Run faster! Run futher! (guest post)

Hello! I’m Liana from Run To Munch!

I can talk endlessly about myself but I know you would prefer something more entertaining.

So lets talk about running. There’s two ways to improve, you either run further or faster and if you’re really lucky, you get both!

 Run faster! Run futher! (guest post)

Happiness in running… the weekend I ran the most miles

I ran my first half marathon in 2011 (Boston’s Run To Remember) at 1:48:45 by 2012 I cut my time to 1:38:46 on the same course. I wish I could say I quit my job and devoted my life to running, but that would be a lie. Instead, I got smarter (with my running that is).

To get faster you need speed workouts.

The traditional tempo runs and track workouts make me want to hang up my running shoes on an electrical wire and never look back.

First let’s get the definitions out of the way.

A tempo run is sustained effort training runs, usually 20 to 30 minutes in length (but could be longer if you’re marathon training), at 10 to 15 seconds per mile slower than 10-K race pace (if you’re marathon training). For example my 10K pace is 6:52 so my tempo run would be about 7 minute miles continuously.

Ugh sounds painful to me. Instead, I’ve come up with alternatives that I can do on the treadmill or outdoors!

Mile repeats – These can be painful but less painful than say the dreaded tempo run so I deal with it. This workout was first popularized back in the late 1970s by athletes such as Alberto Salazar (yes he’s a fast one). The mile should be ran at your race pace which can be hard, but just remind yourself that after that mile you get a few minutes of a walk or jog to rest up before you repeat. How many mile repeats you do, depends on your race distance but I like doing 6-7.

Hill Repeats – Hills get a bad rep but they’re actually a ton of fun. Okay, maybe running up isn’t fun but think of the fun you have as you blaze down the hill afterwards!

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Before you know, every time you drive you’ll be thinking, gosh! I wish I could just get out of this car and just run up that baby!

Intervals Similar to mile repeats but shorter distance. I like the sound of 5 minutes. 5 minutes gives you enough time to get comfortable but not too comfortable to space out. This was also the first speed workout I learned when I started running. I went from 6MPH (10 minute miles) to 6.5MPH (9:14 minute miles). Within a few weeks, I was doing 6.5MPH without my slower interval. You might want to raise your speed on the slower interval but try your best to stick with the easy half to save up your energy for the faster portion.

Progressive run This one is one of my favorites! Start at a comfortable (VERY comfortable) pace and slowly every half a mile or mile move up your speed. You can either keep going or what I like to do is after 3 miles, repeat. Below is an example of a workout I do at least once a week since it’s my current addiction.

 Run faster! Run futher! (guest post)

1 minute tempo run – I read about this one in Running Times and thought it was perfect for someone whose attention span is shorter than the time it takes to type attention span. Doing 30 minutes of consistent tempo is a little hard, painful and boring (to me). Doing 1 minute is fun! So I run 1 minute hard, 1 minute less hard. I don’t go down to a jog pace, but it’s definitely a little slower than race pace.

There you go, five alternatives to avoid skipping your speed workout. At the end of the day it’s all about effort. You want to make sure that on your “speed” day, you are exerting more effort per mile than you would be on an easy run or even say a long run.

Before you know it, you’ll be finding your inner speed demon.

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Starstruck to meet Kara & Shalane

Okay so you might not be as fast as these two pretty ladies but I know that your personal and my personal best is still out there!

  • How have you approached trying to run FASTER or FURTHER?


Liana is a runner and an ultra-runner wannabe from the Boston area. She loves to eat, run and travel. If you want to know more about her training and random tidbits of randomness check out her blog RunToMunch


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  1. says

    Great post but you’re forgetting one main thing. In order to get the speed and distance everything needs to be in line with hip and muscle flexibility. You can easily increase your stride length and muscle contraction force that way when everything is in tune.

    With that said, I don’t know what the fuss is about running. There’s a lot of research coming out showing that distance running is actually pretty bad for you…

    • cheryl says

      I have been running for 40+ years (anything from 5ks to ultras-mine was a rim to rim to rim in the GC and other local mtn runs) and have posted similar half mary times…(back in the 1980s) I didn’t consider myself even in the same ballpark with the women who were winning these races I “jogged”.
      it’s all same old same old information. I would never even with my background pretend to be a “runner” or give out tips that are common sense to most.
      What is it with mediocre people who consider themselves “experts” these days? Sure is interesting to me…

      • Doug says

        That’s great that you’ve been able to run for so many years, and have had such great runs such as your GC rim to rim to rim runs. I can only hope that I’ll be running after so long. With that being said, I think your other comments are way off base, and I’m not even sure what you’re complaining about. Liana isn’t claiming to be an “expert,” or in the same league as elite runners, or claiming to have the right training to become an elite runner; she is simply saying what training she’s done that has helped her to run further and faster. For me, another “mediocre” runner, I’ve always really enjoyed reading her posts and blogs, even if she isn’t an “elite” runner. Yes, it’s basically the same types of training that others suggest, but everyone has tweaks and slightly different approaches that can be useful and are always interesting. Keep on running and writing, Liana, your posts and blogs are great!

    • cheryl says

      HA! Well maybe for those who really should not be running as they don’t have the body type, preexisting conditions, whatever…but it’s been a source of fitness and joy for me for 40 years. I am the only “old” lady at work who is NOT complaining about SOME malady with my health!

      • says

        Nice!! I ran the south rim on a vacation and it was incredible! I still can’t believe there are no fences along the edge!

        • cheryl says

          North is prettier…get there someday. Better yet, start on the south and go to the north…then come back. You will never forget it!

    • says

      It’s a passion like anything else. You don’t need to run 50 miles a week for health, just like you don’t really need to work out more than 45 minutes a day 5 days a week, but if its something you love, you will feed your body (food, mentally, strength workouts) in a way that let’s you support your passion in the long term.

  2. says

    Those are excellent times, well done!!

    I’ve mostly just done long distance running. I never really pushed to run races well, though with the 80-100 mile weeks I sometimes ran, my times were pretty good :-)

    I was like Forest Gump, except in spite of two medical degrees (MD DMD, I still did stupid on occasion, lol!

  3. says

    Cool stuff. Thanks for the tips. I’m running 9 miles tomorrow in a fun run and looking forward to it! Awesome post.

  4. says

    I love doing speed intervals on the treadmill, but hate the other traditional speed workouts — and just don’t do them. Love these ideas!

  5. says

    All super useful tips! I’m planning to run my first half marathon this year. All these technique pointers will give me a good head start. Thanks, Geoge

  6. says

    I have been psyching myself up over the past few months and hope to run a marathon in the next 3 weeks. These tips will really help

  7. says

    I’ve always stayed pretty fit with weights and power walking, but maybe it’s time for me to go to the next level with running. Thanks for the great post Liana!