The need for speed

by Khushboo on June 7, 2012

At the start of the year, I set several resolutions including one running-related:

Improve my running pace to an 8.45 min/mile

Although I’m still working my way towards reaching that goal, I am pleased to say that I’ve definitely made progress.  Last week I unexpectedly ran my fastest four miles in 35 minutes and 55 seconds.  I say unexpectedly because it was one of those runs which I really couldn’t be bothered to do, but once I started going it was like a surge of energy had hit my legs.

Because my runs have been hovering between the 9 -10 min/mile pace for as long as I can remember, seeing my average pace start off with an 8 is a HUGE deal for me.  It has definitely motivated me to crush my New Year’s resolution soon.  Rather than just one reason, there are several factors which I can attribute my improvement to:

  • Consistent strength training: Apparently squatting (and lunging) does more than just make me look like a girl in a Flo-Rida video.  Simply put, the more muscle you have, the stronger you are.  As a result your legs are stronger and more powerful to carry you faster and farther.
  • High Intense Interval Training (HIIT) Workouts: Truth be told, HIIT runs are sometimes a bee-yatch to do.  Fortunately the more I do them, the faster I seem to adapt.  In terms of speed, these kinds of sessions teach your body to make an uncomfortable pace more comfortable.   Also because they’re more demanding on your body, HIIT workouts can help increase your overall cardiovascular fitness.

  • Adequate fuel: I posted about this a few weeks ago and this run just reinforced my outlook: food is fuel.  I ate a bowl of oats with yogurt, Sunwarrior protein powder, and fruit about 2 hours beforehand. That with a caffeine rush cuppa coffee 30 minutes before my run provided me with enough energy without making me feel weighed down.
  • Quality > quantity:  I personally believe that less is more.  Since January, I’ve limited my runs to 3 times a week at the most.  As a result, my legs feel fresh, I’m mentally more revved up before each run and I go in wanting to give it my all (well a majority of the time ;) ).
  • Patience: Thirty seconds in life is negligible yet when you’re running, even a difference of 5 seconds is a big deal.  It’s impossible to shave chunks of your pace overnight so be patient.  As long as you put in the effort, you will improve over time

If you’re a runner, what has helped you improve your performance?

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Parita June 7, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Your dedication is awesome, and it truly motivates me to push myself a little bit more. And I agree, when you strength train, your cardio workouts go to a different level!

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Khushboo Thadani June 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Thanks, P- it’s funny but seeing myself progress motivates me even more!

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Alex @ therunwithin June 7, 2012 at 11:02 pm

These are all great ways to increase your speed, I got faster with strength training for sure. Good luck!

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Khushboo Thadani June 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Thanks Alex- it seems like strength training is key for getting faster!

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Brittany June 8, 2012 at 12:39 am

I love this, I run around a 9-10 min mile and would love to get in the 8 min range. I find that when I run multiple times a week, and mix in a few spin classed I am able to push harder and faster.

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Khushboo Thadani June 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm

I need to attend a spinning class soon- I keep putting it off but I know from past classes (I’m talking over a year ago) that I love it!

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Krystal@Ms.Random June 8, 2012 at 1:07 am

A huge THUMBS up lady!!! That is really great you know the running or Gosling…shhh I’m sort of drooling as I write LOL I am trying to work on my running skills as well, hope the weather clears up so I can get outside.

None the less keep it up!!!

XX

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Khushboo Thadani June 8, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Haha Ryan Gosling is total eye candy ;) !

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Tessa Merrick (@Tessa8m) June 8, 2012 at 5:57 am

This is great Khushboo! I like that you have a plan in mind for increasing speed…sometimes people try and get faster with no plan at all, and end up injured and not really anywhere else! Well people I know :)
I know ST helped me out a lot, as did track workouts!

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Khushboo Thadani June 8, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Thanks Tess! I completely agree about going in with a plan- with any sport, doing too much too soon (or without a specific direction) is just asking for an injury!

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Honey What's Cooking June 8, 2012 at 9:09 am

I’m so not a runner.. so I can’t contribute. Before I hit the gym I do eat oatmeal or a banana… it helps me. OMG, i just did a post on yogurt oatmeal on friday’s favorite things, it’s SO good. I wish I had your kind of determination, when I run my boobs hurt. :-(

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Reena June 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Awesomeness!!! Ur a great inspiration!!

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Khushboo Thadani June 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Thanks Reena, I appreciate the encouragement :)

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Khushboo Thadani June 8, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Hahah I guess that’s one of the few advantages of not being “well-endowed” :) ! Oats with yogurt is the best- it’s been my go-to breakfast every single day for the past 3 months!

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Errign June 8, 2012 at 5:46 pm

I think HIIT is a great thing – I definitely saw huge speed gains when I was able to run. Nowadays, I’ve pretty much accepted that my body doesn’t like me to run too much or very fast, so I stick with steady, slow, short runs…booo!

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Khushboo Thadani June 9, 2012 at 12:53 pm

I think it’s great you’re listening to your body and hey, any running beats no running :) !

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forgottenbeast June 8, 2012 at 7:10 pm

I almost never run–which means it’s definitely true that weightlifting helps, because the once a month (at most) I DO run, I’m not out of shape for it, even though all I do otherwise is lift weights.

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Khushboo Thadani June 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm

It’s funny because despite the rest breaks in between each set, I find that weight lifting has helped with my endurance too. Maybe it’s a placebo effect but whatever it is, I’ll take it :) !

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Renee Andrea Reddy June 9, 2012 at 11:03 am

Awesome sauce for getting closer to your goal running pace, go you! YAY for progress! I’m not a runner…although I would like to be…I love running etc just haven’t been doing enough of it! I’ve recently been doing a lot of HIIT training and I’ve definitely felt like it’s helped my endurance during my normal cardio workouts even strength workouts to a degree!

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Khushboo Thadani June 9, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Thanks Renee. That’s awesome you’ve embraced HIIT- it’s crazy how even 20-minutes of HIIT can bring in SO many benefits!

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