How To Run Fast Without Getting Tired

Updated:

Most runners eventually have the goal of wanting to run fast. Or at least, faster than they do at the moment. This is one of the challenges that keep runners going—running at a faster pace than they do right now.

But getting faster – especially for more seasoned runners – is hard. Many ask how they can run fast without getting tired?

The good news is that you can improve your speed and endurance. The less good news is that it will take consistent effort over time to achieve it—but we can guarantee it’ll be worth the effort you put into it.

Here’s our advice on tailoring your running plan to increase your speed and build the endurance to keep it up longer. It’s not a quick fix, but it works!

Why Is Running Fast Without Getting Tired Hard?

Increasing your pace requires using oxygen more efficiently to run faster for longer. It also means you need a decent amount of glycogen stored in your muscles to push you through your run.

In addition to that, your muscles need to be strong enough to see you through a further distance at a higher speed.

With your current VO2 max, fueling strategy, and muscle strength, it’s hard to go faster than you already do for longer.

It requires you to improve your VO2 max, increase muscle strength, and use glycogen, all of which take time to build up.

This is why running faster for longer at your current fitness level is hard, but it can be improved over time with focused training.

Can You Increase Your Running Speed?

Yes, you can increase your running speed with adequate training. Some people have a natural tendency towards short bursts of power rather than longer endurance sessions, but even naturally slower runners can boost their speed with the proper training.

You can also train your fast-twitch muscle fibers to be more active during your runs and strengthen them so they take longer to fatigue. This will help you to build an outstanding balance between power and endurance, ultimately leading to higher speed.

How to Run Fast Without Getting Tired

Learning how to run fast without getting tired is a process. It’s not just a single action—instead, it’s a group of actions you should take. Stay consistent and expect your pace and endurance to improve.

Know Your Current Pace

The first step to running faster is knowing how fast you currently run. Without this number, there’s no way to tell if you’re improving.

The best way to work out your pace is to run a mile and use that time as your “minutes per mile” pace. To be more accurate, you may want to do this three or four times over a week and average out your time in the end.

Add Speed Work to Your Training

Speed work includes various runs, all of which serve a slightly different purpose in building you up to run faster for longer.

Tempo Runs

Tempo runs can be either for time or for distance. The important aspect here is that you run about 30 seconds slower than your 5K race pace.

If you aren’t sure what this is, you can work it out by doing a 3-mile run and then dividing your end time (in minutes) by your distance (in miles).

Alternatively, you can stick to a pace that keeps you at about 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Example Workout:

  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Choose a time or distance. ex. 15 minutes or 5 miles.
  • Run the entire time/distance at your tempo pace.
  • Maintain a controlled pace throughout the run.
  • Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.

Fartlek

Fartlek” means “speed play,” so it’s a great tool to have in your running plan. A fartlek run can last 20 minutes or longer, consisting of intervals of moderate speed sessions and recovery sessions.

They’re different from regular intervals because they aren’t as intense. You structure them over a more extended time and at a lower effort and pace.

Example Workout: Structured

  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Run for 1 minute at a moderate effort.
  • Jog for 1 minute to recover.
  • Repeat up to 15 times.
  • Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.

Example Workout: Unstructured

  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Run at a moderate to hard pace for an unspecified time/distance. This could be from one tree to the next or during the chorus of your favorite song.
  • Walk/jog for as long as you need to recover.
  • Repeat 10 to 15 times.
  • Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.

Hill Repeats

Hill workouts are amazing for strengthening your cardiovascular system, but they also do wonders for your glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and core. It’s like a strength workout and cardio all in one.

You can do hill repeats on a treadmill, or simply find a hill near you. Just one hill will do—you can run up and down the same one. Begin with just one hill workout per week.

Example Workout: Short Hill Repeats

  • Find a hill with a steeper gradient.
  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Run 50 to 100 yards at a high intensity.
  • Walk or jog back down the hill as recovery.
  • Repeat five to ten times.
  • Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.

Example Workout: Long Hill Repeats

  • Find a hill with a flatter gradient.
  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Run 200 yards at a moderate intensity.
  • Walk or jog back down the hill as recovery.
  • Repeat five to ten times.
  • Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.

Interval Running

Intervals are done at a higher intensity than fartleks, and they’re typically more structured. You can choose between time and distance.

Your heart rate should be below 120 when you begin and will rise above that during your run. Your recovery period should be long enough for your heart rate to drop below 120 again.

Example Workout:

  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Sprint for 200 yards or as long as you’re able.
  • Walk or jog during your recovery time.
  • Repeat five to ten times.
  • Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.

Ladder Runs

Ladder runs increase in distance or time on each subsequent interval. They’re an effective way to increase endurance and improve your running economy.

However, there may be better options for beginners. Add one ladder workout per week if you’d like to incorporate this.

Example Workout:

  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Run 100 yards at an intense pace.
  • Rest for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Run 200 yards at an intense pace.
  • Rest for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Run 300 yards at an intense pace.
  • Rest for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Run 200 yards at an intense pace.
  • Rest for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Run 100 yards at an intense pace.
  • Rest for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Cool down for 5 to 10 minutes.

Set Realistic Goals

Once you know your pace per mile, you can set a realistic goal to work towards. Increasing your pace depends on several different things, such as your fitness level and your training frequency.

It’s also important to know that your speed will improve on a curve. For example, dropping from a 10-minute mile to an 8-minute mile is going to be easier than dropping from an 8-minute mile to a 7-minute mile, and so on.

There’s no specific number to aim for in terms of goals, unless you’re running a race and have a goal pace in mind.

