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In this article I will deal with the problem of how to run faster and longer. For any budding runners this a question of paramount importance as without this sort of progression there is no chance of ever excelling at your sport.
The key word here is progression. Unfortunately running isn't the kind of sport where technique can be improved to give an advantage or produce instantaneous changes whereas in a sport such as tennis or golf, even the smallest changes to technique can transform a players success rate almost overnight.
And while there is a small advantage to be gained by improving a runners posture and running gait, it still boils down to one thing - practicing. You can't read a book on running to get fitter and learn how to run faster and longer without ever using the theories and techniques described.
So let's get this down to basics. How does someone get faster at running and exactly how can they keep going for longer?
Well, its all about placing a gradually increasing workload on the body. More specifically on the muscles involved in running, so that's basically most of the muscles from the lower half AND improving the strength and endurance of the internal organs that help to produce and then transport oxygenated blood to the working muscles... the heart and lungs.
In order to contract, muscles need oxygen. When they work at a rate that they can keep contracting and have enough oxygen rich blood supplied to them to do so, this is called aerobic exercise.
When the muscles contract so fast that the heart and lungs can't keep up with the demand for oxygen they have to stop working and this is called anaerobic exercise.
Sprinters use the anaerobic system for their sport, they need to work hard and fast for very shorts amounts of time, all out for around 10 seconds or so.
Runners however rely primarily on their aerobic systems for their sport. They need a constant and steady supply of oxygen rich blood to allow them to repeatedly contract and only need an efficient anaerobic system when they need short burst of effort such as when they have a sharp hill to run up or they are sprinting to finish a race etc.
So the answer to how to run faster and longer is all about training your body to do a bit more each and every time you train. If you could only manage 500 metres running on day one, then try to do 520 on day 2 and 540 on day 3 etc. Be sure to progress, but make that progression a slow and gradual one.
Don't do too much running because this can be worse than doing too little and the optimum amount of running each week is around 3 good sessions, one longer run, one faster shorter run and one middle distance run.
Don't set yourself too much of a challenge, but also don't progress too slowly either.
The key to running faster and for longer is progression. Always aim to do more than the time before and you should eventually build up to running much faster and being able to run for longer.