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How can I realistically increase my pace?

asked over 5 years ago | Report

I'm not what you would call fast, I run about a 13-14 minute mile. I have run one mile at 10:37 once in my life. I would like to get down to a 10 minute mile. I don't really understand the speedwork options. Can someone dumb it down for me?

Thank you all very much for your input! I appreciate it!!!

16 answers

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  • So I hate speedwork, but I can relay a bit of what i've learned and had other runners tell me worked for them.

    When you're first starting out, run your familiar route but start putting little "sprint" sections in there. Just tell yourself that every 5 or 10 minutes, you'll have to sprint to the next mailbox. your hamstrings might get a bit sore when you start doing this, and for me the hardest part is going back from sprinting to running (instead of walking!)

    Another good way to get faster without working on a track is run hills. Find a hill to work on, then jog up and 10 m. fast and run/walk back down, and repeat. When your body gets used to this, running on flat ground is MUCH easier.

    Then there are things (that I never do) like tempo runs. Tempo runs involve pushing at maybe 15% more than you nromally would, and keeping it up. A lot of people start at their normal pace, and speed up every few minutes. You could also do repeats of shorter distances (maybe 200 meters to start) at a higher speed, with jogging in between.

    Good luck!

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • http://www.mcmillanrunning.com/mcmillanrunningcalculator.htm

    Input your best time for a given distance.
    ex. 1 mile @ 10:37
    This will give you various calculations about the pace you should -practice- at a certain distance. Getting used to a faster pace, through practice, will make you a faster.

    Now about speedwork...
    Give this a read. :]
    http://www.sportslog.com/running-log/running-speed-work.htm

    I'd try to summarize it but I'm no good at that since I'm the type of person who loves to read manuals. Just make sure to start small (200m) intervals and work up to longer (mile) intervals.

    answered over 5 years ago |edited over 5 years ago |Report

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  • In order to run a faster pace you need to practice running faster. As you start ramping up your pace you start small and over time you'll get the distance and the increased pace working together. For now, as Jules and Kelsey say, pick a small section of your route, say "from this corner to the next corner" and push yourself on that section. Do that everyday you run, just that one section. Don't worry about making it a sprint either, just make it faster than you normally go. As you get more comfortable in that short section at that pace add another chunk in there, either extend the section or add a second section later on in your route.

    If you're doing much treadmill work (ok, so I peaked at your profile) a good way to do this is to do your normal running pace and then after a good 10 minutes warm up simply push the little button to increase the speed (up arrow? down arrow?), say two pushes at most, and hold that for one minute, then push the opposing arrow button to put your back to pace. As you improve you'll be able to extend that one minute to 1:15, then 1:30, then 1:45, etc.

    Oh, and listen to your body as you ramp up your pace. Things will likely get sore(r) as you push harder, and you may need to up your cardio workouts as well. Don't push too hard too fast, let it take whatever time it needs as you go up each notch. I believe the key to improving your pace lies in getting comfortable with a new pace, in small bites, before taking larger bites. If you're normal routine is a 4 mile run at 13 minute pace (52 minutes), with committed effort you could begin to shave that down quite quickly just by becoming comfortable running a 12 minute pace for 3-4 of those minutes during each mile. And then before long you'll find you're able to comfortably do the full 4 miles at 12 minute pace (48 minutes). That'll be your queue to target 11:30 or 11:00 minute pace. Good luck, you _can_ do it.

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • I agree with all of the above. If you want to get faster, you have to practice going faster. I used to use 2 ways to work on this. One was "Fartleks". This was mentioned above. The path I would run on had Telephone poles along it, so I would pick up my pace between 1 or 2 poles and slow down between several, then pick up the pace again over and over. The second way, I used to get faster is when I bought a heart monitor. I found that my usual running pace that I could run many miles had a heart rate of about 154 beats per min. I learned that if I would take my pace up to just over 160 for short periods of time, my over all speed in races would get better. It is basically the same as doing Fartleks, but now I just had a tool to see what was going on with my heart.

