When you improve your running speed, you help not only your fitness level, but also your interest in the sport of running. After all, it can become a bit mundane running at the same pace week after week. Follow these tips on how to improve your running speed and you'll find yourself running more, running farther and enjoy more fitness and health.
In order to run faster, you'll need one "speed day" during your week of working out. However, your speed day needs to be preceded by a day off. This is important to note upfront, since doing too much with your legs the day before your speed day can lead to injury that would cause you to actually run less. While you can do normal day-to-day activities that involve walking, you shouldn't run at all or do any strenuous activity involving your legs.
Your Speed Day
Get a good night's rest before your speed day. Be sure to give yourself time to wake up and loosen up before starting your workout. You don't want to hop out of bed and head straight to the track. Once you're ready to run, take an easy 10-minute warm-up jog. Then, perform light stretching. Be careful not to stretch too much.
Now you're ready for your speed workout. From a light jog, run as fast as you can for 30 seconds. During these 30 seconds, you should imagine yourself as an Olympic sprinter. Keep in mind that an Olympic sprinter would be going all out to win a medal, and thus would be feeling discomfort. If you feel a sharp pain, pay attention to it and stop if necessary.
Once you've completed a 30 second run, perform a very slow recovery jog for two minutes. Repeat this pattern five times. Then, take another 10-minute light jog at the end.
As your speed increases, you can increase your speed running to 45 seconds for 10 repetitions. Of course, you'll need to increase your recovery jog between speed intervals. As a rule of thumb, a recovery jog should be about three to four times whatever your speed interval time was. The day following your speed day should be easy. Just do a short run to work out any soreness or kinks that may have developed.
Remainder of the Week
The three days after your easy day, run at a moderate pace. You shouldn't try to improve your speed on these days, though over time you'll find yourself running them faster and faster. The fourth day following your easy day, take a long run. This should be several miles longer than your longest normal distance. The day after your long day will be your day off before your speed workout day.