I'm a new runner and I know very little about how to go about it. Last fall, I just decided this was something I wanted to do. I haven't had a great plan and really no direction - just run daily and work up the miles. I ran 2 5Ks last fall but no races this year. I wasn't training for anything in particular but just got picked up to run the Ragnar Wasatch Back relay with some friends. I'm excited but anxious. I could use some friends here on DM for motivation and some advice for lowering my mile pace. Right now, I tend to sit at about 9:15-9:30 miles for 4-5 mile runs. Any advice on how to get faster? Gain more endurance? Not so bored on long runs? :) Any help would be greatly appreciated!
If you want to get faster you have to run faster. Start by adding small sprints into your daily runs. You see a tree up ahead, run as fast as you can to it and then slow down and go back to your normal pace. You can do that for mailboxes too, pick up speed every third mailbox and then drop back after three more. Eventually build it up to longer periods of time at faster paces. One thing that made me faster was starting at a set pace and increasing speed through my run until I was going balls out at the very end. I'm also a fan of the track. I like doing one easy lap and then one dead sprint, I do that 8 times.
You can finds lots of speed workouts on Runners World too!!
Variety is good not just for getting faster but for helping your body stay healthy & strong. Here is a simple 3 day a week workout I used and really liked it - long run, tempo, and intervals. But don't get too caught up in someone else's workout, learn to listen to your body and run shorter/longer, faster/slower, as needed. Hope this helps:
Pretty much what everyone else has stated.... more mileage with a different variety of workouts (long run/tempo/speed intervals) will make you a better runner overall and speed and endurance will increase. Good luck!
To maintain a healthy and physically fit body, you should not be too hasty in gaining speed and increasing your endurance, instead go slow and build up gradually by adding sprints in your daily runs as advised by Amy. By doing tempo and interval workouts on a regular basis, you will boost your speed and endurance. Warm up is equally important and always remember to stretch after every training session.
If you're just starting out I'd say build endurance. Endurance is the base of the pyramid with speedwork at the very top. Practicing consistency is hard in and of itself. Burning down the same number of miles every week for a few months will bring speed along anyway. You can change this up to keep it interesting by changing the length of your runs, some hills, varied terrain or trails.
For people new to running, I'm a big advocate of spending the first year or so just doing easy miles and gradually building up distance and volume. The primary reasons are (in order of importance):
1) Build strength in ligaments, tendons and other connective tissue to help avoid injury later on - as consistency is the primary factor in improving performance. This takes a long time because those types of tissues are not very vascular.
2) Increase muscle capillarization, heart strength, and provide other physiological benefits of aerobic exercise, which will allow your body to burn fat more efficiently as a fuel source, which in turn will allow you to run longer distances without bonking.
3) Provide you with a fairly conservative approach that will help you learn your body, how it reacts, etc.
4) You'll gain speed anyway since you're just starting out.
After a point, however, just doing a lot of slow miles will result in a plateau of performance. It's well established that HIIT (high intensity interval training) is a much more time efficient way to increase performance, as it teaches the body how to deal with the demands of higher speeds as well as providing many of the same benefits of slower paced workouts, but it comes at a cost:
1) Much easier to injure
2) More rest between workbouts is required.
3) Burnout (sometimes those leisurely long runs are just enjoyable for what they are). If all workouts are tough, it becomes a mental challenge.
So many times, people approach running with that has largely been said - build a base for a period of time doing nothing but slow and easy miles on a consistent basis (I'm a fan of 3x per week for people new to running), and then start to sprinkle in speedwork of various types - fartleks, intervals, threshold runs, etc.
Consistency is key. Do whatever it takes to stay consistent and uninjured. That'll do more than anything else for improving performance. Unfortunately along the way, you will get injured, though - it's part of the process of learning how/when/where you can push your body. But if you make changes gradually, then those injuries won't be too catastrophic, and often only result in needing rest on the order of a handful of days before your are ready to go again.