Fitness Blog

How To Improve Your Race Times

British Summer time is finally upon us; lighter evenings, longer days, and less excuses to not get up and out for your workout. Park runs, marathons, half marathons, couch to 5k: all of these are growing in popularity by the day, and once you get the running bug, it can be easy to become addicted. So you've mastered your distance, but how can you work on improving your speed and race time?

Up Your Speed

It sounds simple, it is simple, but that doesn't mean it's easy. To improve your speed over a long distance, begin by improving your speed over a shorter run. Instead of running a steady pace for the duration of your run, do once per week speed training. During these sessions, run faster than you would comfortably for short bursts, and then take a short recovery interval. Repeat this training method for 20-30 minutes. You are working your body in a very different way, but you're encouraging your body to be able to move faster, and eventually recover faster. The long term result: you will improve your speed on longer runs too as this becomes second nature.

Increase Strength

Just because you run, it does not mean you necessarily have strong legs. The cardiovascular aspect of running is great for your body, but you require more than just running to improve your muscle strength. Often runners can suffer from a weak core, hips, glutes or hamstrings. By strengthening these muscles, you will be able to propel your body at a faster pace. Planks, squats, lunges: all fine examples of excellent exercises to increase your strength. By strengthening these areas, you also decrease the risk of injury.

Hill Training

Similar to increasing your speed when you run, by practising hill runs, you will increase your stamina, strength and speed. Running up hills is so much harder than running on a flat surface, that if you can master hill running, running on a flat will seem effortless in comparison.


Runners are at great risk of tight hips, glutes and hamstrings. By ensuring we are stretching these muscles regularly, we will ensure our muscles are working to the best of their ability. Not only will this improve your performance, it will also limit the risk which running can otherwise bring to you.

Lose Weight

It's a pretty obvious fact, but the less you weigh, the easier it is to get yourself round a course. Less weight means less effort required, often resulting in a better time. Research suggests that for every pound you lose you can cut an average of 2 seconds per mile off of your race. Obviously, when running, it is important to not cut calories too much as we require the energy to allow our bodies to function efficiently. Be smart, and improve your health. Your race times will thank you for it.

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