Need to get faster

Hi ive been running on and off for 4 years now, due to injuries and having a baby ive had to have time off . Ive also completed 3 half marathons but only 1 of those was a okish finishing time . My speed has always been a bit slow and ive got a bit slower in the last year not sure why. but i would really like some advice on how to get faster i know i should do fartleks to help but im never very good at jugding how long im meant to do them for. I also run with a club and feel like im always at the back and would like to be able to keep up . their normal pace for most of them is about 9half min miles mine is about 11 and a half .Im also doing my first marathon next year and i know speed work is important for that ..Any help would be great  thanks xx



  • Which marathon are you doing? ie when is it next year.

    Endurance is more important than pace on a marathon. You need to be able to make the distance before worrying about how long it's going to take.

    The best advice I can give is for you to take time to work out where you are at now and where you want to be when you need to start your marathon training.
    How far are your long runs, time and distance. How much running do you do each week. Time and distance again. What other exercise do you take. How long have you between now and when you need to start training for your marathon.

    You can work on either time or distance but don't try to complicate things by working on both. Whatever you decide you need to build up your endurance slowly. How many days a week are you running? How many days a week can you commit to your running.

    You will need to run at least 3 days a week and do at least one days xtraining. If this may work for you have a look at Shades Marathon training thread.

    If you want to and can run more then maybe have a look at the HADD training thread.

    Running faster is simply a matter of running faster, putting a little more effort in, making it hurt. Shorter runs are better for this though fartlek is good. When you are out with your club try a few bursts at a faster pace than you would normally run at. It will hurt. You can drop back to your normal pace to recover. If you talk to your club about your objectives they should be able to help you.

  • Its the London marathon in april


  • thanks for the advice . I can train 5 days a week if i wanted to . but i have 2 afternoons a week for doing longer runs and i know 1day a week to do my fartlek training as its only a 5k run . Ive been thinking about cross training and doing core work as well as im prone to injury as my core is rubbish! im not sure whats best should i try swimming or spinning or both ? its also been suggested that i should try palates . Ive kind of got a bit mixed up and just want to train to be at my best come race day.

  • Hi.
    I would start building up a strong base mileage between now and Christmas. The more miles you do the better. Your long runs should be at a nice slow pace. Don't try to race them or finish off on a sprint.

    Running more miles will help your pace, you'll become a stronger runner, greater endurance and you'll slowly be able to up the pace.
    We have some very good run leaders at my club, one in particular who will run with anyone who wants to try to go a little faster. He will run with you and push you all the time. Is there anyone like that at your club? Someone who can encourage you to go a little faster even if it's just for a mile or two?

    There are so many different ideas out there on how best to train, at our level I think that we can try whatever we want without hurting ourselves too much. Fartlek is just 'speed play' so play. examples maybe - 200m flat out sprint followed by 400m very slow recovery or - 200m 80% effort 200m threshold 200m jog recovery. (The distance doesn't have to be exact).

    Threshold training (running at your maximum aerobic steady state)

    Any xtraining that helps core strength is good, it could be whatever - core, yoga, pilates, swimming, etc. Whatever is easiest for you. It will help with injury prevention. Yoga and pilates will certainly help with posture which is probably at the route of a lot of running injuries.

    You can only do so much before you snap so it has to be what suits you and what you enjoy the most. It's not really a case of one being better than the other or more suited to running.

    Right now don't do anything specific for London, just work on getting a sound fitness base. make sure that you are actually enjoying what you are doing. If you don't enjoy it or don't get that feeling of a job well done after a session do something else otherwise you'll just come to resent it. If you don't want to do 2 steady state runs then go off road, add in some variety, run up and down some hills. get muddy, whatever makes you smile. From now until Christmas it's about you getting fitter.

    Of course more serious runners will tell you that the only way to run better is to run more and ditch most of the xtraining, or do it as well as, not instead of. real life often doesn't allow for that and most of us need varity to keep our interest.

    Come Christmas you'll need to start on your marathon training plan. Take a week out for rest over the Christmas period. A good training plan will help you prepare both mentally and physically for your race.

  • Thanks for the advice . I was thinking of getting a baseline of 10 miles under my belt but at the moment im struggleing to run more then 4 miles! so have decided to try and get 5 miles this month and do it 3 days a week and then increase 1 of my 5 miles 10% each week . i just hope its enough . ive also been really careful with my diet ive cut junk food out i dont drink so booze isnt a problem for me . Imight take a few days of over christmas but i like to think im eating guilt free food x as i love my treats lol

  • Nicola and most of all  hang in there! I started running pretty much like you did, a friend persuaded me to try and get into London and I made it first time on the ballot, unheard of... I had already started run / walking in July and my first race ever was in December, I did a half. I had not really done that distance before but I think i was so terrified that I would injure myself before the marathon so i was following a RW marathon plan to the letter. I was (and still am), slow, but for the first one, it was all about building up strength and stamina. I wish you lots of luck and enjoy  the training!  I saw your thread because I had to stop all exercise for about 3-4 years and am starting all over again and feeling quite down about not being able to run any faster, so am watching this thread too! Good on you for reducing weight, I need to do this too as I picked up a stone in my 4 yr gap... I think it slows one down more but now am doing what you are, just keeping going!!! Hang in there!!

  • Just take it slow and easy.
    Much as you feel that you are already running slowly you may need to slow down even more to build the endurance.
    Marathons are about endurance.

    Maybe start by just increasing one of your runs to 5 miles, just remember to run very slowly, slower than normal. If you are worried then run / walk it for the first time. The walk should not be a slow casual walk but a brisk effort walk. The run should not really be that much faster.

    You will do better by run / walking than by trying to run the whole way (esp if you try to run too fast) and run out of steam and end up having to walk. You'll already be fatigued.

    I would advise not to worry too much about the marathon at this stage, try to focus on fun.

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