Adding Speed and Mileage (cont.)

Adding Speed and Mileage (cont.)

Figure out which part of your running form is lagging and work specifically on that issue.

Then work on speed while slowly increasing the mileage within an 8 minute per mile time frame. 

Eg, if you can run 2 miles in 18 minutes, look for limiting factors, work on speed, and wait to move on to 3 miles until you can run 2 miles in 16 minutes.

However, if you can’t maintain the same form from mile 1 throughout your run, then there is no reason to increase mileage, and it is in your best interest to improve technique at your current mileage.



The 8-Minute Mile Standard


Running in Proper Form is Important

Running is an essential function that every human should be able to perform correctly. But most people don’t.

Running quantity has trumped quality for a long time.

This isn’t elitism, or about having to be fast to run, but rather the necessity of needing a good base of speed in order to be safe.


Speed is often overlooked, but is a very important factor

Every human should be able to run a mile in 8 minutes with proper form.

If you can’t run an 8-minute mile, there’s a good chance you’re not able to open up your stride, quicken your cadence, or don’t have adequate muscle conditioning for the length of your run. 

This is a sweet spot for beginner to intermediate runners to improve their running form and speed.

To run stronger and faster, address the following three major inefficiencies before speed training and taking on the miles. 



Adding Speed and Mileage (cont.)

Once you have built a decent base through strength development and speed work, you can start to expand the mileage. Increase your mileage as long as it falls around the 8 minute per mile rule.

Train running anywhere from 2 to 6 days per week, but

  • for every distance-running workout, do one workout focusing on inefficiencies and speed work for beginning and intermediate level runners.

The 8-minute mile rule is a fantastic way to work on weak spots and create efficient running form, all while progressing quickly and safely. 



Run Right, or Don‘t Run

If you want to run to improve your health, then learn how run the right way or you’re far better off walking.

  • If you have had any joint pain, shin splints, foot pain, tendon pain, or complete stagnations in your running within the past 6 months, check your form and speed.
  • Even as a recreational runner, I still check in with my coach each month for a review and an outsider’s perspective because I’d rather have perfect running form now, than play shoulda-woulda-coulda sitting in an orthopedic surgeon’s office when I am 60.



Lack of Muscle Endurance (cont.)

Exercises to create a stronger runner include:

  1. calf raises,
  2. reverse lunges, and
  3. barbell hip thrusts.

Plyometric exercises like box jumps or jumping lunges are also fantastic for conditioning and develop explosive power.

When working on plyometric exercises, it is important to not rush through them.

Every rep should have maximum explosiveness and muscular contraction.

Do not do plyometrics to muscle failure.



Adding Speed and Mileage

Working on sprints will increase your VO2 max, conditioning, explosiveness, mental fortitude, and lean body mass.

Beginners should start with shorter distance sprints, anywhere from 50-200 yards. Once you are better conditioned, incorporate longer distances like quarter-mile sprints.

The final progression would be half-mile and mile interval sprints; however, these are reserved for more advanced runners. Sprints should be treated like plyometric exercises. Recover fully between sprint sets and every sprint should be a maximum effort with excellent form. 



Unable to Open Up Your Stride

There are two possible issues if you are unable to open up your stride:

  1. your mobility, or
  2. the way you land and carry over to the next stride.

If mobility is the issue, look at obvious problem areas. Are your hip flexors tight? Can you dorsiflex your ankle properly without discomfort? A few weeks of mobility drills for problem areas should increase your stride length. 

If your mobility is okay, assess the landing and carry over phase of your running.



Unable to Open Up Your Stride (cont.)
  1. Upon landing on the mid-to-fore foot you should :
  • focus first on pushing back and off of the foot,
  • then transitioning into quickly extending the leg behind, and
  • lastly pulling the heel back towards the butt,
  • then forward to carry in to the next step and
  • complete the motion.
  1. By maximizing not only the push, but also the extension and pull of the leg, you will maximize the power and length of your stride.
  2. This will also help you keep proper muscle engagement throughout the run.


Speed Over Distance

Basic running technique has to be established before work can begin on speed and inefficiencies.

This includes:

  • learning to land on the mid-to-forefoot,
  • having a relaxed jaw,
  • hands at or just below 90 degrees swinging lightly with the opposite leg,
  • landing softly,
  • a slight forward lean from the ankles, and
  • a good posture.


Lack of Muscle Endurance
  1. While running, the muscles of the posterior chain and core should be engaged throughout the stride.
  2. When many runners learn the push, extend, and pull method of the landing, they often become sore in the hamstring and gluteal muscles because they are not used to this muscle engagement during a run.
  3. The same goes for sore calves and ankles when they learn the proper way to foot strike. This is why changing running technique should be done gradually. 
  4. If conditioning is an issue, a combination of concentric and eccentric leg exercises will help add muscular strength, stability, and control.



Cadence is Too Slow
  1. A common problem with beginning runners is they simply are not turning over their feet quick enough.
  2. Efficient running occurs at 180 steps per minute. It is common for beginners to run with a cadence of 140 to 160 steps per minute.
  3. At these low cadences, you are either :
  • spending too much time on your landing, adding unnecessary height to each step, or
  • your muscles are not properly engaged. 



Deepstash helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.



Average Running Speed
  1. Average running speeds, or pace, are based on a number of factors. These include current fitness level and genetics.
  2. In 2015, Strava, an international running and cycling tracking app, reported :
  • The average speed for men in the United States was 9:03 minutes per mile (1.6 kilometers).
  • The average pace for women was 10:21 per mile.
  • That data is based on over 14 million logged runs.

**If you want to improve your average pace per mile, try the following workouts to increase your speed and build up endurance.



Average Running Speed and Tips for Improving Your Pace

Ramp up slowly

If you did 3 short runs in your first week, you shouldn’t double that for week 2, even if you feel fine. 

Progress takes more time than you think, because each body system adapts to exercise at their own pace - maybe your lungs felt fine on the run, but the next day your muscles felt sore.



How to Avoid Injuries as a Beginning Runner

The average human running speed

According to a massive RunRepeat study based on over 34 million race results, the average running times are:

  • 35 minutes for a 5K
  • One hour and two minutes for a 10K
  • Two hours and 14 minutes for a half-marathon
  • Four hours and 26 minutes for a full marathon.

We should keep in mind that the data is collected from race results. It doesn't mean every runner is racing or running as fast as they can.



How Fast Can Humans Run? Plus, How to Be a Faster Runner