Being a super-fast runner is a dream for many athletes and running enthusiasts. Unfortunately, not everyone can take the heat during training. An aspiring sprinter has to undergo a really long process of physical exercises and self-discipline to turn this dream into reality. If you are really determined, we are here to give you tips on how to become a faster runner:
Wear appropriate gear.
The first thing you need to look into is getting the right shoes, clothes, and accessories that can boost your speed:
Not all running shoes are great for sprinting. Most of them focus on endurance by prioritizing comfort. What you need are shoes specially designed for competitive runners. These shoes are extremely lightweight and have unique spikes for a faster yet safe run.
Since we are talking about sprinting shoes, also make sure to wear only the best socks for running.
The focus here is way simpler – comfort. However, make sure your running shorts and shirt are not too loose for the excess fabric can distract you during the sprint. A snug fit is crucial to maintain proper body temperature.
For more information about proper gear, learn what to wear when running.
Have a workout routine.
Aside from enhancing your leg muscles, you should also focus on strengthening your shoulders and abs. How is speed related to these body parts, though? Find out as we give proper exercises for each section:
Let’s start with the basics. You may forget about shoulder and abdominal workout but never leg exercises. The quad muscles have a big impact on faster running so do a lot of various squats and leg lifting. Some of the best leg exercises are barbell squats and deadlifts.
Sprinters should have flexible, strong shoulders so they can move well while running extremely fast. The most ideal exercise to strengthen your shoulders including your chest is bench press. Bench press is a risky exercise so better have someone guide you if you are still a beginner.
You need to have a strong core to run faster. When you sprint, you need balance. Your upper body should work as hard as your legs. To strengthen your core, you should include abdominal workout in your exercise routine. For the upper abs, sit-ups are perfect. Meanwhile, leg lifts can easily enhance your lower abs.
Use a stopwatch.
Purchase a stopwatch that fits your hand perfectly so you can time yourself for progress monitoring. Why does it have to match your hand’s size? Well, you really have to bring it during your sprint if you do not have a training buddy. If the stopwatch is too big, it might distract you.
Another way for easier monitoring is to use only one location to avoid the need of measuring the gap between point A and point B over and over again. This part of training focuses more on speed, not endurance. In endurance training, that is when you have to look for different locations based on your target distance.
For some challenge, set personal records and reward yourself with small treats when you break a record. Additionally, only do this twice or thrice in one day. Sprinting is extremely tiring which declines your performance when you do it multiple times for the entire 24-hour period.
Never stop running.
Sprinting is all about pushing your body to the limit. If you want to be a competitive runner, your goal should always be the finish line. For marathons, many experts are suggesting to begin the race a little slower than your usual pace. Then, once you are ready to sprint until you reach the finish line, never stop running. An ideal way to train for that is to set personal records when it comes to distance. To be more specific, your goal is to run from point A to point B without stopping.
More about why you should start the race slow, aside from saving your energy to sprint to the finish line, there is this psychological need to run faster if there are runners in front of you. Meanwhile, people have the tendency to get comfortable when they see themselves outrunning others.
Have a more intense sprint with uphill running. It is only natural to run slower uphill because of the laws of physics. That is really okay since the focus of this activity is not speed. Uphill sprinting is all about improving your body until it becomes lighter. It aims to enhance your calf muscles and lungs. It also trains you to lean forward even more when you sprint.
Follow a strict diet.
Finally, let’s talk about food. Consistent workout is useless without proper diet. Besides, notice how different athletes have various dietary needs. For example, huge athletes such as wrestlers need a heavy protein diet to strengthen their muscles. Meanwhile, basketball players require calories for endurance.
The greatest thing about a runner’s diet is how it only needs balance. A sprinter needs carbohydrates, protein and calories in sufficient amounts. Apparently, a competitive runner requires energy and strong muscles. Also, taking a heavy yet nutritious breakfast daily is really essential.
When it comes to specific foods, potatoes, pasta, bread and cereal are great sources of carbs. For lean protein, cottage cheese and turkey are excellent choices. As a matter of fact, the world-famous sprinter Usain Bolt includes chicken, pasta and yams for his regular diet.
By the way, never eat a hearty meal a few hours before sprinting. A full tummy gets very unstable when you sprint.
Look for a training buddy.
It is way easier to start a goal rather than finishing it. You may successfully convince yourself to start your training at first, but there is no guarantee you will finish it alone. If you are all by yourself while training, you are more likely to give up eventually.
Besides, while it is completely okay to challenge yourself with personal records, you will be more determined when you are actually challenging another runner. Convince your friends to join you in your fitness journey or get to know some local track teams. Your group may arrange a friendly competition and see who improved the most.
How to Become a Faster Runner
In summary, boosting your speed takes a lot of commitment, determination and discipline. It is all about challenging yourself for improvement and pushing yourself to the limit. Another important tip on how to become a faster runner is to train with other people. One of the best motivations is tremendous support from people who believe in you.