Running faster requires patience
Those who regularly participate in runs will find that their priorities shift over time: they either want to run further and increase their distance or run faster over the same distance.
But how? If you start doing five 50-minute runs instead of three 50-minute running training units and otherwise keep everything else the same, you will see little improvement. It's just like cooking. If you cook your favourite meal every day, it won’t necessarily taste better, you will merely become more efficient at cooking it.
New ingredients bring speed into play
The basic recipe in terms of speed is: if you want to become faster, then you also need to run faster during training from time to time. Sounds simple, but it’s not so easy. Doing a lot of fast training units will increase your running pace relatively rapidly, however, faster running not only means great gains, it also places increased stress on the musculoskeletal system and a higher load on the metabolism and immune system at the same time. Fast, intensive runs will drain the body if you don’t schedule enough recovery time in between. You also shouldn’t do the speed builders too often: as a guideline, the ratio of intensive to slower units is 1:3. The following also applies: due to the increased load on the muscles, tendons and joints, they should be maintained by accompanying measures such as strengthening and stretching exercises.
Speed needs a solid foundation
Runners should plan to build their fitness levels like they would a house. Start with the foundation, slowly put up the walls, then build the floors and terraces and then the attic and balcony at the end. And as with a house, the walls and the foundation need to be constantly maintained if you don’t want to deal with any adverse consequences from above. Building up your running is based on two corner stones: the comprehensive promotion of the cardiovascular system and regular strength training.
Using strength training equipment, free weights, or your own body weight is a matter of taste and depends on your specific goals. The bottom line is that you need to integrate strength training into your everyday training on a regular basis. Competitive athletes serve as role models here: internationally, there are no top runners who have managed to stay at the top for several years without incorporating accompanying measures such as strength exercises into their running training.
When training the cardiovascular system, you can take a healthy approach or an athletic approach if you want to become faster. If you are doing sports purely for health reasons, then intensity levels 1-3 will serve you well. However, if you want to become faster, then you should also integrate intensity levels 4-5 into your everyday sport.
Level 1 = walking/long jog
Level 2 = light continuous run
Level 3 = medium to fast continuous run, light speed variation
Level 4 = fast continuous run, fast speed variation, extensive interval training, tempo continuous run
Level 5 = intensive interval training, short periods at racing speed
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