Speeding up

Hi all,

If I want to run faster, I need to speed up. This is a given. However, do I achieve this by a faster strike rate (I'm already at 160-165 / minute) or a longer stride? At the moment my strike rate is comfortable but as a forefoot striker I find that my strides are quite short. Should I try to increase the length of the stride a little (not so much that I injure myself), or up the strike rate?

When I read articles about increasing speed, they all seem to suggest that you need to run faster for intervals. But what makes for faster running? Serious question!




  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Hi Jo, if you have only started running recently, you will get faster naturally just by doing more running. I wouldn't worry about the mechanics of it yet, and certainly don't mess around with your natural stride. How far and how often do you run at the moment?

  • Not that far; as you say, just starting. This week I build up to five minutes without stopping image

    Just interested for further down the line, it was a thought that had struck me. I run to music at the moment. All the advice when you start running is to start slowly, to avoid injury. So I made a playlist of songs around 140bpm. Big mistake, I just felt antsy and agitated! I upped it to 150bpm but that was too slow as well. Maybe, when I progress to running for longer, I should try making a playlist of 170bpm...

    (Music helps my mind to ignore my body's protests.)



  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    I think the starting slowly is also so that you can build up the aerobic fitness you will need to go further - when I started I jogged painfully slowly (probably not even 50% faster than walking, though admittedly I am a fast walker!) but it meant I could do it for quite a long time without needing to stop. Once you can do at least half an hour and are running 3-4 times a week, I bet you'll naturally be going a lot faster than you are now. Then you might start buiding in shorter, faster bursts, and I imagine you'll notice your cadence gets quicker too.

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    As above, until you can run comfortably 5k or so, I would not worry to much, yes it is good to have good habits from the start, but building up your stamina is more important at the moment.

  • Jo,


    As some have already mentioned, start slow. It seems you have only just started running and getting up to 5 minutes non stop is a good achievement without a doubt.

    Forefoot running is based upon short strides. Your foot touchdown should be more or less below your body, so try to avoid increasing your stride (this will change your running posture and potentially cause injury). Unless you are running short speed races your foot should land below your body.

    My suggestion is to have a clear goal. Give yourself a month or two month goal. I find 8 week programs work best for most people.

    Make your goal realistic and do NOT overdo it. If you have just started running and at the same time introducing forefoot running, then time is on your side. Don't rush into hard training. Your calf muscles and arches will need to get accustomed to the running and strengthen over time. Here is an interesting page with some info on forefoot running and forefoot related stuff.

    I hope you get the results you hope for and keep up posted.

    Just to give you a bit of a confidence boost, 5 years I ditched the regular trainers for Vibrams. In 8 months my 10km time went from 54:00 to 43:00, and then down to 40:00 in 12 months. I'm not saying the shoes "exclusively" made this happen (I cycled a lot at the time). But they sure did help. Once you have got the style of running it really is quite amazing how effortlessly it seems. Still tiring though!


  • Hi Forefoot,

    Many thanks for the links; most interesting. It certainly seems to be a style that works for me (horribly rickety knees and hypermobile) and doesn't seem 'forced' when I do it. I've got a neutral shoe with some heel cushioning for now, but I don't think I'm really touching the ground with my heels much at all.

    Best wishes


  • Jo,


    Glad you found the info helpful.

    It sounds like you've taken the first step and things are going well. Just keep it going, take it slowly and by all means send me a message if you have any queries.


    The Forefoot Runner

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