How to become a faster runner.

February 6, 2012

One of the best things happened today.  Because I love wearing the exact same outfit two days in a row, when I reached in my pocket there were leftover skittles from last night.  It is amazing what makes my day at 9:38 a.m.

PS it turns out that twice-baked potatoes make great fuel the night before a run.  8 great feeling miles done and done.

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Once upon a time (pre a million injuries) I took my marathon time from a 3:20

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to a 3:04 within 5 months.

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Pink, blue and orange  DO match.

As I am in my base training (you can read about that HERE) at this time and looking forward to the time that I will be adding in speed training again I am looking back to things that I did to get my PR’s and become a stronger and faster runner and I thought I would share them with you.  This is just what worked for ME.

1.  I think that speed work is a REALLY good idea for improving your time but I never did that during those 5 months…I would just try to do the same route a little faster each week but what I DID do was a lot of hill work.  Where I live there aren’t a ton of hills.  It is easy for me to go out and run 10 miles in one direction with little to no incline.

The summer in between my 1st and 3rd marathons we lived in Cali and in any direction you left from the house there are HUGE hills! I ran more hills that summer than ever and I can’t tell you how much that helped increase my speed.  When you are used to constantly running uphill, all of the sudden when you are running on a flat road your pace picks up dramatically.

2.  Experience.  I had NO idea what I was doing on my first marathon.  I went out fast and just tried to keep that pace, I didn’t think about splits or saving my energy.  I realized that I needed a game plan for the following marathons.  With each race you learn more and more about your body and that you CAN in fact push yourself for 26.2 miles and not die.

3.  FUEL.  I really didn’t know anything about fueling either.  It wasn’t until Billy told me that I should be eating and drinking more than I was during the marathon and training runs that I realized…hmmm maybe having more energy via calories will help me to not hit the wall (as hard).  My muscles want to go faster when they are properly fueled!  With my PR marathon I fueled every 6 miles and that worked best for me!

4.  Mental strength.  We will talk all about this tomorrow because I have 28 pages to write about it but training your brain is just as important as training your body.  We have so much more potential than we THINK we do.  Be your biggest fan.

5.  Gear.  I switched over to a better pair of racing flats, got a little iPod shuffle (so I wasn’t carrying my phone on my arm the whole time), proper socks (so that I didn’t get blood blisters like I did during my second marathon) and body glide to prevent chafing from slowing me down.

6.  I read every ounce about running that I could.  Reading about Dean Karnazes, Run Less Run Faster , the Runner’s Body and every word on Runnersworld.com and Runningtimes.com helped me to learn what it takes to increase speed.  Billy and I used to go sit in book stores for hours and just read…. I always picked up running books.

7.  Cross-training and resting.  During this time when I became faster I was PRO at taking days off and cross-training.  I never ran more than 4 days a week and personally that is what worked for ME….everyone is different of course:)  When I go over 50 miles I start getting injured and how can you get faster when you are always side-lined.  Oh yeah, I took ice baths like a champ!

Now I have got to practice what I preach in a little while (after base-building) and I will get those PRs again someday!

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PS One more day to enter my Chobani GIVEAWAY!!!

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Is getting faster a goal for you or do you run just for the fun of it and if you got faster that is just an added bonus?

Do you wear matching running outfits?  Do you plan them out well in advance before a race?

-Usually, I try to be a little matching but the above outfit were the only clean running clothes I had so I just went with it.

What kind of iPod do you use?

Do you live in a hilly or flat area…..how do you get your hill work in?!?!

Brittany February 6, 2012 at 3:11 pm

I would love to get faster and I think my strength training during the week has been helping with my speed. I do just run for fun, so getting faster would just be a great bonus!

I generally try to match a little…my first marathon, I definitely got a complete matching outfit, haha.

I usually don’t run with an iPod, but I don’t run that great of distances anymore (only 5 to 6 miles). Since my runs are short, I just love to listen to the sounds of nature!

I live in semi-hilly area…there is a MASSIVE hill that leads up to my house at the end of my run…it feels so awesome!

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Janae February 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm

You are so right about strength training helping with speed! YAY for awesome hills near you!

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Laura February 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Just heard about this and dashed over here to let you know!