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • All of these suggestions are great. I've also found that the more you run, the faster you get. Try to add some additional miles in a couple of days a week. Either extend the distance on one of your running routes or try running twice a day (morning and evening). The more miles you put in, the more efficient your body becomes.

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • I agree that you need to practice faster running. But I also agree with Elizabeth. In April 2003 when my buddy Nick moved back to Virginia from graduate school neither one of us were in great shape. He had some prior knees problems and was mostly lifting weights for almost a year. I was very lazzzzy then and running very little all at a very easy pace.

    The second Monday in April we simply started out putting the milage in. In a month we were running 2-2:15 Monday - Friday with about a 3 hour long run on Saturdays. I always took Sunday as my day off. I started out easy, but the end result with all the milage = in another month I was running fast again. On October 25, 2003 I ran 7 seconds off my fastest 5k in Galax, Virginia @ 18.28. God richly blessed me and Nick that day. He ran 17.35.

    I'm a firm believer too that you can run more than what you think sometimes. It was after we got faster that we started adding some speedwork, etc. Hills are great for building speed too.
    God Bless.... +
    JJ.... ( :

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • Everyone's answers are all good. All I can add is try running 1 mile per week 1 minute faster than your current pace. Good luck and remember it won't happen overnite.

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • My usual run for fun is a 10 min. mile, but I did a 8:58 pace in a 5K last year... What worked for me was to run longer, not faster. I slowly added on .25 miles or .5 miles a week to get to a 10K (my pace for the 10K was 10:02). Then ran my faster 5K.

    Speedwork was always confusing and doesn't motivate me like running farther does. Also, I tried to do speedwork this year and injured myself so badly I had to take a 2 month break from running. Okay, so I'm old (48), but heard about the run longer method from someone in her 20's!

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  • Extra mileage never helped me at all, it just meant I ran like a snail for 4 miles instead of 2 LOL. What I did when I decided to go back in the Army and also after my second son was born was a LOT of treadmill work.

    I needed a 10 minute pace too, so I started out by running .5 mile on the treadmill at that 10 minute pace, it just about murdered me. Then I finished up the rest of my distance (at that point only 2 miles, I was in HORRIBLE shape) at a fast walking pace. I did that 3 times in the first week. After the first week I added .1 mile per run, 3 times a week until I could finish 2 miles at my goal pace, only then did I start adding distance. If I couldn't get to a day's goal distance without stopping, I'd hold my workout at that distance until I could. It is a slow way to work up to the pace I'll admit, It took about 6 weeks to get to my first goal of completing a 2 mile run in 20 minutes, BUT by starting with the pace I wanted, even for only a few minutes, and building up slowly I never felt overwhelmed by what I was trying to accomplish. And now (several years later) I can run 4 or 5 miles without too much trouble and my PT test runs are in the 9:15 minute mile range.

    I also found that using the treadmill was very useful for me because it allowed me to quantify my achievements and see my progress in cold hard numbers, which is great for those of us who are perhaps just a little too goal-oriented :)

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • Extra mileage never helped me at all, it just meant I ran like a snail for 4 miles instead of 2 LOL. What I did when I decided to go back in the Army and also after my second son was born was a LOT of treadmill work.

    I needed a 10 minute pace too, so I started out by running .5 mile on the treadmill at that 10 minute pace, it just about murdered me. Then I finished up the rest of my distance (at that point only 2 miles, I was in HORRIBLE shape) at a fast walking pace. I did that 3 times in the first week. After the first week I added .1 mile per run, 3 times a week until I could finish 2 miles at my goal pace, only then did I start adding distance. If I couldn't get to a day's goal distance without stopping, I'd hold my workout at that distance until I could. It is a slow way to work up to the pace I'll admit, It took about 6 weeks to get to my first goal of completing a 2 mile run in 20 minutes, BUT by starting with the pace I wanted, even for only a few minutes, and building up slowly I never felt overwhelmed by what I was trying to accomplish. And now (several years later) I can run 4 or 5 miles without too much trouble and my PT test runs are in the 9:15 minute mile range.

