Developing as a runner can be a rewarding journey. Every new runner feels a variety of emotions as they work through the first few months of their new sport.
Many beginners experience a sense of accomplishment and excitement, and these feelings can be addicting. Because of this excitement, many new runners begin to set goals like picking up the pace and running their first race.
When this happens, a runner is no longer just running, he or she is training. After working with hundreds of runners to help them prevent injuries and increase their speed, I've observed that beginners typically make three common mistakes that can be easily fixed. Here's how you can avoid these blunders, run faster, and stay healthy.
Pick Up the Pace
Too many runners stick to the same easy pace for all of their runs. After the first month or two, it's time to start running faster and incorporating more structured workouts.
But before you feel intimidated, understand that fast doesn't always mean difficult.
Use these workouts to gradually increase your speed and intensity:
- Run 4 to 6 strides after your easy runs a few times a week. Strides are 100-meter accelerations. Start at a jog, build to about 95 percent of your maximum speed and then slow to a stop.
- One stride should take about 25 seconds. Walk for 1 to 2 minutes between each one.
More: Run Fast With Strides
After a few weeks of strides, you can add fartlek workouts to your training. Fartlek is Swedish for "speed play" and is runner code for an unstructured series of time-based intervals. It could be eight sets of 30 seconds or five sets of two minutes. It's up to you.
The pace and recovery time are also up to you. Run fast, but not too fast, and take as much or as little recovery time as you'd like.