How to Run Longer and Faster

After posting a treadmill routine that included sprints at 8.0 the other night, a reader asked me how I built myself up to doing that. Great question!

First of all, I want to clarify that I don’t see myself as a fast runner. There are plenty of people around me at the gym that warm up at the speeds I top out at. On the other hand, I’ve worked hard over the years to be able to run comfortably at 7.0-7.5 on the treadmill, so I’m proud of that too!

Anyway – I’ve been running consistently for about 5 years now, and I can clearly remember trying to get in really good shape for my wedding in 2008 and absolutely MAXING myself out at 6.0 mph on the treadmill. I literally thought I was going to die if I pressed that little arrow to 6.1.

The women on the treadmills around me, seemingly the same age and in the same shape that I was, were running comfortably at 6.5 and above. Why couldn’t I do that?

It was then I realized that in order to run longer and faster, I had to run longer and faster. Just like weight lifting – if you don’t lift heavier weights, you won’t get stronger. I had been running the same distance and at the same speed for years, definitely NOT pushing myself to the limit, and thus, wasn’t growing as a runner.

It took some time, but I gradually – gradually – added 2 minutes, then 4 minutes, then 6 minutes, etc onto my runs, then increased my speed by .3, .5, .7, etc, to get to the point where I am today.

So yeah, it took about 2 years of running approx 3 times a week to get here, but it feels so good to look back at where I was and compare it to where I am today.

Push to improve. Anyone can do anything for five minutes. You won’t fall off the treadmill. Your brain is wrong and Nike is right – just do it!

The end.