7 Workouts That Help You Run Faster If You Have A Sudden Need For Speed
If you feel the need for speed, but have been struggling to complete a mile in under 15 minutes, trust me, friend, I know the struggle. Before I even stepped foot on a treadmill, I always just assumed that momentum was something you were born with; you either have it or you don’t. I was quickly proven wrong after a ton of practice, dedication, and, believe it or not, exercising in other areas of fitness, too. See, there are plenty of workouts that help you run faster, and you don’t even need a gym membership to perform a handful of them.
In order to be fast, you have to train fast and with power, Blink Fitness program manager Phil Timmons tells me during an exclusive interview with Elite Daily. In other words, the workouts you’re performing on a regular basis should be designed with the intention that every motion you go through will ultimately contribute to your speed in some way. “You want to train the [nerves and muscles] to fire efficiently as well,” he explains.
Even if you aren't a competitive runner, gaining speed might be something fun to strive toward on your fitness journey. To find out how novice and advanced runners alike can enhance their speed both on and off the treadmill, I reached out to a few experts in the space. Here are their most highly recommended workouts to help you run faster, starting now.
1. Hill Sprints Will Improve Your Strength
In order to run faster, Sam Tooley, owner of Alpha Fitness Studio suggests you literally hit the ground running, preferably with an incline.
"Power is an underrated factor for strong running, especially overlooked in distance running," Tooley tells Elite Daily over email. The more power you have, the quicker and stronger you can move your body, he explains. The number one move he recommends to any runner looking to pick up speed? Hill sprints.
"You want your body to be able to generate force effectively to move efficiently," Tooley says. "[With] hill sprints, you don't need any fancy exercises or machines, just simple hard work up a nice incline with proper form on repeat."
2. Bodyweight Workouts Build Muscle Endurance
Additionally, Tooley tells Elite Daily that building muscle endurance in the upper body is also important when you're training for speed. "I find that bodyweight work is best as we want to gain strength — not size — as runners," he tells Elite Daily. So start off small and simple with push-ups and pull-ups, and advance from there.
3. HIIT Circuits
According to Brandon McGill, the chief operating officer of Gloveworx, HIIT — or high intensity interval training — helps develop your aerobic efficiency (how you control your breathing), and helps get your body accustomed to performing more physical work in a short period of time.
"Start with basic HIIT circuits that take place over increasing periods of time. These should include a mix of functional bodyweight strength movements in higher rep ranges (15-30 reps) with small bouts of running interspersed," McGill tells Elite Daily. The best way to start, he continues, is to create a series of four to five exercises, and perform them as a circuit for a few rounds.
4. Single-Leg Squats
During our chat via email, McGill points out that each step you take when you run happens on a single leg. Therefore, each individual leg needs strengthening for optimal performance.
"Addressing unilateral (single-leg) strength will help to minimize differences and dominance between legs," McGill explains. By working each leg separately, you'll not only see a more even tone, but you'll also prevent risk of injury. Specifically performing exercises like single-leg squats, he says, will help develop "specific functional strength that is very similar to running."
5. Standing Dumbbell Row
Personally, I would have never thought to train my upper body or arms to specifically improve my running, but McGill tells Elite Daily that pushing and pulling motions are just as important to train if you have speed on the brain.
"[Pulling movements, specifically,] will help improve your posture and keep your chest up while you run," McGill explains. Exercises like dumbbell rows, he says, will allow "more oxygen to be brought into the lungs, which increases aerobic efficiency."
Thumbtack personal trainer Henry Medina tells Elite Daily that a great exercise for runners to practice picking up speed is riding a bike — stationary or the real thing. That way, runners can practice going faster "without damaging leg muscles, as it's a low impact cardiovascular workout."
7. Lower Body Workouts Can Help Push You Forward
During an exclusive interview with Elite Daily, Aaptiv trainer Wes Pedersen suggests paying close attention to the muscles in your lower body, especially "on the posterior side," particularly your glutes. This is crucial, because your lower body is what ultimately pushes you off the ground and propels you forward, Pedersen explains. Exercises like deadlifts, hamstring curls, lunges, and step-ups can all help strengthen those muscles.