Running faster doesn't mean doing scores of inhumanly fast repeats that make you sick to your stomach. There are smarter ways to run faster that involve tweaking your form, your training plan and your mind. Here's how to break your own records without dreading the workouts.
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"One thing people don't do enough is play around with different speeds," says Jason R. Karp, Ph.D., San Diego-based running coach and author of 101 Developmental Concepts and Workouts for Cross Country Runners. If you go out and jog every workout at the same speed, you'll simply get good at going that speed.
But, Karp says, "If you do intervals or fartleks (unstructured periods of going faster and slower) during a run, you'll learn what it feels like to run fast."
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Get the Stress Out
"To run fast, you have to remain relaxed," says Todd Weisse, cofounder and head coach at the Williamsburg Track Club (Brooklyn and New York City) and a volunteer assistant coach at Columbia University. "When the jaw, face, arms and limbs start to tense up, there's deceleration," Weisse says.
Relax from your face and your eyes downward. "You can see your workout through pinched eyes and a scrunched-up face, or through a nice, relaxed face and a nice, relaxed jaw." You know which makes you run faster.