How to Friday 3rd edition – How to get Fast(er)


Workout – 8 miles, 58 min. treadmill run 1% incline. 

I’ve had a couple emails and comments expressing interest in speed and how to get faster.   Being the running guru that I am, I will share with you what I came up with… my “how to Friday” speal. 

wisdom from Katie.  always proceed with caution.   none of the information is based on anything scientific or proven.  just what happens when I charge up the garmin and put on the sneaks.  and is purely what comes out of my pretty little head.  I read, sometimes, so I’m sure some of it stuck at some point.  so here’s my 2 cents.  which is worth more like $20, but I’m giving it to you lovely people for free.  because I really like you. 

Short and sweet answer – RUN FASTER.  if you want the expanded version…read on. 

A few things you must take into account:

1. Your goals – is your goal to win the Olympics?  Increase your pace by 30secs a mile?  60secs a mile?  or get your personal best.  start with GOALS. 

2.  You should have a starting point.  Know what your 1 mile pace is, or your comfortable running pace.  If you don’t know, go to a track or run a flat mile on the road and time it.   I know that I can pretty comfortably run a __fill in the blank__ mile.

3. Have a foundation.  Before you work on getting faster.  Know that you can run a certain distance, say 3, 5, 7 miles – on a regular basis – comfortably. 

4.  Get to know your body while you are building the foundation.  What hurts, what works, how you run.  I am the last person to get all technical about overpronating, heel striking,  mumbo jumbo crazy talk.  I don’t know what it means.  because I don’t really care.  maybe I should care.  but I dont give it much thought.  You might care.  go to a specialty running store and have them asses you.  I know what sneakers work for me and I know the little tweaks of my body.  I also know I have IT band issues.  I know what pain is bad pain and what pain I can run through.  get to know your running body.


1. OK, goal is set.  Now you have to get there.  My #1 favorite thing that worked for ME, was investing in a Garmin, or gps watch.  Hands down, best running “equipment” we’ve ever bought.  My wonderful hubby bought it for me for Valentines day last year.  if that’s not love, I don’t know what is.  actually, I do know what Love is – it’s how I feel about my garmin when I put it on for a run children and husband when I get to spend quality time with them.  He got it on Amazon for under $200, last February.  Go get it. 

The reason I like this so much is because it’s telling you your pace.  so if your comfortable pace is a 9 min mile and you want to go faster, then you make sure you move your little legs so that watch tells you your pace is faster.  sometimes you may feel like you are running fast, but you are really moving like a turtle.  and vice versa.  this will tell you if you actually are moving fast.  or not.   

2.  Run on a treadmill.  You HAVE to go faster if you put the speed up.  but you have to put the speed up.  no questions asked.  your legs must move.  when you get comfortable, up the speed. 

3.  Be consistent.  doing a faster run once every 3 weeks will get you NO WHERE.  fast.  do what works for you, but routinely incorporate it into your schedule.  at the same time – you have to put in the miles.  I don’t think you have to put in 40 or even 30 miles a week.  put what you can put in has to be quality.  if gaining speed is your goal. 

4.  Do fartleks and hills.  WHO THE HECK CAME UP WITH THAT WORD!?  Fartlek is basically interjecting fast spurts at whatever length of time you choose and whatever speed you choose into your run.  Hills – make your legs strong and use different muscles.  do them. 

5.  Gaining speed is NOT EASY.  if it were easy, it wouldn’t be WORK.  you would just BE fast already.  it’s going to be tough.  the workouts will be tough.  don’t stop as soon as it gets hard.  keep going.  don’t stop at all unless you are hit by a car or run over by a stampede of elephants.  neither of which should happen.  This will help you gain mental strength as well – by keeping it going even when it’s hard.  Also know that you will just have BAD run days when it really sucks.  but that’s not a bad thing.  let them go. 

6.  Pick up some weights a few times a week.  weights = strong muscles = strong run.  period. 

This is what has worked for me.  I have run through having 3 kids, when my pace got into the 9-10 minute mile range.  That is SLOW for me.  I never thought I would get my speed back.  with PATIENCE , WORK, and GOALS, it happens. 

And BELIEVE IN YOURSELF.  if you think positive thoughts, positive things will happen.  if you BELIEVE you are fast, can get faster, are strong and can get stronger – you will.  that I know. 

this post is seriously lacking in fun pictures to keep your attention.  if you have made it this far – here’s my gift to you for sticking it out.  much love. 

marathon finish line. complete misery.


she's too cool. for anyone.


mile 57 of V100. telling hubs to "pick up the pace slow poke!!!"


luke. no explanation needed.

Happy Friday friends!!!!
Tell me your super fun plans for the weekend!?
What are some of your tricks for getting faster?
We are supposed to get snow tomorrow, any snow in the forecast for you?

About msfitrunner

I am a 29 year old stay at home, hardworking mom to my three little loves! My oldest little darling is 5, little sis is 4 and baby brother is almost 2. I have been married to my Mr. Wonderful for almost 7 years (ahhh!). My faith and my family is my rock, and I have a newfound LOVE for running. Maybe it's more of a necessity at this point - to maintain household peace and my own sanity, but whatever it is, it's working for me and I'm loving the racing. The vegan world has been calling my name, so I am testing out those waters as well! That's a tough one with three little picky eaters at home, but I am having fun coming up with new recipes and trying out new things. Follow along as I chronicle this crazy running life, and ALL the craziness that goes with it!

