How to be a faster runner

Nike athletes share their all-time best running tips, to help you boost speed and endurance.
By Grace Toby
How to be a faster runner

Photo, Getty Images

Nike running gallery

Speed work

Claire Rankine, Nike communications director, says, “In order to get faster you need to practice getting faster. Speed work is u2028designed to increase stride length and leg turnover rate to help you keep an elevated pace over an increasing distance.”

Rankine suggests trying different types of speed exercises:

Fartleks – The term means, "speed play" in Swedish and the goal is to vary your u2028pace over the course of a run. For example, start with an easy run for 10 minutes, move to a fast run for two minutes and recover for 5 minutes. Repeat.

Tempo run – Try shorter distance runs that start with a slower pace and then u2028increase to a higher pace than your normal longer runs.

How to be a faster runnerPhoto, iStock


Distance runner extraordinaire and our training coach, Rory Fraser (he can run 5 km in just over 13 minutes!), gave us his favourite exercises for shaving time off your PB.

Rory’s top three drills:

Speed drills - They will force you to get out of your comfortable running pace – even if it’s only for short increments.

Pyramids - Run 200 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters, and then reverse the run to 400 meters and 200 meters.

Run hills - You may dread this but they are one of the best ways to improve your runs.

two women running in the hillsPhoto, Masterfile

Track workouts

Nike master trainer and former NFL football player, Alex Molden, shares some of his best off-trail tips to help you run faster.

Resistance exercises: With a rope or belt around your waist, run forward as your partner pulls.

Stair climbing: Get outside, find some stairs, and run up as fast as you can

Lateral exercises: Perform this outdoors or on a treadmill and run laterally, increasing your speed as you improve.

High-knee sprints: Get your knees up to 90 degrees, and your arms should go from cheek (face) to cheek (bum).

Plyometric exercises: Perform several sets of jump training exercises such as jumping lunges and squats.

Woman running up the stairsPhoto, Getty Images

Track your diet

One of the fastest female sprinters in the world, Carmelita Jeter, says, it wasn't until she was 34-years-old that she realized how important diet had become with age. She recommends keeping track of what you eat on a daily basis and reevaluating it from time to time. Carmelita’s favourite on-the-go tips: pack a ziplock with (measured) protein powder, and then add it to your water bottle. Carry low-sugar protein bars with you.  Her go-to lunch or dinner is baked fish or chicken with lots of vegetables and brown rice. But from time to time, she will indulge in her favourite treat – a cupcake.

How to be a faster runnerPhoto, Masterfile


Marie Purvis, Nike Training Club master trainer believes that taking time to stretch after each workout session is integral to the training.

When you’re travelling or pressed for time and space, Purvis suggests packing a portable tennis ball to massage muscles. Place the ball under each leg and work it from the top of your glutes down to your ankle. Then work the ball down each side of the leg, starting at the hip. For tight, hard-to-reach traps, lie on your back with the ball in the centre of the muscle, rotating until it reaches every inch.  

Girl stretching before a runPhoto, Getty Images

Grace Toby travelled to Nike's Zoom Speed Camp, in Beaverton, Oregon, to train with some of the country's top runners. Here's what she learned:



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