Tuesday, July 4, 2017

7 Unconventional Tips to Help You Run Faster

Let's face it. Running is HARD. When you are a non-runner, you see runners and maybe you think that it looks easy. A seasoned runner can make it seem that way. What you don't see are the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into the training that makes that runner's movement seem effortless.

There are no shortcuts to becoming a stronger, faster runner. You just have to run. Sounds boring? I've got some possibly fun, unconventional, and far from boring suggestions to help you become the runner you want to be. All it takes is a pair of running shoes and the desire to move.



If you are a rule follower, this post is not for you. There is a ton of information out there regarding becoming a faster, stronger runner. Books have been written about it. Coaches are available to give you all the information you need. I'm not going to share any of that here.

These suggestions are for that crazy runner out there--the one who doesn't want to do tempo runs or fartleks, at least not intentionally! Keep an open mind and let the creativity flow.

Run less, lift more.
It seems counterintuitive to what we know about running, but yes, you can train for a fast marathon doing less running and more lifting. One example is CrossFit endurance, which has been proven to do just that. You won't become a Kenyan, but you will gain endurance and yes, you will get faster. Most runners who use this method modify a bit to include more mileage. I have had great results with a modified CFE method myself, achieving my marathon PR this way.



Run naked.
No, I don't mean unclothed. When I say run naked, I mean run without your Garmin. Or wear it face down. Run by feel and when you finish, look at your time. See how you felt. This is a great way to mentally prepare you for the uncertainty of race day. Not focusing on your paces will also allow you to focus more on the run itself and tap into how you are feeling.



Get wet.
Pool running is a great alternative to road running and something many runners turn to while injured. By running in the water (you'll be in the deep end or dive well), you reduce the chance of injury but are able to still continue to train. You should use a flotation belt to help maintain your form. Make sure your form mimics that of your running form and use a high leg turnover (fast cadence). I was amazed at how well trained I was for Big Sur using almost all pool running to prepare. It's boring, though so my suggestion would be to buy a waterproof iPod to listen to while you're moving. And if you see any older men in speedos, look the other way. Eye on the prize.

Yes, that's Rod StEWWWWart.
And no, I'd don't think you're sexy.

Head for the hills.
You've heard the saying: Hills are speedwork in disguise. Hills force you to use your whole body to propel forward. Hills force the glutes and hamstrings to engage. Hills elevate your heart rate as you work harder to run on the incline. Hills are also mentally tough--there's nothing like standing at the bottom of a hill looking at the top--hello, Door County! Find a hill, go up, and slowly head back to the bottom. Recover and repeat.

source: vitatrain4life.com

Go double dutch
Jumping rope is another great way to increase endurance. Jumping rope also strengthens the calves and the achilles. Either on your own or with some kids on the playground, jumping rope will improve your overall fitness level and coordination.



Your new mantra is "I am fucking awesome". 

That's right. Swearing may help you run faster and stronger. Two recent studies showed that swearing during exercise can increase performance by up to 8%. The researchers theorize that swearing helps with pain relief. If you find swearing vulgar, this article will help you find effective alternatives.

source: wikihelp.com
Make it like a drinking game, only with speedwork.
Make a pact with yourself to run fast with the chorus in every song on your playlist using the verses for your recovery. Kickstart your heart with some Motley Crue. You'll be Livin' on a Prayer with Bon Jovi. Or maybe you're Breakin' the Habit with Linkin Park. You get the picture.


Do you have any unusual tips to run faster? Do you do speedwork? Fartleks? Tempo runs? Hill repeats? Swearing?

I'm linking up with Tuesdays on the Run aka Marcia, Erika, and Patti as well as Coaches' Corner aka Debbie, Susie, Rachel, and Lora!





62 comments :

  1. Ha ha ha!! This is so great! I tend to be old-school and when people ask me how to run faster, I tell them to run more. I guess it all depends, though. I just figure if you want to get better at something, do more of it. *shrug*

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    1. Some of us can't run more. So I have to find other ways to train!

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  2. I definitely think more strength training and less running can help you to get faster. And yes to hills! I hate them but I know they are so beneficial.

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    1. Becky throws in a lot of stuff that trains you for hills. It's really effective without the wear and tear on your joints.

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  3. Replies
    1. Or have someone run in front of you with a donut on a stick.

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  4. My marathon PR came when I committed to cross training on the bike. Les and I were talking about this on Sunday. It's really hard for me to go for an "easy" run, so by getting on the bike my muscles get a workout without my legs getting too beat up. Quality vs. quantity works for me.

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    1. I do a lot of cross training on the bike. Endurance is endurance, at least in my book!

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  5. That picture of Rod Stewart cracks me up!!!!

    Great tips you got here. But I had never heard of incorporating jumping rope into your training. Interesting.

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    1. Plyometrics is a great way to cross train, and jumping rope is a form of that.

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  6. The run naked gif made me LOL, hahaha.

    While I'm not necessarily trying to run faster, I do think that strength training really helps!

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  7. I need to strength train more. I can tell my body has weaknesses that are affecting my running these days. And hills. I hate them, but I know that I need them. Great suggestions.

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    1. I actually love the off road workouts as much as I love running. Who knew?

      Hills, tho. Still not a fan.

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  8. I used to swear a lot during my runs. I haven't in awhile. Guess it's time to bring that back. :-D

    I'm the worst jump roper, but really should incorporate it more often. Maybe I'll try some this week since I'm taking a running break now that the RWRunStreak is over.