Yogurtland is offering Free Frozen Yogurt and Toppings Today 4PM – 7PM. Free yogurt & toppings offer is valid in commemorative cup. See Yogurtland Facebook page for details.

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Janae February 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm

YOU ARE THE ABSOLUTE BEST!! I am counting down the minutes until billy and I go wahooooo!

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sneakers 2 sandals February 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Running faster is a huge goal of mine! I’m doing speed work and I think it helps a lot. I love that you posted this post. It made my day. I just want to get faster and faster and I don’t wanna run more than 3 days a week. Good to k kw that’s what you did.

I definitely need to do hill work. Unfortunately I’m in FL and I have to do hills on the Tm. I hope that’s ok :)

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Janae February 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm

I definitely think that everyone is different and some bodies can handle 7 days a way week of running and some just can’t:) I definitely think that hills on treadmill help BIG TIME!

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Meghan February 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I definitely want to improve my half marathon time, but I know my training time will be limited before my next half. For me it helps to do some speed work and to push myself hard during a run at least once per week.

I generally try to match but sometimes I don’t!

I run with an ipod shuffle- love how light it is!

My neighborhood is fairly flat but Seattle has lots of hills!

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Janae February 6, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Good call on really pushing yourself at least once during a run…just make sure to recover after…easier said than done:) LOVE the shuffle…it makes life so easy!

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Katie @ msfitrunner February 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm

I just typed a whole response and it erased, errr! Anyway – LOVE THIS POST!! I am training to get faster. I took 6 minutes off between my 2 fall marathons, now I want to take 11 more off – really hard. I never did speed training and agree 100% about the hill training helping with speed. That’s why I’m stressing about my spring marathons – I don’t like to run in cold, so I’m doing a lot of treadmill and not getting my hilly runs in. Every run used to be a hill run. My goal is to get out once a week just for hills. I was just saying to my hubs how much mental strength marathons are and he does ultras, which are even more mental! that’s why I like to train without music, makes it tougher for me. but I think I will run the next races with music, I need a shuffle, just something little!
I like to match my outfits, down to the shoes. Too many photogs to not look cute;-)
Awesome post – thanks!!!

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Janae February 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

Boo to it erasing!! Girl, you are incredible and you WILL take that 11 minutes off. YAY for hill training, do you do hills on the treadmill? He does ultras..WOW!! I like what you said about training without music, I will have to try that out! Hope you are having an amazing day!

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Claire @ Live and Love to Eat February 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I feel like I’m on the injury wagon now. Argh! Shin splints, pereoneal tendonitis, now a knee issue. Do you lay off the spinning if you hurt your knee running?

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Janae February 6, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Girl..I am so sorry that you have dealt with so many injuries. When I hurt my knee from weight training a year and a half ago my physical therapist said that I could continue spinning as long as it didn’t hurt. I think it just depends on what the knee injury is!

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Losing Lindy February 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm

You are amazing…you did your full in 30 more minutes than it took me to do a half. Wow!

*makes mental note, eat skittles, grapes, cottage cheese, twice baked potatoes* ;)

Oh and I need to get my butt back on the dreadmill.

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Janae February 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Ha ha ha ha yes…those are the nutrients for success:)

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Losing Lindy February 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm

see I do pay attention once in awhile ;)

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Linnea February 6, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Great Advice! I am a bit of a turtle right now, so it’s alway nice to have ideas for improvment. Thanks! PS: today is National Yogurt Day, I heard a rumor that yogurtland is giving free yogurt and toppings from 4-7pm. You might want to check your closet location.

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Janae February 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm

YES!!!! You are the best. Thank you so much Linnea…I am counting down the minutes until I get to go:)

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Michelle February 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I am about to do my first speed workout in about 2 years. I plan to do 400′s but I am actually pretty nervous about it. I have a race in April and I really want to get faster.

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Janae February 6, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Way to go Michelle, that is so exciting!!! Let me know how your 400s go!!

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Britt @ Chicago Runner Girl February 6, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Love how running imparts wisdom! I’ve learned more in life through running then I have through any other outlet. Knowing what works for you will help you smoke those miles and keep knocking off PR after PR!

Oh and BTW, you won my accessory giveaway!

