Today, I set two records. One for my fastest mile and one for my fastest 5K. Exciting! My fastest mile was 11:14, and as you can see, my fastest 5K is now 36:50, or 11:53 per mile. I'm thrilled about this because it's a big improvement over where I started.
I began this running program mid-December 2015, and when I started I was running a 15-minute mile. My husband, who coaches me, told me not to concentrate on my time at that point. He said that if I stayed a consistent runner that I would naturally get faster. He was right!
Over the last 20+ months, I have watched my speed improve little by little. During that time my body has become stronger, my lungs have become accustom to running, and I've lost 36 pounds. All of this has combined to help me reduce my speed without giving it a lot of effort to do so. But there's something else that helped today, which is cadence.
Last week, my husband mentioned to me while out on one of his runs (I bike next to him while he does his runs), that to run faster you don't want a longer stride. Longer strides are for sprinters.Yet when you want to pick up the pace you kind of naturally go for a longer strive. Longer distance runners who want to run faster should focus on their running cadence. Your cadence is how many times you are putting your foot down per minute. If you want to run faster, shorten up your stride and get your legs taking more foot strikes per minute. You get into a rhythm of doing this and it does take some focus so that you are not trying to take longer strides to go faster, but it honestly works.
My next run out I put it into action and sure enough, my time was a bit faster. Today, during the last 1.5 miles of my run I focused on my cadence in order to have a faster speed. It worked! I set two running time records for me as a result of focusing on my running cadence.
The next time you are out on a run, give it a try. Focus on taking shorter strides, but getting more foot strikes to the ground. You will fall into a groove if you concentrate and your speed will likely be faster.