Mitchum Q&A 4: How to Get Faster

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11/05/2011 at 10:58

Hello folks,

This lunchtime (1-2pm) we're joined by GB international sprinter Conrad Williams who'll be answering your questions about speed - how to improve your raw speed, what training sessions work and how to hit your potential.

Mitchum athlete Conrad Williams was born in Jamaica and is trained by Linford Christie in London.
Conrad ran the opening leg as Great Britain won 4x400m silver at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009. Prior to his efforts in the German capital he won 400m silver at the British Championships and also represented Britain in the relay at the European Team Championships in Portugal.

We're opening the discussion now Conrad so can get answering your questions at 1pm (rather than having to deal with a rush of questions at once). 


11/05/2011 at 11:59
How important are the arms when you are trying to run fast?
11/05/2011 at 12:42

Hi Conrad

I'm currently training for a half marathon, the furthest distance i've run is 6 miles and the marathon is in a few months time! How would you suggest i build up my running e.g how frequently should I be running? 

11/05/2011 at 12:44

Afternoon Conrad,

do you have any favourite drills for increasing the turnover rate for your legs?


11/05/2011 at 12:45

Hi Conrad,

I'd be interested in knowing how much time do you dedicate to flexibility and how important you feel it is for middle distance specialists compared to pure sprint distance runners.

Also, do you or any other sprinters you know incorporate hill running into your training (e.g.springing, bounding) as a form of plyometric exercise?

Thanks very much

Edited: 11/05/2011 at 12:45
11/05/2011 at 12:54
How important is strength training as part of getting faster and what sort of training should a young (would be) sprinter begin with?
11/05/2011 at 12:54

Hi Conrad,

I would be interested in finding out the most effective training drills to increase my sprinting speed and how often I should be doing them?

Thank you. 

11/05/2011 at 12:55
I just ran my first competitive 10k however the last 1k was all up hill so I was running at my maximum effort but found I had plenty left in my legs once I had reached the flat finish line.
The next 10k I plan to run is a lot flatter so should I start out faster than the hilly race or at the same pace but build the speed up after half way?
11/05/2011 at 12:57
Hi Conrad

What training sessions would you recommend that are specifically designed to increase speed. I have never been much of a long distance runner so want to know how to improve my speed over short distances.

11/05/2011 at 13:00
HI Catherine, good question! The arms are very important as the faster you move your arms the faster your legs will move.
11/05/2011 at 13:01
HI Natasha, depending when your run is, I would suggest you increase your distance every week and also try to increase the pace without putting yourself under too much pressure in order to avoid injury. Good luck
11/05/2011 at 13:04
Hi Ferrous
There are loads of drills that will increase pace and my particular favourite is the
fast feet drill. This involves very little steps with your feet coming up about 6 inches from the floor. It is a running motion, lean forward into the drill, keeping it fast but very controlled.
11/05/2011 at 13:09
Hi Simon, I am naturally very flexible so I don't incorporate loads of flexibility into my training. For middle distance runners, they do tend to be quite flexible also so usually do minimal flexibility work. It depends on each individual athlete's makeup.
I do hill work but this is to increase speed, strength and power. Plyometric work is always done on level ground to avoid the risk of injury.
11/05/2011 at 13:17
Hi Impish, Strength is to help muscles get stronger but it doesn't necessarily make you run faster.
Larger muscles can slow you down but the stronger the muscles the lower the risk of injury!
Athletes under the age of 20 don't need to do alot of strength work as their bodies are developing.
I would recommend a young sprinter start off with training by learning and practicing drills and perfecting technique. Good luck
11/05/2011 at 13:21
Hi LittleG_Star,
My favourite drills are the Fast Feet Drill (as explained to Ferrous above) and also the High Knee Drill (raising your knees as high as possible off the ground). I would recommend you incorporate these into every training session to help improve speed and technique.
Good luck!
11/05/2011 at 13:24
Hi Conran, great fan!!

What would you suggest is the best training for a 1/2 marathon- interval training or straight forward 40 mins runs per evening - 3 times per week.

Best Regards Marianne

11/05/2011 at 13:27
Hi ChrisCrossCountry,
It is very difficult to plan a race in advance without having experienced it, so I would recommend you walk around it to get a good feel and enable you to plan it effectively. Look out for sharp corners, gravel, rocks, grass and inclines as these all make a difference.
I would recommend that you run the first 5km at a steady pace. Once you hit the 5km mark, if you are feeling fresh, maybe increase your pace every kilometer but not dramatically as you don't want to lose your energy or flag at the end. Good luck!
11/05/2011 at 13:28
Hi there

I have just started running and wanted to know the best way to start my training - the most I run at the moment is for ten minutes then walking for 5. is the right way to begin and what other exercises would you suggest?

11/05/2011 at 13:31
Hi Adrian,
If you start by incorporating 15 x 200m sprint sessions into your training, this will help to increase your speed over short distances.
11/05/2011 at 13:33

Hi Conrad

Can you please share the type of over-distance running sessions that you do, i.e.  reps or continuous runs over 400m in distance, at what pace you do them and how often.

Also, could you specify whether you do this all year round or are they restricted to a particular phase?

Good luck this season.

P.S.  Exactly how painful did you find your 800 races this year?

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