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Janae February 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Agreed and agreed!! HA that is so awesome, that is funny because I literally checked your blog (PS love that picture of you running) CHM training week 1 seconds before you must have posted your latest post! I am about to email you, this makes my day!

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Sara February 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm

I want to get faster. I’m slower than a snail. I keep getting injured, so every time I make progress on the speed front, I’m slowed back down after I heal and start running again.

Most of my running clothes are somehow black or dark gray… Does that count as matching? I look like a goth runner.

I use my iPhone as an iPod.

It’s flat where I live, so it’s hard to find hills! The slightest incline feels like a huge hill once you get used to running on fllllllaaaaattttttt. Ha!

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chacha February 6, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Oh man, hills. Yeah, I can’t get more than a half mile from my house without hitting significant hills (i.e. 1+ mile long, 160 foot climb). But that’s San Diego for you. I am fairly used to them now – I used to feel so slow going up them, and while I’m still slower when running up than flat, it doesn’t feel so miserable anymore :)

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Andrea February 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Wow, you are FAST. Seriously impressive. I am trying to get faster. I ran a 10k yesterday and did it over 4 mins faster than the last 10k I did a year ago. I ran my 2nd half a couple weeks ago and did that 23 minutes faster than my last one! I was coming back from an injury so I just focused on running smart. Now, I’m ready for some speed work!

I can’t wait to read your post about mental strength. I think for YEARS I was holding myself back thinking there was no way I could go faster than 10 minute miles. But my 10k yesterday was at an avg. pace of 9:23 (big improvement for me) and I felt like I could go faster. Need to work on the mental aspect for sure. Great post!!!

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Emily February 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Getting faster is an ENORMOUS goal of mine because I am currently a much slower runner than I would like to be. I have started doing fartlek sessions once a week and I already feel like it’s making a difference! Living in Chicago, there are exactly zero hills around here, but I am thankful for the numerous other types of speed training out there. =)

I actually don’t use an iPod. I use a Sony MP3 player, and I love it! It’s much more affordable than an iPod, and also much more simplistic (I personally don’t need, or want to pay for, a zillion functions on my music player!)

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Brooke @ sweats & sweets February 6, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Live in a flat area, there are ZERO hills in Savannah, Georgia. I plan my outfits and wear that one outfit until I need to wash it LOL.

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Karen@ La Chanson de Ma Vie February 6, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I live in a really hilly area. My trail running routes always include a 1,000 ft. (at once) climb. I live on a hilltop (200ft above surrounding areas) and the end of each run is ALWAYS uphill when I run roads. It has helped a LOT for my speed.

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Jenn @ RunItMyWay February 6, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Janae, seriously I have no idea how you do it. You’re awesome!! I want to run even half as fast as you :) This list is awesome, I’m taking notes!! Hehe I also made my boyfriend read it.. He’s a 3:24 marathoner, he thinks gels are a gimmick and refuses to try them (he doesn’t take ANY energy on a marathon!!), runs in COTTON socks (even though I keep buying him good ones!) and doesn’t train by a schedule. I just made him read your list. I hope you get through to him better than I do :-P

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Mallory @ Have Your Cake February 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm

THANK YOU for this post! Getting faster is my #1 goal right now and you are such a huge inspiration regarding that! i think ever since discovering your blog i have wanted to actually IMPROVE my running and increase my speed:) I am probably going to be emailing you in the near future with a bazillion other questions (sorry in advance haha).

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Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 6, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I have a half coming up on April 1st and my goal is to run it in under 1:50:59 so that I can qualify for a corral in the Chicago Marathon. One of my problems with my long runs is that I have a hard time starting out slow and then building speed in a way that gets me to my goal pace overall. For example, if I want to finish it with a 9:30 min/mile pace, I don’t know where to start and where to end with my pace?

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Stephanie February 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Thanks for all your awesome tips on trying to get faster! I’ve never tried any sort of fuel during a race/marathon besides gatorade and water… maybe i should give Gu a try! Or maybe just some skittles :D Although I feel like I would choke on them…

I also wear whatever is clean because I’m bad at laundry/planning… unless it’s a themed race! I haven’t timed myself since trying out the speed workouts you recommended, but I’m gonna see if there’s any sort of improvement this week!

