Being fast is one of the first things we brag about growing up. You sprint to one tree and then the next, raising your arms in triumph if you're the first one there. It feels good to be fast. But as you grow and mature, sit at your desk, gain weight, and lose some of that childlike spirit, you start to slow down. Well, let's change that.
Whether you're a miler or marathoner, a weekend jogger or a competitive racer, we can all be faster, even if it's just by 10 percent. "It's a nice goal," says two-time Olympian Alan Culpepper. "It gives people something to quantify their effort. And it's a significant improvement, but it's also within reason." We roped in national champions, authors, coaches, and pros to learn the secrets of how to speed our runs up little-by-little at every distance.
Run a Faster Marathon
Now that you're a marathoner, with endorphins firing and your body itching for weekend runs, it’s time to learn when to push yourself and when to relax. “Running can become a borderline obsession,” says Metzler. “Even though you’re physically able to do it, you don’t realize you’re not letting your body recover. If you’re running hard every day you’re going to burn yourself out. You’ll be fatigued and never really recover.” Over training will lead to you feeling flat and sluggish on race day because your body isn’t able to process the oxygen very well. The key to rest is taking your days off easy enough that you can push yourself on those days you’ve set aside for hard workouts.
And get some sleep. “Your capillary beds are increasing and your muscle fibers are growing. There’s a lot of maintenance repair your body is doing while you’re sleeping.”
Key Workout: Focus on tough 14-mile runs will help you build up the strength and endurance in your legs while allowing you to fully recover for the race, rather than the longer 22-mile runs that can burn you out before the big day. You can also increase your training program from 16 to 24 weeks, giving you more time to build an aerobic base.
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