According to Military.com, you can drop 2 minutes off your mile time if you train rigorously for 6 to 8 weeks, which equates to a minute per month. This is true for both beginners with a decent running base and experienced runners running a 10-minute mile—don’t worry, it’s not for Navy SEALS!

However, it’s important to note that this isn’t set in stone. If you’re training less than 5 times a week but still training hard and maintaining a healthy diet, you may be able to knock 20 to 30 seconds off your mile time within a month.

You don’t have to aim for that sort of improvement, though. Knocking 5 to 10 seconds off your mile time is still an excellent achievement and a worthwhile goal.

Set a specific longer-term goal. Something like “Improve my pace by 5 seconds at the end of the month”. This will help you to structure your training plan to achieve that goal, and you can then create multiple short-term goals in between.

Create Your Training Plan

Including a lot of speed work in your training plan is tempting, but putting together a well-rounded plan is the best way to boost your speed and endurance.

Include a combination of different types of runs—speed work, tempo runs, long endurance runs, recovery runs, and interval training.

Set up your plan to gradually increase both distance and intensity. This will help you build a solid foundation and increase your overall fitness level, which will be valuable when running faster.

Build a Solid and Strong Base

Longer, slower runs are great at helping you build your aerobic capacity. This is how much oxygen you can take in at once and utilize for exercise. The greater your aerobic capacity, called VO2 max, the more effective your runs.

Don’t neglect to add long, slower runs into your training routine. The more you do them, the more efficient your body becomes at using oxygen, and it’ll start to extend the amount of time you can run before you become fatigued.

Tempo runs can build up your anaerobic capacity, which is your capacity for short, hard durations of exercise. This is vital when it comes to speed. Don’t neglect the “less exciting” runs in your training plan!

Warm Up and Cool Down Properly

Failing to warm up effectively means your muscles won’t be primed for hard work. They’ll likely fatigue faster, especially if you up the pace.

Just 5 minutes of light, easy walking or jogging and a few dynamic stretches will be enough for most runs, although you may want to warm up for longer when doing speedwork.

Cooling down gives your body time for your heart rate to come down and to flush out metabolic waste, reducing your chances of developing DOMS.

Ensuring that you warm up and cool down effectively reduces your injury chances. The injury will set you back weeks and push your goals further away, so don’t neglect these steps.

Work on Your Running Form

Poor running form doesn’t just increase your chance of getting injured. It also makes your running less effective, which means you aren’t utilizing your body in a way that encourages speed.

Take the time to assess your running form. Be honest about it—the sooner you can identify possible issues, the sooner you can rectify them and get closer to your speed goals.

Make sure you’re landing with your front foot underneath your pelvis, maintaining an upright torso, and keeping your core tight. You should aim for a forefoot or midfoot strike if you want the most efficient foot strike for speed.

Fuel for the Type of Run

Fueling for your run is more important than you think. Your muscles store glycogen from the food you eat, which gets used up during activity.

If you want a quick boost before a short run, consider fueling up with a light meal consisting of easy-to-digest carbohydrates about an hour before your run. This means your body has easy access to that energy, which can help you to run faster.

A pre-run meal is a good idea for longer runs, but you should also consider taking fuel with you on the run. Anything over 45 minutes will need the help of an energy gel or chew to help you maintain a fast pace.

Improve Your Breathing

Improving your breathing can significantly improve your running economy. Most runners breathe without thinking, but if you can learn how to control it during your run, you can improve your performance and make your runs more enjoyable as well.

You can perform breathing techniques at any time throughout the day to practice. When running, aim to match your breathing to your running—inhale for three strides, exhale for two, or something similar.

Also, make sure you inhale down to your belly and not just shallowly into your chest. This will ensure you get as much oxygen as possible into your lungs and bloodstream.

Include Cross-Training In Your Routine

Cross-training helps to improve your overall fitness and strengthen your muscles without overtraining. A simple change in movement goes a long way toward giving your muscles a break while boosting your performance.

You can cross-train on your active recovery days, two to three days a week.

Strength Training for Increased Power

Strength training is an excellent way to build muscle power and endurance. Leg exercises can improve your performance, but don’t neglect upper body day! Exercises that help with running include:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Lunges
  • Hip thrusts
  • Hamstring curls
  • Romanian deadlifts
  • Core work

Lifting heavy weights improves strength significantly over time, provided you perform each one with good form. But plyometric exercises can help to increase your muscles’ explosive power, as they train the body’s fast-twitch muscle fibers.

  • Box jumps
  • Single-leg hops
  • Squat jumps
  • Broad jumps
  • Skips

Increase Your Mileage

Increase your mileage by 5 to 10 percent every week. This will slowly increase your endurance with little chance of overtraining, making it an essential step in learning how to run faster without getting tired. You can add a short distance to every run during the week.

Prioritize Rest and Recovery

You need at least one full day of rest per week, during which you do no exercises at all. On this day, you can do some gentle yoga, stretching, foam rolling, or use heat or cold therapy on your muscles.

You should do as little physical activity as possible, to allow your muscles time to rest and recover from the week’s exercise.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

You can’t expect to perform well physically if you’re fueling your body with junk. Cut out processed foods, eat healthy whole foods, and ensure you stay hydrated.

Your meals should include healthy carbohydrates, a good portion of protein, and some healthy fats.

Get Adequate Sleep

Sleep is when the body heals from the damage incurred by exercise. Make sure you’re getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night—quality sleep. Make sure your room is set to a comfortable temperature and there are no lights or sounds that can disrupt your rest.

Photo of author

AUTHOR

Ben is an avid road and trail runner, and has completed multiple marathons and ultras. A former running store owner, he now shares his knowledge and experience writing these articles.