Welcome, brave challenger. You want to run faster, do you? If so, you’re in the right place! Apply these 20 ways to run faster than you ever thought possible and blow past your competition quicker than you can say, “undelay!”

1. Do it right

Proper form is step one to any exercise plan. Watch some videos of the best runners in the world and pay close attention to how they carry their body forward with efficiency. Keep your gaze forward, maintain a tall and relaxed posture, swing your arms forward and back, and strike the ground with the mid-foot under your hip. If you have a knowledgeable training buddy, have him/her observe your form and identify any weaknesses that you need to work on. This will help you learn to move mindfully with purpose.

2. Fast and furious

Crank up the intensity by performing sprints two or three times per week to boost your speed and make your workouts more convenient for your busy schedule. If you live in a neighborhood that includes light-posts on your side-walk, you could turn to perform a high intensity interval training (HIIT) workout by sprinting to one post, jogging to the next one, sprinting to the next one, and so on.

3. Strengthen your core

Strengthen your core muscles to run smoother and faster (and develop a nice set of abs!). The plank hold is one of the most effective core exercises for beginners.

4. Pace yourself

Running full speed ahead every day is a sure-fire way to burn yourself out in a hurry, so make sure you vary your workouts to include low, medium, and high training intensities to avoid burn-out. You could alternate your pace during a single workout session to include a brisk walk, a moderate jog, and a hard sprint. This will also help you make your training more fun and interesting.

5. Less is more

Keep your training attire nice and light so you can move with ease. Try a minimalist pair of sneakers on for size if you are serious about your results.

6. Run to the hills

Take your workout outside and uphill for fresh air and a change of pace. Hill sprints are one of the most effective ways to develop speed and muscle strength. Find a big hill in a neighborhood park and run sprints to the top. Walk back down for a brief cool-down before doing it again. Repeat for 5-10 circuits depending on your experience level for a fast and convenient workout that will help you run faster. If you live in a big city without a park, you might want to consider treadmill hill sprints, a fast way to burn fat.

7. Focus forward

Keep your gaze focused forward with your eyes looking straight ahead to run faster and crush your previous personal record.

8. Lose weight

The less weight you carry, the faster you will be. Of course, if you are already at your ideal weight, this point doesn’t apply to you, and please talk to your doctor if you have any conditions before beginning a weight-loss plan.

9. Train for strength

Squats and lunges are your friends! Not only will they give you a booty to be proud of, but they will also develop strong legs that will be better able to move your body quickly and with ease. Perform the following home body-weight resistance training session two or three times per week:

I’m also including push-ups and wall-pulls or body-weight rows, because it is important to perform a balanced strength training routine that covers every major muscle group. Wall-pulls and body-weight rows are beginner pull-up replacement exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.  The push-ups, pulls, and rows will help you build upper body strength and toned arms.

Perform 2-3 sets of 10-20 repetitions of each exercise based on what is appropriate for your experience level and rest for about 1-2 minutes in between set. Click on the exercise name to check out a demonstration video.

10. Jump up and down

Invest in a jump-rope, crank up “Eye of the Tiger,” and channel your inner-Rocky! Jumping rope is one of the best ways to develop fast feet (and it’s not difficult to see how fast feet might help you run faster). You’ll also develop your coordination and balance, which will help you move with purpose and grace.

11. Get loose

Get on the floor and start stretching! Perform some gentle yoga poses, especially for your hips and legs, after every single training session. Your body will thank you with less soreness and more flexibility. Click here to check out a full cool down yoga routine you can do at home.

12. Fuel your body

Eating junk food before your training session would be like pouring sugar in your gas-tank before the family road-trip. Eat some carbs in the form of whole-grains and pasta for long-lasting energy that will carry you through your workout.

13. Keep a journal

Running without purpose will take you nowhere in a hurry. Invest in a journal specifically for the purpose of recording your workout results so you can keep yourself accountable and on track. Write down the details of every training session and give yourself the goal of improving in some way every single day. Keeping a training log will also keep you encouraged, because you will have a written account of how much faster you are becoming.

14. Find support

Strength in numbers is a powerful concept. Find support from some friends or family who also want to run faster. Invite them to run with you for some friendly competition and social support that will help you stick to your workout plan. If you don’t know anyone who would like to join you, the internet is a great place where you can find support anywhere in the world. Search for message boards and support communities of like-minded folks, because you are not alone (far from it!).

15. Push yourself

If it was easy, everybody would do it, so please realize that you must push yourself beyond your comfort zone. I know getting all hot and sweaty might not sound like fun, but it is necessary if you want results. Assuming a scale of 1-10 describing how you score during the training, you should aim to discontinue the exercise around #7. You should feel challenged, but not exhausted. Keep a training journal and give yourself the goal of improving yourself every day. Improvement can come in several forms, such as: a faster mile, a longer run, or an additional sprint circuit.

16. Drink coffee

Caffeine has been proven to improve your workout intensity and speed. Just make sure you don’t dump a mountain of sugar in your brew: instead, add a splash of milk and dash of cinnamon for a healthier and more delicious caffeine fix.

17. Get psyched

Grab your iPod and crank up the volume! Choose some training tunes that will get you psyched and let workout know who’s the boss (you!).

18. Mix it up

Apply all of the different workout styles I’ve mentioned here to keep your training fun and interesting. Do some body-weight resistance training to build strength and burn fat. If you’re in a hurry, give your body a quick hit with some sprints uphill or upstairs. Take a breather by going on a nice brisk walk at the park with your lover or pet. And don’t forget to train your core and flexibility so you can improve your balance and posture, which will help you run faster (and with purpose!).

19. Rest and recover

Pushing your body constantly without pause will result in exhaustion at best and injury at worst. Take at least two rest days per week where the only training allowed is a nice walk or some gentle yoga poses. Make sure you’re getting around 6-8 hours of sleep every night, because studies show that consistent sleeping patterns produce quicker reaction times and faster race finishes. If you have a tough time getting enough shut-eye at night, check out this simple strategy for better rest in less time.

20. Be patient 

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Keep moving forward in the direction of your goal and I promise you will reach it. Consistent hustle always wins. (Write this mantra down and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day if you could use a positive reminder!)

Have any other tips?

I hope the above twenty ways to run faster will help you become faster than you ever thought possible. If you have any additional tips for increasing speed that you’d like to share, leave a comment below because this would benefit everybody!

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Featured photo credit: Athlete running on the road in morning sunrise training for marathon and fitness. Healthy active lifestyle latino woman exercising outdoors. via Shutterstock

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