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Jodi February 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm

I’m so psyched that you wrote about this topic today! Getting faster is a goal of mine, but I would like to go about it in the smartest way possible. I always think about rest days , even when I’d rather be pounding out some mileage, but in the end , it’s always best! I’m finally coming back after injury and I just did my long run yesterday outdoors- 6.5 miles- 14 for the week. I’m so excited that I did it, that even if it wasn’t the fastest I’ve done, I had fun, exceeded my own expectations, and am looking forward to my half marathon and 10 miler in May. I’m still trying to figure out the fueling thing, but I’ve got time:-) thanks for some great posts all the time, Janae! I love your blog and love all the ideas. Have a great week!

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Lizz February 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I’ve literally been googling my day away looking at ways to increase my speed… Way to read my mind, Janae! I had my fastest 10 mile run in MONTHS this morning and I feel like at least part of my motivation came from the tips, habits and attitudes I’ve picked up reading your blog. Way to be awesome!

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Heather@Just a Colorado Gal February 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Did you seriously read my mind today?? I just posted TODAY on my blog that I was going to do my first every marathon this year…and then you answer like 400 questions for me. You rock :)

PS Congrats on winning the giveaway over at Chicago RUnner Girl–what a great giveaway!

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Shannon @ Mon Amour February 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm

I love how fast you are! You are so cute when you are running too. I look a little bit like death when I run

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Kate @ Run with Kate February 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Thanks for this post, Janae! I love learning from fast people like you! I was really hoping you would tell me that I never needed to run hills, but darn it, I geuss I have to. I would love to see a 3:20 someday and then a 3:15 eventually. Not in Boston (no way) but maybe this year! :)

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Pam February 6, 2012 at 4:19 pm

I DO want to get faster, and I’m having a hard time figuring out what will work for me. You ask one person and they’re all, “You have to train faster to run faster,” and you ask another person (who went to the same classes and has the same RRCA certification) and they’re all, “No you don’t, you just have to run lots of easy miles to get faster.”

?????

What’s a girl to do?

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Christina @ The Athletarian February 6, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Wow thanks for this. I was just thinking about signing up for a spring half and the whole “I want to beat my last PR” kicked in. I needed this post!

I wear bright colours and usually don’t care if they match or not! I just got the new ipod nano from Dean at Christmas :) I love it!

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Jill February 6, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Hill, love how the make me a better runner, but hate running them…does that make sense? Lol. I just got a shuffle for my h20 audio waterproof headphones and I can’t believe how much I love the shuffle…it’s awesome.

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Shelby Fath February 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm

I run just for the fun of it for now. I would not really call myself a runner (yet), but I have goals to run a half and full marathon sometime in my life. I really liked what you said about mental strength. I am a rower and am really working hard to get faster, but I am having issues with the mental strength stuff and my coach can see it too. I try so hard to push past it, but can’t seem to do it. Rowing and running are a little different, but I am looking forward to reading your thoughts on mental strength.

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Diana February 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I feel like super unhealthy dinners actually DO serve as great running fuel, at least for me! Not mad about it.

I am absoluuuutely trying to get faster, fingers crossed for me!

I try to challenge myself to see how many shades of pink I can wear at once – this goes for while I’m running and also in my day-to-day life. Looking like a cupcake is in this season, I heard.

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Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs February 6, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Great tips Janae! It’s great to hear what works for different people, so that you have lots of angles to try to see what works for you!

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes February 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm

I try to match…it never works out… :)

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Erika P. February 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Hey Janae! Love your blog. I’m running my first half marathon in March and I’m super psyched! I’ve been reading up on pre, during, and post race ‘etiquette’ so to speak, and obviously there’s tons of opinions, but as a seasoned runner, what’s your take on fueling during a race? What works best for you? Thanks!

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Sarah February 6, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Getting faster is just a bonus for me! I wear an ipod shuffle and I live in a very hilly area!

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Chanelle February 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm

I just found your blog and I love it. I read waaay back in your archives. I appreciate your honesty and positivity. I have dabbled in running for about 6 years but I’m running my first half in May. Thanks for being you!

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Kristen @ notsodomesticated February 6, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Great post!! I was wanting to do more speed work and hill work for my half in April, but now I’m just praying that my stupid shins will stop hurting long enough to train PERIOD!

