how to run faster

In the beginning of the summer I was in a huge running rut. A mix of extreme heat and extreme stress left me feeling super out of shape, and also sluggishly slow.

Slowly, though, I’ve been able to bounce back. I’ve gotten back together with my garmin (we broke up for a while) and I’ve found that I’m pretty much running faster than I ever have before. (Minus 10th grade cross-country season, but oh well.)  And I’ve realized this: The secret to running faster is similar to the whole ‘stop dieting to lose weight’ theory. Once I stopped trying so hard, things miraculously became easier. Here’s what I did:

Ditched the watch. SERIOUSLY. Getting rid of data, especially when you’re in a rut, is so freeing. Every mile split used to make me feel awesome or awful, depending if I was too fast or too slow. But it also played mind tricks with me — I’d see a faster-than-normal mile split and immediately wait to feel the ‘pain,’ and probably slowed down because of it. 

Did what I wanted. Since I’m not sticking to a strict schedule, I can literally do whatever workout I want. And because of this, exercise has become way less of a ‘thing I gotta do to reach X PR’ and more of a paaaaarty. I remembered how much I love spending mornings on the track running 200’s. And that I missed lifting on a regular basis. And that I haven’t really felt the urge to go on long, long runs, and that this is perfectly okay.

Rested more. I’m admittedly bad at taking breaks. But since there is no big *goal* ahead of me (though I am signing up for an awesome running adventure in November – stay tuned!) I’ve found myself literally stopping on runs if I feel like absolute crap. And slowing down has made my legs less heavy and dates with my foam roller (where I’m on the verge of tears) far less frequent. And then the following day I’m usually super refreshed and ready to nail the next workout. 

Pushed fearlessly. Similar to resting more, when I feel good, I finally am not afraid to push harder. If I can’t finish an interval, a set, or a circuit — so what? Nothing happens. Nobody’s dying. So I try to go after that ‘next level,’ knowing if I ‘fail,’ or if I’m terribly sore the next day, the world probably won’t end. And usually…I’m able to go way faster, or farther, than I think.

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 9.53.02 PM

as seen on my run – over the williamsburg bridge


About Laura

marketing director at Possible. formerly at Greatist. Still running, finding zen, and searching for the perfect bloody mary.

Posted on August 14, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. *As seen on my run, along side with my beeeeeeest friend.

  2. Great tips, Laura. Taking more rest and ditching the watch are hugely beneficial for most runners since we don’t do nearly enough of it. As soon as we get tired, the tendency is to push more and rest less *hand hits head.

    I also love the note on learning to push. Great line about “what’s the worst that can happen”. This mentality is something I see with a lot of the runners I coach (scared of upcoming workouts/paces) and using that line will really help them see the workout in a different light.

    Thanks for the post.

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