It’s no secret that I want to BQ, and whilst I may have been miles off it at Boston, I’m still darn proud of that sub 4 race.
I can’t decide what race is next on the cards, however I do know that I’m taking my own advice and chilling out, pausing my running coaching and getting back to the gym to strengthen and condition my body…oh and to make sure my arms/back look amazing in my wedding dress!
Over the past few months I’ve met some super speedy runners, who throw down BQs like they are NBD (Mum, that means No Big Deal), so I asked them what their number 1 tip to running faster was…
Ashley – Ironman & 3.21 marathoner
Vary your paces. Stop running in the grey all the time. You should make your easy days truly easy so you can go fast when it matters. Ideally, one week will include one or two harder speed/tempo workouts plus on long run (which is hard for the sheer fact that it is long!) Every other run should be EASY. The fast workouts help improve your speed, while the easy miles build your aerobic base which is what will help you hold faster speeds over distances. Both are essential if you’re gunning for a PB.
Susie Chan – 3 time MdS finisher and general speedster/superwoman
Speed work. It’s the necessary evil if you want to run faster. Try doing it with a run group or friends as it is easier running with people – chasing people down and being chased. The good thing about spadework is it’s over quickly and it’s effective.
Sam Murphy – Runner’s World Columnist and running coach
Losing weight. Sounds crass but I’ve seen many runners drop their PBs by dropping the pounds. Quite simply, you have less to carry around with you on the course. Whether that’s making a concerted effort to lose weight, or just cleaning up your diet and focusing on your nutrition, it really can help.
Jenna McHugh – multi times Boston Marathoner
I’m big on mantras and practicing them. Before every race I write down three mantras that I am going to say when the going gets tough. For Boston I used Fierce, Run Bold and Fight. I practiced these during my long runs, then they came naturally on race day. They really help me focus on staying strong and running my fastest. They keep my mind positive and on the task at hand.
Gemma Hockett – sub 3 marathoner
The tip I want to talk about doesn’t get mentioned as much as some others; clean eating. I no longer eat junk, only eat unrefined carbs and that has helped enable me to become fat adapted. Clean eating has really changed me for the better. Apart from my cheat day Sundays – after my long run – if I can’t grow it or raise it, I don’t eat it.
Chris Oddy – recently ran a 2.33 at London
Chris is awesome and gave me a few tips to share (and lots of awesome Boston eating recommendations too!).
Running with people who are faster than me, and learning from them. It’s really pushed me to run faster.
It’s not about how many miles you can do each week, but get the strength in the gym to keep your running form good and increase your power so that you have the strength when it gets tough during your runs and races.
Sleep: I’ve found that this really allows me to train better.
Lastly, giving up the booze. I went T-total from Jan-April and felt like I had more energy, allowed my body to function correctly and just generally felt better.
I love that all of their tips are different, proving that training for a marathon or half marathon is different for each individual. What works for you might not work for another person and vice versa. I know as a student dietitian I should have thought about it more, but I’ve never made clean eating a priority during my training, but it could help make big improvements.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give or have been given to running faster?
Mine would definitely fall in line with susie’s advice. If you want to run faster, you have to run faster. Tempo, Yasso 800s, mile repeats, progression runs and fast finishes on your long runs!