    I also found that using the treadmill was very useful for me because it allowed me to quantify my achievements and see my progress in cold hard numbers, which is great for those of us who are perhaps just a little too goal-oriented :)

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • Kim,
    I will answer as well, since I am on your page. To dumb it down, as you requested, you just need to challenge your cardiovascular system. However you want to, all of the ideas you were already given will work, if you worked in an office building with several floors, you could run those stairs on your lunch hour and you would really knock down that mile time. Losing body fat, increasing strength, will all do their parts as well.

    I think speedwork is fun, but I limit mine because of injuries. It really is the key.

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  • If you don't like speed work, another way to get faster is to start your run at a managable pace and then run the last mile a little faster. As you get stronger, you can do a run where you start slower than your usual pace and every mile speed up 15-30 sec/mile. It helps if you have a Garmin when you do this. By the end of the run you should be at HMGP or 10K pace...whatever that is for you. This is a pretty tough run but very effective.

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  • Are you looking to be a distance runner or short? Just curious. Speed training sometimes sucks but works. :) If you are an avid runner I recommend getting a garmin. It will help you set intervals for things such as speedwork. When I do mine I run my normal pace for a quarter mile, increase my pace by 15-20 secs for the next quarter mile and I repeat that for about 5 miles. I only do that once in awhile though because I love running distance. I had speed training, gives me side stitches, lol. I make myself do it though to increase my overall pace. From last year at running a 10minute mile for a long distance I am now down to a 9:15. That's when I'm not in a race and even then I sprint my last 100meters to about a 5:45. Another thing you can do is on a regular run no matter what the distance do one of two things: Do your comfort pace the first half then increase it by 15-20secs the last half. Trains your body to handle speed on some fatigue. Gets the "fast twitch" muscle fibers going. I do that every run. I find now that my legs are naturally carrying me at a 8:45-9 minute pace now for my 5-6mile runs. It does take some time but it will happen.

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  • Find someone to run with. A pace partner, preferably one who is faster than you will make you run faster and will ease your mind with regards to how fast you are running or if you should speed up or slow down, or trying to peak at your watch. A partner can also help prevent your mind from wandering. When I run with other people, whether it's one or in a crowd for a 5k race, I always run faster and feel better at the end.

    Personally, I've started to enjoy running w/out music. I found that I knew how long songs were and it frustrated me because I'd be trying to keep a pace and know that I wasn't as fast as I could be.

    As others said, run more. You're running a 13-14 minute mile, but how many miles total?

    answered over 5 years ago |Report

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  • For my first 4-5 years of running, I had a hard time breaking 14 minutes on longer runs and had to work for months to get down to a 12:00 pace for a 5 mile run (it took everything I had)

    Everything changed for me when I started reading about running form (so far the books I'd read said not to worry about form).

    In just a couple of runs, by leaning forward as if falling forward, driving my knees forward instead (not pushing with forward with my legs at all) and increasing my cadence,
    It was amazing! By changing my form, I have been an average of 2 minutes faster on all my running.

    It has been someone elusive to really nail down. A couple runs last year, I tried taking smaller steps and was breezing through 8:30 miles, but I have never been able to replicate what I did.
    One thing that's interesting is that by doing the same thing walking, I am able to walk a mile in 10:30

    Both these facts suggest that I should be able to get my times down below 10:00 a mile by continuing to experiment with my form.

    (you can find some good stuff on the web by searching for Good Form Running, Pose Running, or Evolution Running, etc) here is one good link:
    http://www.goodformrunningaz.com/4-simple-steps

    P.S. Hills are also excellent!

    Good Luck!!!

    answered over 2 years ago |Report

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  • I would say add mileage and increased pace will come especially for 5ks and such.

    http://runnerdude77.blogspot.com

    answered over 2 years ago |Report

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