Six step guide to run a faster race

Published on: 18 May 2016

Six step guide to run a faster race

If you’re aiming for another marathon or half marathon soon, or you just really want to make the grade, how about trying one of our six steps to running a faster time at your next event?

MiFitLife Ambassador Glen Gore swears by them, so who are we to argue?

  1. Test your fuel
    Try out energy drinks, gels and supplements on your training runs so that you can figure out how best to fuel up during the race. Find out how many water stations are available on your run, and get used to drinking at those intervals. Start using the sports drink that will be available to you during the actual race.
  2. Just breathe
    Practice different patterns such as 2-2, 3-3, 2-3, or 3-4 to see what works best for you, especially during different conditions such as steep hills or racing versus flat, easy running. Reportedly, breathing in a 3-3 pattern (or other odd pattern, rather than even) puts the least stress on the body, as exhaling when the same foot hits the ground repeatedly puts more stress on that side of your body. Another benefit of having a set breathing pattern is that it puts you more in tune with your body in the sense that it becomes easier to tell how much you’re exerting yourself at any given time by how easy or hard it is to stick to the pattern.
  3. Eat a big lunch
    If you want to lose weight, don’t eat a big meal after 6pm. Instead, eat a bigger lunch which will give you some much needed fuel for your afternoon run and then have a snack later. If you go to bed on a full stomach, that becomes a problem if you want to shed some kilos, and extra weight will make it harder for you to increase your times.
  4. Train faster
    If you want to run faster, you have to train faster. You cannot do all your training runs at low speed and then expect to run at high speed during the race. Incorporate at least two speed sessions during the week.

    One of these should be a 5km-8km time trial which you schedule weekly on the same route, and try to improve your time each week. The other should be a speed/interval session on the road where you do 1km fast intervals, with some rest in between. A fartlek session is also a great way to incorporate interval training into your running (run 1km slow/1km fast until you have completed your distances). By making use of speed runs and interval training you will increase your fitness, stamina…and speed! You should be able to shave some time off your marathon pace by doing this.
  5. Run short races too
    Enter as many short run races as you can. Running races will ensure you remember (or learn, if you’re new!) how to run a race properly and pace yourself better.

    Short distance races are a great motivator to keep you training hard during winter, and you can use them as training for your speed sessions.
  6. Variety is the spice of life
    Add some variety to your training sessions. Run different routes or perhaps plan to visit other running clubs and do their weekly time trials with them. The odd cross country or trail run event will also add some spice into your training plans over the colder months.

    Don’t just focus on running, either. Working on your legs at the gym will also help increase your power and strength so that once summer comes along, you are ready to lift your game and improve your times over the long distance runs.