Runners in general run for a sense of freedom that’s hard to find in any other activity. And knowing how to increase running speed and stamina just makes it that much sweeter.
But running is tough, and when you’re running fast — it’s even tougher.
Even if your name is Usain Bolt, training right is the key to speed and stamina.
Even if you’re not planning to break any 100 meter sprint World Records increasing your running speed and stamina can make your own runs better.
In fact, it’s not only “runners” who can benefit from getting faster for longer times.
Maybe you play football or other sports that makes both important to you as an athlete. You could be practicing HIIT as you run, or just want to add sprints to your own regular jogging for exercise?
- 4 Tips for Increasing Running Speed
- 5 Tips That Increase Running Stamina
Here are just a few examples of typical stumbling blocks sprinters may need to overcome to boost both their running speed and stamina levels.
4 Tips for Increasing Running Speed
No matter your own goals or reasons to increase your running speed and stamina, I have listed 4 common obstacles that come up for most runners and sprinters.
1. Sprint More
You may not believe this, but one of the more common errors I see people make who would like to increase their running speed is – not sprinting enough.
I know how easy it is for me to focus all my attention on endurance, stamina, and fitness. I can spend all my training time doing doing low intensity cardio at a steady state, when I should be doing something like HIIT training.
It’s going to take adding those quick burst of speed in intervals of HIIT to get you running faster.
That means that focusing on sprints and running as fast as you can run while you’re training is a must.
2. Pay Attention to Head Positioning
No doubt, when I’m sprinting I have a lot of focus on my feet.
Thinking about here I have my head positioned was one of the hardest things to make a habit of with sprints.
However, there’s plenty of top sprinters around the world that advise and recommend focusing on getting your head in the correct position.
So, what is the correct head position when sprinting?
Your chin should be tilted down just slightly, keeping your eyes fixed firmly and onto where you’re going.
Your head needs to be stationary constantly and firmly fixed.
Do not watch your feet, or too close in front of you, but always keep your eyes firmly on the prize ahead
3. Do Not Swing Your Arms
I see a lot of sprinters swinging their arms in an attempt to somehow gain momentum.
That’s not something you want to do, and here’s why:
When you swing your arms and hands across the center of your body, you are creating drag.
This swinging action serves no purpose other than to slow you down.
If you are swinging your arms when you run or sprint tucking your elbows close to your sides will actually help you generate more speed.
So, teach yourself to keep your elbows close to your body as you run and feel them brush along side your torso as you sprint faster and farther.
4. Lift Your Knees
My last tip for expanding your stamina and speed is making it natural to lift your knees when you’re running.
When your knee lifts aren’t high enough you are negatively affecting the length of your stride.
You need your stride to be a long as possible in order to get all the speed possible and cover ground quickly.
One way to get your feet up is by imaging you are sprinting through shallow water when you are running.
If you’ve ever ran through ankle or calf deep water, you know that you must concentrate fully on picking your knees and feet up higher than normal to make any progress.
5 Tips That Increase Running Stamina
I absolutely think the real secret to running is simply showing up day after day to run, and that is the first thing you must do to build endurance.
The following tips will help you, but you must add them in with running when you are past your comfort zone.
1. Eat Healthy
You just as well face the facts!
If you’re living on junk food and an unhealthy diet, your endurance levels will suck.
To build stamina and speed you can’t rely on physical activity only.
Read this post for more about healthy foods, and don’t let the title deter you. Whether you want more running stamina or to lose weight, you need to eat healthy foods.
Your very first step for stamina should be a well balanced diet that is primarily fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, lean meats, oily fish, and whole grains.
When your diet is healthy you will quite naturally increase your physical stamina and focus which can’t do anything but help you with speed and endurance when you run.
2. Stay Hydrated Always
If your body does not have a constant supply of water you:
- Never feel at the top of your game
- Are fatigued
- Find it more difficult to focus than you should
- Have dry and sticky mouth
- Can not exert yourself fully when you are running
I think the best example of what you do to your endurance is to look at a house plant that’s suffering from water.
You’re cells are looking just as bedraggled. Because your blood needs water to carry oxygen and nutrients to cells, without proper hydration there is no way to keep up your stamina and endurance so that speed really can’t happen.
3. Increase Your Mileage Each Week
Now that you’re eating healthy and staying hydrated, it’s time to start increasing your mileage by the week.
I think the best scenario is adding around 10% a week over a few weeks.
If you’re running 20 miles a week, increase the total to 22 miles the first week and before you’re body gets the message — back down to the original 20 miles the next week.
The following week, run around 24 – 25 miles, and then back it down to 22-23 the next week, followed by an increase the next week.
I always try to make time to run quite a bit farther than normal on my weekends.
If you gradually build up your miles like this, you will not over tax your body and mind, but slowly build your endurance levels.
I think it’s better to concentrate on stamina when I’m increasing my mileage, and not speed. I just run slower farther and longer.
That is until the last part of my run, maybe the last 1/4 of the total. Then I turn up the speed.
4. Keep a Running Journal
I am a great proponent of keeping a running journal.
I want to be able to see at a glance how far I ran on any week or any day. I also want to be able to look back and see how I felt, if I was sore, what the weather conditions were, if I ran with someone or by myself, and more.
To tell you the truth, I think anyone serious about increasing their running speed and or stamina, will need to keep a journal.
You can buy nice journals on this website, at the book store, or merely get a spiral notebook and start keeping track of every run and how your speed and endurance levels were.
That’s really the only way to know for sure where you need improvements, or if you’re even making any improvements.
5. High Intensity Interval Training for Speed and Endurance
HIIT is popular, and gaining in popularity everyday for a reason.
HIIT is all about speed and exerting every ounce of energy at your disposal for short burst of time, or intervals followed by short intervals to catch your breath and start over.
It’s a form of cardio training that seems to be most popular in the gym, but I think works best of all running. I mean it’s built for running to increase your speed and your endurance.
For running you want to sprint all out (I’m saying all out is absolutely holding nothing back) for 30 -60 seconds, and then stand still and catch your breath or slow your pace down all the way to a walk just until you recover your breath.
That rest interval should not be more than 60 seconds, and the entire session shouldn’t be over 15 minutes to get the most out of them.
Running always winds up being mental as much as it is physical.
Increasing stamina means continuing on past that part, or wall, where you just don’t want to go on.
The key to building endurance is to push on for at least 2-3 minutes each time you get there. You could be quite surprised at how this simple couple of minutes can really increase your stamina.
And the key to increasing your speed and getting faster times is primarily going to be practice, practice, practice — which will demand more stamina.
It doesn’t matter why you love running, going a little faster — a little farther — will make you feel even better about your runs.