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    1. I don't swear much during my runs but when I do, yep, I move it.

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  9. The running is tough going over here lately maybe I should try swearing! Can't hurt right?

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  10. HELLO AUSTIN TEXAS IN THE SUMMER.
    Id be in to run nekid for sure :-)

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    1. I just can't even...Too many things bouncing around!

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  11. I love all of these tips! Crossfit intrigues me but the risk of getting injured scares me! And ew to that picture of Rod Stewart. Ew!!!

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    1. That's why I work with a coach! I want to do it correctly and avoid injury.

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  12. I definitely have done a lot of these - especially the swearing because it really f***ing helps!! :-) I also love doing speed work on the treadmill according to my playlist - it makes the time go by...

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    1. I think speedwork on the treadmill is the only way to survive the mill!

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  13. OMG making it a drinking game... brilliant!!! I'm going to use that line on my runners.

    Also, seriously with the Rod Stewart? Eeeeewwwwww...

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    Replies
    1. Creativity is the name of the game, right?

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  14. This is awesome! I have used the hills before but I should really just start the drinking game.:-)

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    1. Ha! It's all about having fun. I actually tend to drink (Tailwind) during my walk intervals, which is a drinking game, too!

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  15. haha, I swear that is why the explicit versions of some songs on my PL...the bad words make me go faster LOL or at least express how I feel in the humidity ;)
    Hills! I've been slacking but they work.
    I also really love my 1/4 mile pick ups at the end of each mile workout...it feels great and it is just enough :)

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    1. Sometimes I fist pump on some of my songs and that makes me feel stronger too!

      I like the 1/4 mile pick ups! I don't do that but I think I might have to!

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  16. I used to think Rod Stewart was sexy but not anymore! Actually not for about 20 years or so. Great, fun tips. I especially like the swearing ones.

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  17. I definitely swear. I think it helps :)

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  18. I love ALL of these!! I consider myself a pretty unconventional runner, too, and am always looking for nontraditional ways to make the running even more fun. Ewww...Rod is not looking too hot these days....

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  19. Great tips. I've really slacked on strength training since I completed the NYC Half. I need to get back to it cuz it's so important even for shorter races. I have a hard time running "naked" but I will sometimes put my Garmin where I can't see it just so I can check the stats when I'm done. I need to have "proof" that the run actually happened...lol

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    1. I too have a hard time running naked. I am such a data girl!

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  20. This is awesome... I am a fairly unconventional runner too, with lots of strength and spin or other cross training. Since having shin issues, I've been doing lots of swimming and pool running too. I like how much more balanced I feel when I'm doing more than running.

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    1. That is the key--balance. I absolutely love my cross training and I think it has made me a stronger runner!

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  21. I love the swearing tip! going to try that one! Running less and lifting heavier is def helping me!

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    1. I don't usually swear when I'm running but WTF?

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  22. Love the idea of doing speedwork like a drinking game with the song chorus.... I'm going to have to try that to switch things up.

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    1. I play a drinking game where I sip Tailwind when I'm walking! I do sprint on some songs, but I should do a better job of being consistent.

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  23. I think the guy running naked just forgot his beer lol! As far as ol Rod, I'm with you! Just no!

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    1. Yeah, what is up with old guys in speedos?

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  24. Haha! This post made me laugh out loud! I have already mastered the swearing tip ;)
    Today I actually ran with no music (which is very out of character!) and was surprised at how much I enjoyed my run!
    Have a great day!

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    1. I've been doing a little bit more of music free running and yes, I surprise myself too!

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  25. Ok, so I had no idea about double dutch in terms of speed work! That's just too awesome and super fun! ...and yes, hooray for hills!!

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    1. And agility--don't forget about that!

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  26. Okay, pool running was something I've never thought about. About running naked... I remember when I first started running before I knew about any GPS running watches or apps on my phone. I just ran. Even when I started using an app (Nike+) I didn't really understand splits and paces. I was just going for a particular distance. I look back at those times then and I was super fast (to me... running 8 min miles)...and now that my head is all in the game..I'm the slowest I've ever been (throw a few other factors in there, too)!

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    1. Funny you should mention that--I didn't used to run with a watch. Then I got a Timex IM. I ran with that for years!

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  27. Running hills is what helped me increase my speed and hit a sub 2 half marathon time (which was a LONG time goal of mine)! I love unconventional ways of making speed happen! :)

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    1. I don't love hills but my coach has done such a good job of training me for them that I don't fear them any more.

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  28. I definitely agree with more weight training, my running has gotten so much better and faster since I consistently started weight training in February. Hills are awesome too.

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  29. Haha! I love the cussing stat! And I also like the whole "run less, but get faster" thing. When I finally come back from all my injuries, I'm going to have to be running way less than I did in the past. And - I can't believe you trained for an entire marathon in the pool - that's amazing!

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    1. It just goes to show you what experience and will can do!

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  30. I don't normally do a whole lot of swearing while running, I generally reserve that for driving. :)

    It seems as though hills are the answer to everything. :)

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  31. Agree 100% with all of this. I have started working with Holly as a running coach and I am loving it. But I only run 3 days a week because I wanted to continue the weight lifting and HIIT I have been doing. I am 100% convinced that the variety has helped my running.

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  32. I've never though of anything like this, Wendy! Interesting tips! :)

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