Running Makeover: How Do I Get Faster for My Next Race?

In Part 1 of this series, coach Jason Fitzgerald provided solutions to runners stuck in a training and racing rut. In Part 2, Jason gives easy tips for runners who plan to chase a PR at their next race.

Running a new personal record is a top goal for most runners who enjoy the thrill of competing against their previous best times. And with good reason: the sense of achievement from running faster than ever can make you feel powerful and successful as a runner. When you accomplish something you deliberately set out to do, your confidence skyrockets.

But many runners flounder from workout to workout, and some simply don't know what to do. So they do nothing and get stuck in a vicious cycle of dealing with constant little injuries, never seeing any improvement, or being terrified of increasing their mileage.

When you use a haphazard and uncoordinated plan, you're using the shotgun approach—try as many training tactics as possible and see what sticks. I call it the try everything, try nothing approach.

There's no progression, system or consistency. And that's why runners don't get faster.

More: How to Become a Consistent Runner and Nail New PRs

What's the Next Logical Step?

Runners who want to see consistent improvement should look at their running and ask one question: What is the next logical step?

Usually, that means changing your training to become harder or more focused

  • Run slightly more mileage (weekly, monthly or by more consistent long runs)
  • Run harder workouts (or workouts more specific to your goal race)
  • Run more frequent workouts

More: 6 Fartlek Workouts for 3 Training Phases

Most runners never take this step, even though it's what I call a "positive risk." These beneficial risks include joining a running club, signing up for your first marathon, or hiring a coach.

All of these risks can push you to run faster than you ever have before. Without risking failure, you'll never discover your potential.

Two Mistakes Most Runners Make

If you're not sure where to start, you might be making two of the most common training mistakes among beginning runners.

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