5 Reasons You’re Not Running Faster

You’re running too fast

For distance runners (that’s you if you’re training for anything from a 5k to a marathon or beyond) you’re training for endurance. You need good aerobic fitness. In order to train your body to go faster in your aerobic zone, you need to slow right down in your training runs.

Slow or ‘easy’ runs are a commonly misunderstood element of training. They’re the part of the plan that some runners get wrong by ignoring the pace or perceived effort level they’ve been told to run at and they don’t get the full benefits. More on that here.

You’re running too slow

I know right, point two and I’m already contradicting myself. Well, not really. If you run slower on easy days, you’ll be able to run faster on harder days. Interval training takes practice, and while some runners are still guilty of doing some of their speed workouts too fast, there’s another group that’s nervous to push themselves.

I get it, running fast isn’t comfortable. But there’s also a fear in a group setting that you’ll have to stop early and people will judge you. We all (no matter how experienced) get our pacing wrong sometimes. Sometimes we can’t run a pace that we did last week. And stopping early isn’t a big deal.

Give yourself permission to try and to fail. Step outside your comfort zone and that pace you feel safe with. And if you’re not doing speed sessions at all, there’s more advice on intervals training here.

You’re racing too much

We’re all impatient and want to see results quickly. We all feel like we’re missing out of something sometimes. But racing too much, whether because we want to get that PB now rather than later or we want to sign up for a race all our friends are doing is going to be detrimental to your longer term improvement.

Sure, you might be a few seconds faster after four weeks of training, but is that the improvement you’re looking for? Each time you race you’ll need to leave yourself time to recover which means you aren’t getting in the training sessions that you’ll need for your goal race.

You’re getting injured

If you find that you’re picking up niggles regularly that cause you to take a week or so off, this isn’t going to help with getting faster. I am, by no means, advising you to keep training through the pain. Don’t do that.

Often we want to get a problem sorted quickly so we can get back to training asap. But this can mean picking up another niggle a few weeks down the line. Taking time to sort out any issues you have before a training cycle starts can really help you train consistently which is how you’ll make improvements in your times.

Your pacing is all wrong

You’ve done all the training. You’re faster, you’re stronger, you’re feeling confident. Maybe a little too confident. The race starts and you head off, running fast, maybe a little too fast. The pace is too fast to sustain and you crash and burn. Your PB slips away.

Sound familiar?

Even a few seconds too fast can make a real difference to having a successful race and a terrible race. Get your pacing sorted by practicing it in training.

Want a little help with your next race? Or starting running altogether? Have a look at my Training Guides.