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cynthia February 6, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Getting faster is a goal but not my primary goal. I have been able to set PRs for the marathon distance. 4:07 is my current PR and i’m hoping sub 4 this year.
I definetly think running faster than what my comfortable pace is helped with that. And for sure hills help with it. When I trained for Seattle RnR I did lots of hill work. I live in Idaho so there isn’t much hills out my door and the trail I like to run at is pretty flat but if there’s a side road with a huge hill I do a few repeats on it or I do hill repeats on the treadmill and try to mimic the race I am training for. I used to live in Washington state and it is hilly there so I never thought I would say I miss the hills right outside my door but I do.

I love dressing up and being matchy for races and plan them out in advanced.

I also run with an ipod shuffle and I love it! I used to run with an ipod touch and it always just felt so big and bulky on my arm.

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Jen February 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Such a random question, but which socks work best for you? I’m having a sock/sneaker issue and am looking for another sock to try.

I try to plan out my running outfits. Sometimes it works, sometimes I end up looking a little like a clown.

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RunEatRepeat February 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm

You are so fast! I love it.

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Amy February 6, 2012 at 5:50 pm

One of my goals for 2012 is to get my half under 2 hours. Giving it a shot in May, and will definitely be looking back at this post!

I pretty much don’t do hill work…so I need to figure out a plan for that one.

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Deirdre @ Oh Well Whatever February 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I just run for fun and to get out there, never really pushed it hard at a race other than to finish. Outfit is more about what feels comfy and won’t bug me too much. I do love a running skirt!

Good lord you are fast! Sub 3 in your future?

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Michelle (Better with Berries) February 6, 2012 at 5:55 pm

THANK YOU for these tips! I’m trying really hard right now to train for a half marathon in April and I really want to beat my previous time by a whopping 19 minutes. It has been several years and I’m much faster now, so I think it’s possible, but it will be a challenge. Love the hills tip – I need to start running them!

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Angela @ Happy Fit Mama February 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm

My times have been getting faster since I started doing more tempo runs. It also helps that I’ve got a training buddy now. We know how to push each other just enough.

I don’t really need to run with music anymore but when I do it’s with a shuffle. I couldn’t imagine carrying anything bigger.

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Jessica February 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm

These tips are great! Could you possibly do a post on exactly how you fueled during your marathon? Like what/how many gels (or chomps or whatever you ate), when you drank gatorade (or equivalent), when you drank water, etc.? That would be super helpful!

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Kaelin February 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I would love to get faster, but mostly I just want to get better. I have only been running for a few months, and a 4 mile run is still “long”. I have started doing some pick ups at the end of each mile, but my legs get tired fast. I just want running to get easier and then work on speed.

I definitely plan my outfits, gotta look good for the pictures!! I run with my iPhone, never thought about getting a smaller one for racing. Good idea!!!

I can find hills, but nothing like Cali, or I can avoid the hills and keep it flat. Love you post!! I can tell you getting your “game face” on for your upcoming training cycle!

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Kaitlyn February 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I am trying the “Run Less Run Faster” training plan this time around in an effort to increase my speed. I also like this plan because it only has you run 3 days a week and my body cannot handle more than 4 a week, similar to you. I really need rest days.

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Emily @ Sweating Sugar February 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm

Hills? Okay fine! I will do them but I won’t like it!!!!!!

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Lindsay @ Salt, Sun & Sanity February 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm

I’m so glad you posted this! All of my running has really focused on quantity, not quality. I can bang out several miles, but they are slooooow. Now I need to figure out this “speed work” thing… tempo runs? Yikes!

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Tabaitha February 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I run for the fun of it and right now if my time gets better, than that is great! However, I’m a pretty competitive person, especially with myself. So once I get back into full swing, I know I will be working on improving my time. Yes, I like to match. The brighter the colors the better. It makes me happy to run in fun colors. I have a Nano, but I find that I use my phone more right now, because I can watch netflix on it or read blogs while I run. Actually the suburb that I live in is a little bit hilly, but most of the DFW is just flat. I get my hill workout in by adjusting the incline on my treadmill.

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Jerilee @ Mom's Gone Running February 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I mostly started just running for me, but now I want to get faster! I am loosely following the RLRF plan. My goal is to only seem really slow compared to you instead of EXTREMELY slow. That sentence didn’t even make sense :).
I usually try to match during a race, but not super crazy matchy.
I lost my ipod after the Disney World half marathon. It makes me sad.

