3 Pro Tips for Running Faster

Man doing hill sprints
 Tony Garcia / Getty Images

We all want instant results, but most of us have accepted that change takes time. While you can’t get a six-pack or gain muscle in 5 minutes, you can become a faster runner. So what’s slowing you down? Matthew Uohara, MS, C.S.C.S., from Hale Inu Strength and Conditioning, breaks down three ways you can get faster now:

1. Sprint with your toes up.

“Most people stay in plantar-flexion (toes pointed) too long,” says Uohara. Keeping your toes pointed makes your footstrike cycle longer and makes your feet feel heavier, and both limit your stride. You also lose extension in your trailing leg, so you can’t use your glutes to their full potential (no matter how buff they are).

2. Throw your arms back hard.

Your arms can really give you a speed boost. “The most important phase of the arm drive is how hard you swing them backwards,” says Uohara.

Two things happen when you do this: “First, you gain an elastic assistance from the pecs and anterior aspect of the shoulder, meaning you have to do less work. And two, you tend to shorten the swing on the front side, making your transition quicker.” Remember that your feet follow your arms, so pump them hard!

3. Perform pre-run planks

“Doing a proper plank teaches good positioning of the pelvis,” Uohara explains. “When done prior to sprinting, you will have a carryover effect and the result will be better times.” For optimum effect, try 6 sets of planks for 30 seconds each before your next run.

For homework this week, clock your sprint time at 50 meters. When you’ve had a chance to catch your breath and recover, use all of Uohara’s tips and clock it again. Tell us how you did.