19 responses »

  1. We are getting snow tomorrow which means my run will be on the treadmill. Any tricks/tips for sticking it out on the treadmill. I can get about 3 miles before I am ready to poke out my eyes. Once, when kevin was traveling and I was training for a marathon I got up at 3:30am to get in my long run on the treadmill before the kids woke. I did 15 miles. I wish I could remember how, because I seriously cannot go beyond 3. At 2.3 my mind starts telling me to jump off.

    • I think whoever comes up with how to make it past three miles on the treadmill has the million dollar idea!! I has no idea. Music? I can barely make it 3 before I want to poke my eyes out- if I’m having a good mentally focused day, I can do it. Running on the gym treadmill is a little better for me. Another thing I do is restart the run after 4 miles increments- makes it feel like 3 or 4 shorter runs, if that makes sense? And adjusting the speed/incline frequently keeps my mind more focused. It’s tough!!


  2. Love your blog! You have so much great advice to give 🙂 I, too, have ITBS, and dropped out of my first marathon because of it. I’m trying to ease back in to training now, and since I’m not supposed to run farther right away, I’m focusing on running my short runs faster. I’m trying to lower my pace 30 sec/mile for my next half-marathon in May, so thanks for the tips!

    What model Garmin do you have? Hubby says I can get one when we get our tax return, but I’m not sure which one to get. I don’t need the most expensive one, as long as it works well. And do you have to have the footpod to track pace?

    I live in Minnesota, and we just got dumped on! It was 55 degrees w/ no snow two weeks ago, and now it’s -5 with a lot of accumluation!

    • I have the forerunner 110 – it’s great. I think they are about $150ish on amazon and you don’t need anything to go with it – that is what tells you your pace. You download every run onto garmin connect on the internet – the info it gives you about each run is amazing! I don’t think you can go wrong with any garmin. I’ve heard a lot about the 405, I think it’s pricier. I had pretty horrible IT band issues in the last marathon- my leg just kept buckling and giving out about every minute starting at mile 14. painful. but there was no way I was driving 5 hours back home without finishing that race!!:) I need to be much more diligent about foam rolling! it is good to know that it DOES get better with rest/stretching/tlc:)

  3. Thank you for this post! Seriously, I really needed to read it. I read it right before hitting the gym…. and did 8 miles on a treadmill @ 8.6 mph (and my usual is 8.3)… so THANK YOU for the inspiration. You are the best!!

    • HOLY COW! That’s a great run!! Are you training for something? very impressive and very fast. I personally love the 8.6 mph on the treadmill, my go to pace for a good run – perfect for me, and it puts the pace just under the 7min mile:) glad I could help;-)

  4. Great tips, thank you. Now if my runner’s knee will go away, I can build up some mileage so I can work on my speed. So aggravating!

    No snow here. 😦 Actually it’s too warm for January which is weird. I want cold weather!

    • Ugh, runner’s knee is pretty miserable. do lots of leg strenthening exercises for your quads like squats and leg extensions – you probably know that! It will help for when you start ramping up the miles again. I can’t believe you said you want cold weather! I’m happy until it gets below like 35 🙂

      • Yes, I’ve had runner’s knee. I don’t remember exactly when I got it, but that it was from increasing my mileage way too fast. it kind of put a halt to my running. I had to do lots of leg strengthening exercises.

  5. Great post … thanks for sharing! I’ve been taking a couple of weeks off running to try to get my legs feeling better, but I really like the advice on training to get faster. Goodness knows I need to get a little faster!!

    No big plans for the weekend. I’m not feeling great, plus it’s cold and snowy out. I may just spend all weekend in my PJ’s. 😉

    • I’ve been wondering how your shin splints are doing??? hopefully getting better by resting! I can definitely feel the strain on my shins from all these miles I’m putting in – much more than I have ever done. I think I’m going to ice tonight, and thankfully tomorrow is a rest day!

  6. Thank you so much for this post – this is really great info! Your running really is inspirational and movtivating. I think for me, the tough part is believing I can be faster than an 8 min pace (something about the 7’s makes me think “oh there is no way”) combined with really wanting it. Like so many moms, running is often my only time to myself, and sometimes I don’t want it to be hard :). However, I find myself thinking about it more and more, so I will definitely have your advice in mind.

    The treadmill is actually the thing that has helped get faster so far. Even though I used to hate it, now with kids I am so grateful to have one. I still get bored though, so the only way to keep me interested is to play with the speed!

    • I agree – I think a lot of people have a hard time identifying with being a “faster” runner, or moving into a completely different min mile, like going from 8 something to 7 something. But, the hard part of gaining speed is only temporary, then it becomes easier again, until you decide to up the pace again:)

  7. Seriously AWESOME POST!! Girl, you are my speedy hero and I love reading about what you do! I love that you said it ISN’T EASY because it isn’t and it takes so much work! Great post!

    • I don’t know why you keep going to spam?!?! I’ll try to figure out how to keep you out of here, but you may be stuck here in lonely spam world if you comment. sad:( I’ll work on it!

  8. Hi Katie-

    I feel like the “downer voice of reason,” but I think one other important thing about getting faster is knowing the point of each workout – so run faster on days where the point is to build speed, but on days where the purpose is just recovery, slow down! (Same thing for long runs – in general, probably want to do them at a slower, comfortable pace.) So for me today, I ran 6.5 miles on the treadmill at 8:00/mile pace…and I’ve run a 2:53 marathon.


    • Not a downer at all – I totally agree!! Thank you for bringing that up!! I am all about scheduling in certain “types” of run days, and taking it easy on the days that are not speed days. But you have to schedule in those fast days. Thank you for your input! And WOW!!! 2:53 marathon?!? i would LOVE to know how you trained for that?! Are you training for a marathon now? How long have you been running? I totally want to pick your brain now!!:). Thanks for commenting!!



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s