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J @ ... semplicemente j ... February 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm

I love to get faster … mostly for me …

I wear matching running outfits … black with black and a little more black … I have my earmuffs that are a horrible lilac/purple color with I think a yellow trim … that is all I could find on sale :) … sometimes I go for black and white to change things up a bit :)

I have a Nano but I usually do not run with music … until yesterday … ran with music … not paying attention to anything … and ran 10 miles woohoo! (I am actually feeling it today … ouch)

I run away from hills … I hate them … love going downhill though … I know I should run the hills … but I just have a great dislike for them.

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Kay February 6, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Wow look at you!!! Super impressed, and great tips!

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Mark Matthews February 6, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Great post. Speed work is fun and I think it takes out deep tissue body rage better than any other run but I often pay in injuries or too many days to recover.

I have an IPOD that is 12 years old I think. One of the first. And I use it during marathons and I know that it has helped my time and my training.

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Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy February 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm

You are a speed demon!! I’m pretty sure my marathon time would be a whole HOUR longer than yours :).

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Kirby February 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm

This post was amazing! I am training for my first marathon right now and so badly want to sub4. I have been using some speedwork and hill training (per a customized plan from Smart Coach) but I love reading what worked for you. Can’t wait for the post on mental toughness… That was what I always focused on during all my years of soccer (from a lil kiddo through college). Thanks!

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Kate @ Chasing It February 6, 2012 at 8:55 pm

LOVE this! hills are so important and people don’t think you need to run them if your race is flat…but running hills = stronger muscles = faster speeds are more comfortable :) Getting fast again is def one of my goals – i wanna make the olympic trials in 4 or 8 years!! I can’t waaaaaiiiit to race again, I have a 10 miler planned for May but its too soon to be very fast hahaa

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Jennifer February 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Wow, thanks for those tips!!! It’s great to learn from those who are faster than you. I went 3:4:40 at my first marathon, missing my BQ by a bit due to race execution mistakes. I make my second attempt on March 3, and I will be sure to throw in a bit of hill training before my taper starts.

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Ali Mc February 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm

GREAT post Janae :) this is totally helpful for newbies like me….I plan on running my first marathon this year. I find when I run 4 days a week I do my best too! I was trying to take on one of Hal’s plans for my upcoming 10k and it was just so much running and only one day not running = too much. I altered the plan to have an extra day of cross training and like it a lot better :) Oh and no runs on strength days.

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Mara February 6, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Just started running in September… ran my first 10K in October and now registered for a 15K, 10K, a half marathon and hood to coast (yes, I’m crazy!).

Would love to get faster…training around an 8 min/mile right now and trying to work through some knee pain – arg! Will work on those hills as my husband and I have a friendly competition going on who can run father and faster. :-)

Thanks for the tips!

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Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile February 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Great tips! I do my hills on the treadmill because FL is too flat. I use my phone as my iPod :D

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natalie @ southern fit foodie February 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Tennessee is definitely hilly, but there are some flat spots too.

I have an iPod touch, but if I decide to run any distances greater than 5k (ha), I will get a little shuffle. Also, if I decide to that, I will also use all your awesome running tips! :)

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Gracie February 6, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Really helpful! I just did my series of posts on getting my marathon from a 4:15 to a 3:09….I remember just wishing to get under 4 hours. That took me three marathons! I’m still not really built to be fast, but I have certainly learned to endure the “pain” of speed better.

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Khushboo February 6, 2012 at 10:39 pm

You’re the best Janae! My speed has majorly slowed down after a month hiatus from running because of injury so this was just what I needed! Obviously it’s disheartening that a pace that used to seem like a breeze really takes all out of me now but at the same time, I know I just have to work at it! I am already feeling better and that’s just with 2 weeks of running so here’s hoping! Looking fwd to your post on mental strength!

