How to run faster

20 messages
28/08/2013 at 09:57

My partner has been running for a good few years. She is yet to run a sub 2hr Half Marathon. However, we were talking about it the other night, and she has never had any stiffness or pain after any runs - ever. Even when she did the Edinburgh Marathon, she was fine the next day. 

When she runs, she feels she can't run any faster though, and this seems to be limited by her cardio fitness. 

My assumption is that her physical fitness (muscles, bones etc) is better than her cardio vascular fitness (breathing etc). However, can any one give any advice? As she is getting demoralised by her inability to improve her speed.

Firstly, are our assumptions right?

Secondly, what kind of training or runs should she be focussing on to fix it?

28/08/2013 at 10:02
What training is she doing at the moment? Including paces / mileage etc.
it's hard to advise without any more info.
28/08/2013 at 10:13

She's nearing the end of her schedule for a half marathon. So mileage wise 3,6,4,12 was last week. Her short/fast runs will be about 8:30 min/mile and her long runs are about 9:30. She tends to do some hill work in the mid week run, and/or some interval runs. Her issue is that she feels even with this, her speed isn't increasing. What I think she needs is confirmation of what type of work (wether it be types of runs, or somethign else) will allow her speed to be less constrained by her breathing etc. Hope that makes sense. Her

31/08/2013 at 19:10

what I would suggest is to get 1 mile reps and half miles at faster speed this will increase over time.  Although distaces is good for strengh and stamina, this will not increase speed 

31/08/2013 at 19:26

For me her training paces don't sound right...  I can run a sub-1:50 HM and my long slow runs are done at 9:50 min/ mile.  If she was to put her latest race result into the RW Training Pace Calculator it would tell her what type of runs she could be doing and the appropriate pace for each...  It also provides a description of the purpose of each type of run...  I think that might be a good starting point.

31/08/2013 at 19:54

It's very surprising that she can run 12x9.30min miles but cannot run a sub 2 hour half marathon. But that assumed I agree with Taxi above for someone who can run a 2 hour half 9.30 per mile seems a bit fast. I'd go about a minute slower then that. Maybe for a vo2 max run she could try yasso 800's that is 800m reps at 4 to 4.10mins. And some threshold runs at 9 min mile pace. That is a 5 mile run with 2x 9 min miles in between.

Given her last weeks training i think 2 hours will be broken easily.

31/08/2013 at 20:50

Hmm, I can run ~1:40 HM but only run my long runs at 9:30-10:00, so I'd agree (for what it's worth!) yes, too fast as well. 800-1000m intervals seemed to help my speed, now upped to mile intervals.

But if she can do 9:30 for 12 miles, but not "race" only 21 seconds per miles faster (9:09 for 2 hour HM) then something is really wrong.  Maybe too burned out from training too fast?


31/08/2013 at 20:57

The easiest fix, would be to run more miles and slow most of the training down.

Have her half marathons been on ridiculous courses, or had odd circumstances, or were ages ago?

As people have mentioned, 9.09 (at fastest) for a half, yet 12mile training runs at 9.30 doesn't make sense. Especially not if she gets no tightness.
Ask experienced runners if they'd fancy a 12mile run at 21secs slower than HM pace! I'd say a 6-7 mile run at that pace would make up an ideal tempo run, but 12 sounds way too taxing.

Most likely scenario is that all her mileage is too fast, and like Daeve says she's burnt out. 

Edited: 31/08/2013 at 20:58
31/08/2013 at 21:05

Might be a mental aspect to this too - if she's running these kind of times in training, and if she isn't getting burnt out, then physically she's capable of the sub 2 hours. But if she has a little demon sitting on her shoulder during the race saying '9.09, that's too fast, you're used to running 9.30 aren't you for this kind of distance' then that has a pretty large effect. 

In a similar position - I followed a RW schedule which asked me to do a 10 mile time trial run at half marathon pace. Being in a training run rather than in a race, and having this as a "job to do" as part of my schedule, I got round that and it was the biggest boost of the entire training period. 

