I Feel the Need for Speed . . .


New runners often have two concerns:

  • How do I get faster?
  • When will I feel like I’m not dying?

The not dying question is usually answered simply: slow down! Getting faster? That’s more complicated.

Here are a few things you can try. Disclaimer: I am not a running coach, and I am not going into detail here, just letting you know there are options for you, even as a beginner runner.

Strides are pretty simple: somewhere during your run, you take roughly 20-30 seconds and you run almost at a sprint pace. Then you take it easy to recover, and repeat several times. I like to do this after I’ve completed my run, but it can be used as a warmup or even in the middle of the run to pick up the pace a bit, which is why Strides can also be called Pickups.

Run/Walk Intervals
Right now you’re probably spluttering: I want to run — I don’t want to walk! The genius behind using run/walk intervals is that it helps to hold off fatigue. Sure, you’re probably going to get tired at some point, but not as soon as you will if running your entire run.

Run/Walk is great for beginners because it also allows your body to become accustomed to running — you may feel ruining fast is great, but your body needs time to adjust to that pounding.

Check out:

Yes, if you run, you’re a runner. Even if you run/walk. I have run/walk for most of my running.

Fartlek roughly translate as “speed play”. Pick an object and run fast towards it. Then walk or run slower to the next object to recover. Repeat. You can also just run fast for time rather than picking objects to run between. I love to pick a row of trees and run fast to the next tree, walk or run slowly to the next, and so on. Mailboxes and lightposts work well, too.

The difference between Fartleks and Strides is that there is no consistent time you’re running fast in a fartlek– it’s really by feel and totally up to you.


Hill Repeats
I don’t really recommend hill repeats for a brand new runner. Hill repeats can be used in place of speed work, though. I actually enjoy hill repeats; there’s something about “conquering” a hill.

You simply run up a hill at a slightly faster pace, then walk or run slowly back down the hill to recover. Repeat several times. Start with just a few, and build up the repeats over time.

Final Thoughts
New runners really shouldn’t worry about pace. While running may be simple, it’s not easy for many people in the beginning. Even if it feels easy, it takes your body time to adapt to running.

I highly suggest joining a running group to get off on the right foot (although I didn’t when I began running). Better yet consider hiring a running coach! Yes, even new runners can benefit from a coach. Especially new runners!

I stand by saying “new runners shouldn’t worry about pace”, but inevitably, they do. They worry about having no one to run with. They worry about coming in last in a race. Start running worrying more about form and taking care of your body, though, and you just might become a runner for life. — Chocolaterunsjudy

I love to train and keep trying to improve via training, but in the end, pace isn’t what keeps me running. Getting out in nature, getting in touch with my body, jump starting my creativity, and those feel-good endorphins are the things that keep me running.

What would you tell a new runner about speed?

Did you just start to run on your own, or did you use a group or an app? 

What other advice to you have for new runners about getting faster? 


Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

This week I am also joining up with the new Runners’ Roundup linkup.


24 thoughts on “I Feel the Need for Speed . . .

  1. I fully agree with your advice for new runners. Don’t worry about pace!
    I missed 2 months of running and did my cardio sessions on the bike. Nevertheless, I notice how my body needs to get used to running again.
    I never had a running group or a coach when I started running. But I do think it’s a great idea for new runners.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s wonderful that you realize you need to ease back into running. So many runners don’t after an injury.

      I did have a coach for a while, which I loved, and I did run with a group for a while too — but neither when I began. I guess I didn’t really think I’d still be running, I always hated running!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You have hit the key points.

    As you know I started with a group. Back then we didn’t do drills. We worried about form and distance. I just wanted to get strong enough to run 3 miles and look like a runner.

    I do recommend signing up for races right away. That’s when it gets to be fun and you meet other runners. Unfortunately that’s also when runners get obsessed with their finish time. But I think the positives outweigh the negatives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like strides, too. Some days more than others, LOL!

      I ran with a group for a while, and it was a good experience, but eventually I outgrew that group.

      I have a small group of running friends that run together on the weekends, but until things are more settled, I prefer to run on my own.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. Well, right now I’m really not worried much about pace! Even the few virtual races I’ve done, I haven’t pushed that hard. Just a little. Just enough to be different. I think my body was actually ready for a break from hard running for a while.


  3. I agree that new runners really shouldn’t worry about pace, but its important that as they add speed they do so carefully! I love fartleks and strides as a way to ease into faster running.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t weird how after you’ve been running a while you know new runners shouldn’t worry about pace, but inevitably they do?

      I know as a new runner I was just worried about not being last — I was slow, and I knew it, but I figured I’d run my one 5k & that would be that. 🙂


    1. I still enjoy challenging myself with some speedwork. Mainly because I really like variety and well, I like to challenge myself, LOL!

      I’m not sure whether or not I have new PRs in me. Definitely not for 2020!

      Right now I am a little sad, this is my favorite time to do #alltheshortraces, but that’s life.


  4. Run-walk – that’s how I started and it was the best decision I made. I don’t think I could run longer than 200m when I first started so having that walking break was exactly what I needed to keep going otherwise I would have given up long time ago. I agree with you that pace/speed shouldn’t be a priority when a runner starts out. There are so many other things to worry about at the beginning.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Right now I don’t care too much about pace on my easy runs. They’re supposed to be easy. I do pay more attention to it when I do speed workouts. I like to do them fast and see how I do. But if I don’t meet my goal that is still OK. I didi the best I could.

    I like the run/walk method. Before I didn’t care too much for it but now I feel much better when I do that.

    Liked by 1 person

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