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XLMIC February 7, 2012 at 12:13 am

You are pretty smart, girl :) Hills and more hills work wonders! I’d like to be faster but I also like running for the fun of it…of course, going fast IS fun! Trying to get my groove back…you know how that goes ;-)

I rarely match…unless black is considered matching. And I have an iPod nano in PINK that I got for Christmas last year and have never figured out how to actually use…the music has never been changed since the first time I put the songs on it :P

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Cait the Arty Runnerchick February 7, 2012 at 1:14 am

you’ve got SO many great points here and helpful advice. i think for any kind of distance (but especially for marathons) the ‘learning curve’ between each race is tremendous. each time out u learn how to better gauge how u’re feeling, pacing, nutrition, all that.

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Allie February 7, 2012 at 4:25 am

Hi! I frequent your blog and am envious that you are so good and running and that you have turned it in to a lifestyle. I grew up dancing and when I graduated I quit dancing which also meant quitting working out. I really, really want to start running but honestly don’t know how. Can you give me any advice?

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Janae February 7, 2012 at 8:42 am

HEY ALLIE!!! Thank you so much for your comment and I am so so excited that you are wanting to get into running. Do you think you could shoot me an email because I have more to say than will fit in the comments section. Have a great day and thanks!

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Tracey February 7, 2012 at 5:37 am

Great post! Thanks for the well wishes for my race… I did ok, but felt kind of junky.
Always hoping to get faster in my “old” age:)
My outfits semi match but I don’t buy them that way! I washed my last shuffle so I just bought a new one.
I have been contemplating the 4 day a week plan…glad to know you ran that killer fast time using than plan!

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Janae February 7, 2012 at 8:41 am

I am so sorry you weren’t feeling your best during your race…NEXT TIME RIGHT:) You are amazing!

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Mamarunsbarefoot February 7, 2012 at 6:50 am

I run hills ALL THE DAMN TIME! Frankly somedays I get sick of it. I wish I could just not run a hill :/

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Kim K February 7, 2012 at 6:53 am

janea, do you ever train on heart rate?

im constantly trying to get faster! :) i live on a huge hill and am surrounded by hills (other than the charles river) so i get my hill workouts done right outside my front door. and i mostly always match bc my bottom portion is mostly always black – everything matches with black. right?!

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Janae February 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

Hey Kim! I don’t train with heart rate very often for running. I use it for spin but not so much running! That is AWESOME that you have so many hills! EVERYTHING matches with black:)

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kari @ Running Ricig February 7, 2012 at 7:42 am

I think speed work is a HUGE part of getting faster. I don’t really do regimented speed work anymore, but I do try to take at least one day a week to run faster than my normal workouts and I’m definitely getting faster (though I don’t know if I’m 20 min off my marathon time faster :)).

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KerriAnn February 7, 2012 at 8:09 am

I live in a hilly area. The RnR Las Vegas Half actually bothered me cause it was so flat. I was begging for a hill at some point, I like the challenge of the hill then the relaxations of the downhill part.

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Holly @ HLD Fashion February 7, 2012 at 9:23 am

i generally just run for the love of running, but i WILL do some speed workouts about once a week just to challenge my body & switch up my routine!

if i am racing, i will wear a matching outfit. however, it’s kind of hard because my shoes are HOT HOT PINK! so, a neon yellow shirt and black shorts might look funny, but that’s something i wear in the comfort of my own home on the treadmill (or in the gym. you’re welcome, fellow gym-goers. i am that obnoxiously bright girl).

i use a tiny green ipod shuffle! i love how i can just clip it onto my shorts/shirt and be done with it. no hassle with headphones or holding my phone!

before i moved i lived in a quite hilly town, so i would run the hills there. however, now i am very limited since moving to the city, but thankfully my treadmill has the incline option!

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Kim February 7, 2012 at 9:31 am

Hi Janae. I love reading your blog – you motivate me to get off my behind to run and your antics make me laugh – it’s not a complete day until I see what HRG is up to :) So, I have been running the last 4 years, not really knowing what I am doing but I managed to get out there and run, completing 10 half marathons and one full (ran this one right after coming off of a stress fracture in my foot). Needless to say my time isn’t the best and I would love to get much faster. I just signed up for the Chicago Marathon and want to complete it under 4 hours. Right now I just get out there and run and try to do a faster run one day a week. Do you have any suggestions on training plans or books to read, etc. that will help? Too bad I live in Kansas City, I would love to meet up and pick your brain…..a huge bag of sweedish fish and skittles would be involved :) Thanks for all the motivation!

