Reader Inquiry: How do you increase your speed?

Question: I am a jogger, but really want to increase my speed. What program did you follow to cut your 5K time down?

Oh how I loathe working on my speed. But, it’s a necessary evil, and I always appreciate the results. Here are the three techniques I use to build my speed.

1. Increase Your Endurance - Before I ran my first 5k, I was typically running 2-3 miles three times a week. Well, a 5k is 3.1 miles. Although I could run three miles, I knew that was the most that my body was conditioned to run, and I would be sucking wind by the end of the race. Likewise, I realized that if I could easily run four or five miles, then running three would be a piece of cake. So, I gradually added distance to my daily runs and increased my overall endurance.

2. Speed Workouts – My speed workouts are very simple. During the course of a three mile run, I switch between a fast pace and my 5k pace every fourth of a mile. I think this technique helped me the most. Not only was I running faster, but I also learned how to control my breathing. By race day, I was able to drive through the final mile and nearly sprint the last 200 meters.

3. Add more miles to your weekly mileage – The last change I made to my workout was to add another day of running, so I was running four days a week. Although that is the norm for me now, it was quite a challenge then. The fourth day is a relaxing run day that brings my total mileage for the week up to 15-20 miles.

My weekly training schedule
Tuesday: 6 miles – moderate pace
Thursday: 3 miles – speed workout
Friday: 4 miles – relaxed run
Saturday: 8 miles - Long Run

I hope this helps. What other 5k training tips do you guys have?



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