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20 Ways to Run Faster

20 Ways to Run Faster

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.

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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:

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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.

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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!).

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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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Daniel Wallen

Freelance Writer

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How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

His motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • He riles up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

Becoming the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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