I'm not necessarily suggesting a similar run, especially given she's coming up to her half soon, but maybe she needs that run that says "I can do it, see, I just proved it with this training run" to give her confidence to believe she can attack the time.

Then she'd probably smash the 2 hours, to be honest, given her training times! 12 miles at 9.30m/m for a long run? very envious!

Edited: 31/08/2013 at 21:07
31/08/2013 at 21:07
I'm going to have to agree with the last few comments.
Running all of your runs at race pace or faster is sure fire way to burn out.

What plan in she following? I can't imagine it says to run at that pace.
Edited: 31/08/2013 at 21:09
31/08/2013 at 21:18
annajo wrote (see)


In a similar position - I followed a RW schedule which asked me to do a 10 mile time trial run at half marathon pace. Being in a training run rather than in a race, and having this as a "job to do" as part of my schedule, I got round that and it was the biggest boost of the entire training period. 


That sounds an exceptionally tough training session....
I'd be interested at what pace the 10miles averaged at, and what pace the subsequent half came out as.

I wouldn't imagine many experienced runners could do 10miles at their HMP outside of a race!

Most likely would be that you'd overestimated your HM Pace!

Edited: 31/08/2013 at 21:20
31/08/2013 at 21:29

Stevie G., it's the sub 2 hour RW schedule, week 6 of 12. It's a really tough schedule actually. It advises you do the time trial at a race, but I had to do it by myself and just got very lucky with finding someone running at exactly the right pace for me. Couldn't remember paces etc now for that run, I'm afraid! I did 2.06 in the end for the race (Hastings half this year, extremely cold and I played the hills wrong)

"Week Six

This Week’s Target

This week’s target is to run 10 miles at, or near, your target half-marathon pace. This can be at a race, though choice may be limited, or in a time tria"

Edited: 31/08/2013 at 21:30
31/08/2013 at 21:40
Stevie G . wrote (see)
I wouldn't imagine many experienced runners could do 10miles at their HMP outside of a race!

Most likely would be that you'd overestimated your HM Pace!

And just for the record, personally I'm certainly no spring chicken at this running lark! But I am pushing at some of my older PBs in a way I've not been able to do for years. So I've appreciated the need this year for a mental shift, as I adjust my mind to be comfortable with different paces, as well as my body. That's the original point I was trying to make.

31/08/2013 at 22:10

Get the book, 'the art of running faster'. That may help.

31/08/2013 at 22:21

Annajo, sooner you than me is all I can say.

personally a couple of miles in training at my HMP feels pretty darn tough.

10 I'm certain wouldn't be doable.

31/08/2013 at 23:23

That's some superb information, thatnks. I'll let her see it tomorrow. I wish I had known about thta training pace calculator for myself. Can I ask a question about it?

It has a distance and time, and that gives you your different run paces. What do you put in if you have a target time? Let's say she has done a 2:02 half marathon. Would she put that in, or say 1:55? 

Thanks again for the responses. 

31/08/2013 at 23:29

She would put in the actual race time, unless it was a really long time ago.

01/09/2013 at 09:24

So if she only runs that one race, once a year that would mean her training paces wouldn't change. How do you end up running faster? Should you up it every now and then as the pace feels easier and easier? Or should she, every few months, try to run a distance at race pace and use that to change the calculator?

03/09/2013 at 21:20

You have to go from at least a few regular races, as otherwise the zones could be well out of date.

Although having said that, you'd soon realise if it was all too easy, or too hard. But then you'd need the experience to know what sessions, what distances and what paces to use anyway!

03/09/2013 at 23:29

So if I have no interest in doing more than one half marathon a year, but still want my speed on me speed (we're on to me now - and my PB is 2:29) I was thinking reviewing it every 3 months. Could I do a time trial myself over a good distance, say 10 miles, and use that to update the calculator?

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