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
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.

Fartleks
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.

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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? 

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Linking up with Zenaida Arroyo and Kim @ Kookyrunner

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

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