After all, you can probably run really fast ... for a minute or two. The challenge is extending the time that you can run fast—that's endurance.
Start by completing a long run every week. The exact distance depends on your fitness level and goals, but make sure it's several miles longer than your next longest run. Every 2 to 3 weeks, you can add a mile to ensure you keep improving.
Stride It Out
Running fast doesn't necessarily mean you're running hard. To improve your stride mechanics (efficiency), recruit more muscle fibers, and help make your other workouts feel slower, strides should be done several times a week.
Strides are simply 100-meter accelerations, where you build to about 95 percent of your maximum effort, hold for a few seconds, and then gradually slow to a stop. Take a full minute of walking or standing in between each stride.
Start with four strides after an easy run once per week, and then do strides 2 to 3 times per week. You'll notice an improvement within just a few weeks.
More: Run Fast With Strides
This is an easy one: Most runners don't run enough. And like we talked about above, endurance is the easiest way to improve for most of us. One of the best ways to gain endurance is to run more.
You can add a mile to a few runs per week, and gradually add another day of easy running to your schedule. Use the 10 percent rule when adding more mileage to your training.
Hit the Trails
Not enough runners get on trails to break up the monotony of running on the roads. And it's a shame—there are so many benefits of trail running, like injury prevention and simple enjoyment of nature.
But what's most powerful about trail running is that it forces you to pay attention to where you're running, helping you develop more coordination and agility. Navigating the obstacles on a trail requires you to be an athletic runner.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Runners don't get faster without pushing outside their comfort zones. Yes, running fast can hurt sometimes. But the fatigue and burning pain from running fast isn't dangerous—that's all in your head.
So set an ambitious goal at your next race. Trust your training, use a smart race pacing strategy, and remember you can always give more than you think.
You might just surprise yourself with an enormous personal best.
More: How to Train for a PRSign up for your next race.