decisions about your training regimen.

Using a GPS tracking product is one of the most effective ways to monitor your speed. These devices offer precise data on various metrics, including speed, distance, and pace, giving you a comprehensive overview of your performance. For runners, a GPS-enabled running watch is a convenient option that provides accurate and reliable data. These watches are lightweight, easy to use, and offer a range of features tailored to runners, such as lap tracking, heart rate monitoring, and pace alerts.

If you are training for team sports like football or rugby, a GPS Player Tracker is highly recommended. These devices are specifically designed for use in team sports and provide detailed insights into your performance on the field. GPS Player Trackers are robust and can withstand the physical demands of contact sports. They offer features such as real-time speed tracking, distance covered, and movement patterns, which are invaluable for analysing your performance during training and matches.

Whether you choose a running watch or a GPS Sports Tracker, regularly recording your speed is crucial for tracking progress and optimising your training. These tools provide valuable data that can help you become a faster, more efficient athlete.


5. 7 Drills to make you run faster

Performing drills focused around power and acceleration is essential for improving your sprint speed. These drills are designed to enhance your muscle strength, coordination, and overall running mechanics, all of which contribute to faster running. By performing these drills consistently, you can develop the explosive power and agility needed to increase your speed and efficiency on the pitch, track or road. The following section outlines a series of targeted drills that, when practised regularly, will help you achieve your goal of running faster. All these drills are included in our 6 week speed training program.


Single Leg Holds

This drill works on explosive power as well as activating the feet. Focus on a fast changeover of feet with a hold.

Instructions: Perform 2 sets of 15 metres.


Single Leg Cycle

This drill develops explosive power as well as the sprint cycle motion. You start by bounding off one leg and landing on that same leg.

Instructions: Perform 3 sets on each legs, completing 3 cycles per set.


Single Leg lateral Bounds

Bounding drills improve the explosive power in the legs. This one also helps to build stability in the ankle and knee, which will also play an important role in avoiding injury.

Instructions: Perform 3 sets on each legs, completing 3 bounds per set.


2 Point Start

The aim of this drill is to achieve a triple extension of the grounded leg to propel the hips forward, helping to build your power in each leg.

Instructions: Perform 4 sets of 5m sprints followed by 2 sets of 15m sprints.


Falling Start

This exercise works the abdominals and hip flexors in order to develop power and acceleration.

Instructions: Perform 4 sets of 5m sprints followed by 2 sets of 15m sprints.


Fly Sprints

This drill is the culmination of your sprint training, each one is done at 100% and is used to asses your top speed.

Instructions: Perform 2 sets of 30m, 2 sets of 60m and 2 sets of 90m.


To support your journey towards faster sprinting, we've developed a comprehensive 6-week training programme tailored to enhance your speed. This programme includes detailed videos for each drill and exercise, ensuring you have the guidance needed to perform them correctly. While the programme is accessible to all, using a PitcheroGPS Player Tracker can help you accurately measure your progress and optimise your results. Download the full programme and start your path to improved sprint speed today.


6. How to optimise recovery after running

Optimising your recovery after running is crucial for enhancing your performance, preventing injuries, and ensuring you are ready for your next training session. Proper recovery practices help repair muscle tissue, reduce fatigue, and improve overall endurance. Here are several strategies to help you maximise your recovery after a run.

Cool Down Properly: A proper cool-down is essential to gradually lower your heart rate and promote blood circulation. Spend at least 5-10 minutes walking or jogging at a slow pace immediately after your run. Follow this with gentle stretching to maintain flexibility and prevent tightness.

Stay Hydrated: Replenishing fluids lost through sweat is vital for recovery. Drinking water or an electrolyte-rich beverage helps restore hydration levels, balance electrolytes, and prevent muscle cramps. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, not just immediately after your run.

Refuel with Nutrition: Consuming a balanced meal or snack within 30 minutes to an hour after running is crucial for replenishing glycogen stores and repairing muscle tissue. Focus on a combination of carbohydrates and protein. Examples include a smoothie with fruit and protein powder, a banana with peanut butter, or a turkey and vegetable wrap.

Get Adequate Sleep: Sleep is one of the most critical components of recovery. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to allow your body to repair and regenerate. Consistent, restful sleep helps improve muscle recovery, cognitive function, and overall well-being.

By prioritising these essential recovery practices, you can enhance your post-run routine, boost your performance, and ensure you are ready for your next challenge. Proper recovery not only helps you feel better physically but also improves your overall enjoyment and longevity in running.

By implementing these recovery strategies, you can optimise your post-run routine, enhance your performance, and ensure you are ready for your next running challenge. Prioritising recovery not only helps you feel better physically but also improves your overall enjoyment and longevity in running. For a comprehensive list of activities that benefit recovery, including ice baths, foam rolling, and more, we have created a detailed guide that covers all aspects of effective post-run recovery.


