Whether you’re trying to impress your followers on Strava or people at one of the many group runs around here in Fort Collins, Colorado. Or maybe you’re trying “speed work” for the first time. We all have found ourselves running a bit too fast before we were ready, and suffered the consequences. So how do we be smart about starting to “run fast”?
First off, “running fast” is relative to the person. We could also say “if you want to run faster”, so I just want to clear that up first.
There are two main prerequisites for running fast. You need adequate aerobic capacity and adequate tissue capacity.
The aerobic capacity component is pretty common sense for most folks. If you don’t have the engine, you just aren’t gonna be able to speed up. This takes time and consistency of training. I didn’t want to focus on this point too much because there are one million-and-one ways to stress your aerobic system to get faster and the best one for you is going to depend on your specific limitations.
But just because you have a strong aerobic system doesn’t necessarily mean you have the adequate tissue capacity to withstand faster running. Faster running means there are more forces your running tissues need to produce and deal with. If you haven’t spent time gradually building up to faster running, you could potentially run into issues.
It’s always important to put the time in and ensure that you’re body is ready for the demands you impose on it. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting to push the pace for the first time as a runner, or you were a college track star and now you’re jumping back into running after a long time off.
So are you ready to push the pace? If so, start off with short bursts like “strides” or short hard intervals. Layer these in once per week at first and see how your body feels!
Going “faster” really can be invigorating, we just need to respect stress, its effects on our body, and the rest it demands in order to adapt us.