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Janae February 7, 2012 at 9:51 am

KIM!!! Your comment absolutely made my day! CONGRATS on 10 half marathons and a full marathon, you are INCREDIBLE!! AHHH I am so stoked that you are going to run Chicago and I know you will get that sub 4 hour marathon! Ha…I might just have to come to Kansas:) I would DEFINITELY read, “Run Less, Run Faster.” It has training plans in there in and great speed work ideas that you could try! I have it on my gear page!! Good luck and PLEASE keep me updated!

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Barb L. February 7, 2012 at 10:42 am

First time commenting…. love your blog!

Getting faster and improving times is my motivation! There is nothing better than a PR! I went from a 4:47 to a 3:23 in 3 years and can’t wait to run under 3:15 this year…..
For me, I got faster by setting goals and consistency. Consistent training, nutrition, and pace.
To get faster in a short period of time, it is ALL about speedwork and hills. Love to hate them but they are the key!

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Janae February 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm

HEY BARB!!! Thank you so much for commenting….HOLY COW!! A 4:47 to a 3:23….you are my hero and you will totally get that sub 3:15 and I better hear all about it! You are so right about consistency and speed work and hills…they work WONDERS and they are the only way to get truly faster! Hope you are having an amazing day!

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Meghan February 7, 2012 at 12:33 pm

when you do long runs outside, do you bring water with you or plant water bottles on your route beforehand? i am always curious as to how people get enough hydration on outdoor long runs.

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Janae February 7, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I usually plan my run around where drinking fountains are. I also just got a hydration belt to carry water bottles with me. What do you do?

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Meghan February 8, 2012 at 6:14 am

I usually put my along a route, but it gets old after a while. I’d like to get a hydration belt! Post how you like yours sometime :)

ps- great post!

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Jessica B. February 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm

So glad you posted about this. I am working my butt off this year to get some PRs. So far training is going well and I am on pace for some PRs. I definitely need to get more hill work in.

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michelle kim February 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm

What a helpful post! I really want to work on getting fast. Luckily, where I live, there are hills all over the place. I do believe that hill training strengthens in every way. I’m relieved that you said you didn’t do too much speedwork because that’s what is hardest for me. The track makes me crazy bored.

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Amylee February 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm

Favorite post!!! I am used to doing a lot of hills. I think that is why I was do fast in races because I never ran a flat course except for in a race. I know speed work really wears my body down so I’m going to be doing more hills this time around. Although I do want to run fast, I really just want to run strong! AND INJURY FREE!!!!!

You are awesome Janae. Thanks for posting this!

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Vanessa February 7, 2012 at 7:53 pm

My goal is to get back to my college xc running times. I know I can do it, its just a matter of putting in the hard work. Its hardcwhen I work with 21 crazy 7 ye holds all day= mentally and physically exhausting I live in a very hilly place…u can’t hardly run anywhere without them. But come race day I’m ready to eat them!! I too love baked potatoes with ketchup!! I love getting Wendy’s baked potatoes and side salad…and a frosty, hehe. :)

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Dina February 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

Getting faster is my number one goal right now plus working on doing more cross/strength training.

I’m running five days a week now and plan on finishing this training cycle that way but moving forward, four days works better. That way I can still fit in cross training without feeling like working out is my part time job.

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Jeff Bain February 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm

i died my hair pink for my daughters school fundraiser, eight weeks it took to grow out. I ran 4:04 in my first and 3:47 for number two, then disaster strikes in number3 4:02. I have not figure out speedwork. I hope to get help by following your blog daily.

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Alyssa February 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm

I really want to get faster, I am really struggling with it right now! I live in a very hilly neighborhood so doing speedwork on those hills at 5:30 am isn’t going so well. I did go from 4:41 to 3:54 from my first to my third marathon, so I know it’s possible! I plan my outfits for races weeks in advance and they generally involve puffy paint. I have an ipod touch but since getting the iphone I’ve been using that. I love that thing like a child.

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Ana February 26, 2014 at 9:25 pm

This I hope helps me. I’m trying to get into the school track team again because last year I was the youngest there. But I was also in gymnastics so I ran a mile a day. Can u tell me any more tips and secrets. I really need to get on or ill be getting crap from everyone from march to July. Plz help!!!!

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