7. Mental strategies to boost your speed

Running faster isn't solely about physical strength and endurance; your mental approach plays a crucial role in your performance. Developing mental strategies can help you stay focused, motivated, and resilient, enabling you to push your limits and achieve your speed goals.

Setting specific, achievable targets provides you with direction and motivation. Breaking down your ultimate goal into smaller milestones makes the larger objective seem more attainable and helps you stay committed to continuous improvement. For instance, if your ultimate goal is to run a 5K in under 25 minutes, start by aiming to complete a 5K in 28 minutes. Once you achieve that, set your next goal at 27 minutes, then 26 minutes.

For athletes looking to increase their top speed, apply the same method. Instead of focusing on dramatically increasing your speed, aim to gradually improve over time. If your current top speed is 28 km/h, target increasing it to 28.50 km/h, then 29 km/h, and so on. This incremental approach not only makes the larger goal seem more attainable but also helps maintain your motivation and commitment to continuous progress.

Although incremental milestones are an effective method for some, focusing on the process rather than the outcome can also improve your performance. This has already been touched on earlier but concentrating on aspect of your running you can control, such as your form, breathing, and pacing is an effective method for some. This process-oriented mindset helps you stay present and reduces the pressure of achieving a specific time or speed, leading to consistent improvements and reduced performance anxiety.

Embracing discomfort is key to speed training. Pushing your body to its limits can be uncomfortable, but learning to manage this discomfort is crucial for improvement. Remind yourself that growth happens in these challenging moments, and developing mental toughness can help you push through the pain and fatigue.

Lastly, consistency and patience are crucial for progress in running. Understand that improvement takes time and effort. By incorporating these mental strategies into your training routine, you can enhance your mental resilience, stay motivated, and ultimately boost your running speed. Remember, a strong mind is just as important as a strong body when it comes to achieving your running goals.


8. The role of strength training

Strength training is essential for runners aiming to enhance their performance. Research has shown that incorporating strength and resistance training into a runner's routine significantly benefits those participating in either sprinting or long distance running. Every elite athlete should integrate strength training to complement their running regimen.

By increasing muscle efficiency and building a stronger base, strength training boosts a runner's stamina and power. Enhanced muscle strength improves the ability to generate force against the ground with each stride. This increased ground reaction force allows runners to propel themselves more effectively and efficiently, resulting in faster speeds and reduced energy expenditure.

Incorporating strength training into your running routine ensures a well-rounded approach to fitness. It enhances your endurance, power, and speed while simultaneously protecting your body from potential injuries. By focusing on muscle development and addressing imbalances, strength training allows you to become a more resilient and efficient runner.

To fully reap the benefits of strength training, aim to include exercises that target all major muscle groups, particularly those heavily involved in running, such as the legs, core, and glutes. Consistency and progressive overload are key principles to follow, ensuring continual improvement and adaptation.

Below are essential strength exercises that you should incorporate into your training programme to help run faster. The optimal number of sets and repetitions will differ depending but the below is a guideline on the number of sets and reps that should be completed for each exercise. Perform all exercises 1-2x per week.


Romanian Dead Lift

Instructions: Perform 3 sets of 12 reps.


Dead Bug

Instructions: Perform 2 sets of 20 reps on each side for a total of 40 reps per set.


Glute Bridge March

Instructions: Perform 3 sets of 4 reps.


Plank Walk Outs

Instructions: Perform 2 sets of 15 reps. A walking out and then back to the starting position counts as 1 rep.


Box Squats

Instructions: Perform 3 sets of 12 reps. This exercise can be done without a box if you do not have access to one.


Reverse Lunge Extension

Instructions: Perform 3 sets of 12 reps on each leg for a total of 24 reps per set.


9. The importance of flexibility and mobility

While you don't need to be as flexible as a gymnast, maintaining good flexibility and mobility is helpful for runners, particularly sprinters. Flexibility and mobility enhance running performance by allowing a greater range of motion, which can improve stride efficiency and speed. They also play a significant role in preventing injuries by ensuring muscles and joints function optimally, reducing the risk of strains and other issues.

Incorporating a regular stretching routine into your training can help maintain and improve flexibility. As we mentioned in the warm up section, Dynamic stretches, such as leg swings and lunges, are excellent for warming up before a run. Post-run, static stretches like hamstring stretches, calf stretches, and quad stretches can aid in recovery and maintain muscle elasticity.

Mobility exercises, such as hip openers and ankle mobility drills, should also be a part of your routine. These exercises enhance joint flexibility and stability, crucial for powerful and efficient running mechanics.

