Running For Beginners: How to Effectively Improve Running Speed

How to Effectively Improve Speed: Running For Beginners

Most of us want instant results, regardless of whether we’re talking about making more money or training to run faster, but the truth is that you need to learn to accept that changes takes time. But fear not! We have put together a running for beginners series to help you.

While it’s not yet possible to gain muscle in five minutes or improve your running speed in 1 day, there are things you could work on in order to significantly boost your running speed. Therefore, if you have 10 minutes to spare and want to find out exactly how to improve your running speed in our running for beginners series, then you should definitely check out these useful tips.

Get a baseline

Before you start training to improve your running speed, you need to record your fastest pace you can comfortably sustain. This will allow you to effectively track your progress, you can see where you were when you started, and how much you progress as you train. When you see improvements, you can get over the emotional hurdles a lot easier and achieve better results. Use a sports watch like the Fitbit Surge to easily get your pace.

running for beginners

Run for the hills

A secret to building killer lung and leg strength, and ultimately a solid fitness foundation, lies in running a variety of hills that take between thirty to sixty seconds to climb.

Try to stay relaxed as you climb while keeping your shoulders down, your gaze straight ahead and imagining that the road rises to meet you. Once you get on top and are ready to go down, do not lean back and brake with the quads; this is an easy way to get injured.

Instead, try to aim for the same amount of effort as when you climbed the hill- this is overspeed. As you build your fitness level, you can attempt climbing more challenging hills with a wider range of lengths and grades.

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Pick your pace

Running for beginners 101: It is highly recommended that you try and do your track workouts and easy runs at a comfortable pace based on your fitness level.

However, if you’d like to find your 5000 pace, then run for 5000 meters and do a time trial. Whatever distance you choose, run for 1 kilometer to warm up, and then complete the distance, writing down your time. Lastly, cool down by running a steady kilometer. After that, you can use the numbers you obtained in order to calculate your ideal training pace.

Get on track

If you have not run on the track in a while, then don’t panic, since tracks are actually perfect for novices. The distance is measured, there’s no traffic and they’re also flat. If you don’t have access to a track, you can do speedwork on a traffic-free road (flat) or on a treadmill.


Making up for lost time isn’t a good idea

Many of us who want to improve their running speed will try to run a certain number of KM (or miles) per week, and when they don’t hit their target, they try to cram in extra kilometers. According to most running experts though, this type of thinking is what gets most people injured.

Try to stick to your training routine as best as you possibly can, but if for some reason you cannot train in a certain day, then do not attempt to make up for it later on. Just remember that missing a workout will not make or break your fitness. It’s what you do over the course of several weeks and/or months that gets you in shape. So if you were to attempt to add extra kilometers in a short amount of time, then there’s a good chance this may get you sidelined for weeks (or even months!).


Eat a healthy diet

Eating a healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids is mandatory when trying to run faster. You cannot perform well at pace if you run on an empty stomach as part of your fat loss efforts, but if you’re energized, you’ll have more energy to use and therefore burn more calories anyway. You will get faster and fitter, but make sure you drink plenty of water as well. In an ideal world it would contain electrolytes, such as pedialyte or a hydration sachet mixed in too.

If you weigh yourself before and after your run, the weight loss should be replaced by 1.5x the amount of fluid (for example, if I lost 500g, I should drink 750ml). While on the road, especially for longer than an hour, try to take in a fast acting source of carbohydrate. To prevent bloating, you can always carry fast acting energy gels for the road. No one wants to eat a meal when running, unless they are planning on throwing it up 5 minutes later.

Running Gels GU Original Nutrition Energy

We recommend that you try many flavors and brands in order to find out which one you like most. 2 hours to 90 mins before you start training, you may want to have an easily digestible, light, GI friendly snack.

Some great ideas to consider:
1. 1 tbsp of nut butter with one medium banana.
2. One bagel with honey or jam.
3. Half a cup of oats with skimmed milk with a cup of strawberries (sliced).


Take good notes

While training to improve your running speed, be sure to keep a training log and make notes about the progress you make each week and/ month. Include details about the way you felt when you were out, the weather conditions, the route considered and what the terrain was like. You will learn a lot about yourself, your motivations, and how to optimize your performance this way. Keeping a log is a great way to minimize the chances of injury, but also avoid burnout.

For instance, let’s say that you are less motivated and frankly bored(!) to get on the road, but when you check your log, you see that you took the same 5K route each time for the last 2 weeks. That clearly tells you it’s time to make a change!

Also, don’t forget about making a note of when you purchase new running shoes. That’s because you absolutely need to change them regularly to avoid injury (every 6 months at MOST, if you are regularly running).

Record the high moments and the low moments of running as a beginner, remember, it is all about celebrating the journey!

Improving your running speed is well within everyone’s reach, but you need to have a regular workout schedule in place to achieve it. Eating healthy and drinking plenty of fluids is also not a bonus but a must, if you are serious about improvements.
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