By dedicating time to flexibility and mobility, you'll not only boost your running performance but also ensure your body remains resilient and injury-free.


10. Proper footwear and gear

Selecting the right running shoes and gear is essential for any runner aiming to improve performance and prevent injuries. The proper footwear can make a significant difference in your running experience, offering the necessary support, cushioning, and stability to keep you comfortable and safe.

Wearing the right running shoes helps prevent common injuries such as shin splints, plantar fasciitis, and stress fractures. Proper footwear provides the support needed to maintain correct running form and absorb the impact of each stride, reducing stress on your joints and muscles.


Tips for Choosing the Best Running Shoes

Understand Your Foot Type: Knowing whether you have flat feet, high arches, or a neutral arch will help you select shoes with the appropriate support and cushioning. Many running stores offer gait analysis to determine your foot type and running style.

Consider the Running Surface: Choose shoes designed for the surfaces you typically run on. Road running shoes are lightweight and cushioned for pavement, while trail running shoes offer more traction and support for uneven terrain.

Check the Fit: Ensure your running shoes fit well, with enough room in the toe box to prevent blisters and discomfort. Your shoes should be snug around the midfoot and heel but not too tight. Remember that your feet swell during runs, so try on shoes later in the day or after a run.

Replace Worn-Out Shoes: Running shoes lose their cushioning and support over time. Replace them every 300-500 miles to ensure optimal performance and injury prevention.


Essential Running Gear

In addition to shoes, wearing the right gear can enhance your running experience. Moisture-wicking clothing helps keep you dry and comfortable, while compression garments can aid in muscle support and recovery. A good pair of running socks can prevent blisters, and accessories like hats, gloves, and sunglasses can protect you from the elements.

Investing in proper footwear and gear is crucial for any runner. By choosing the right equipment, you can improve your performance, reduce the risk of injuries, and make your running experience more enjoyable.


11. Importance of consistency and patience

Achieving your running goals requires more than just intense effort; it demands consistency and patience. Staying consistent with your training and being patient with your progress are key factors in becoming a faster runner.

Consistency is crucial for building and maintaining the fitness levels needed for running. Here are some tips to help you maintain a regular training schedule:

Set a Routine: Establish a weekly training schedule that includes a mix of running workouts, strength training, and rest days. Consistency is easier to achieve when running becomes a regular part of your daily routine.

Track Your Progress: Use a running app or journal to log your workouts. Tracking your progress can provide motivation and help you see the improvements over time.

Find a Running Buddy or Group: Running with others can keep you accountable and make your training more enjoyable. Having a support system can encourage you to stick with your routine.


Being patient with progress

Running improvements don’t happen overnight. It’s important to be patient and give your body time to adapt to the increased demands. Here’s how to maintain patience:

Set Realistic Goals: Break down your ultimate goal into smaller, achievable milestones. Celebrate each small victory, and use them as motivation to keep pushing forward.

Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body feels and avoid pushing through pain. Overtraining can lead to injuries and setbacks. Rest and recovery are just as important as the training itself.

Stay Positive: Focus on the progress you’ve made rather than the distance still to go. Keeping a positive mindset helps maintain motivation, even when progress seems slow.


Tips for overcoming plateaus

Vary Your Routine: If you hit a plateau, try incorporating new types of workouts or cross-training activities. This can challenge your body in different ways and help break through the stagnation.

Evaluate Your Nutrition: Ensure you’re fueling your body properly with a balanced diet. Sometimes, making adjustments to your nutrition can provide the boost you need to overcome a plateau.

Seek Professional Guidance: Consider working with a coach or trainer who can provide tailored advice and adjustments to your training plan.


The finish line: Summing up your journey to run faster

Achieving greater speed in running is a multifaceted journey that requires a strategic combination of targeted exercises, disciplined habits, and the right mindset. By focusing on key areas such as body preparation, running form, strength training, and recovery, you can significantly enhance your sprint performance. Remember, the road to faster running isn't just about physical exertion; it's equally about mental resilience, consistency, and patience.

Staying committed to your training schedule, setting realistic goals, and celebrating incremental progress are essential steps to keep you motivated and on track. Embrace the discomfort that comes with pushing your limits, and use it as a stepping stone to improvement.

To further support your journey to increased speed, consider adopting our free comprehensive Speed Training Plan. This plan offers a structured approach to help you run faster, improve your overall performance, and reach your running goals. Download the Speed Training Plan today and start your path towards becoming a faster, more efficient runner.

Your dream of hitting new personal bests and feeling more accomplished in your runs is within reach. With the right strategies and consistent effort, you can make significant strides in your sprint speed. Embrace the challenge, trust the process, and enjoy the journey to faster running.