How to Run Faster.  5 Methods, Plus Full Program

How to Run Faster. 5 Methods, Plus Full Program

So you want to run faster, do you? Welcome to the article that’s going to help you get there. If you follow these principles, there’s no doubt you’ll be a faster runner, and an all around better conditioned, well oiled machine.

I’ve used these principles on myself, as well as on athletes I’ve trained. As a conditioning coach, running is an exciting way to see clear progress by improving energy systems and getting the body to adapt and improve.

Who this program is for

This article and program is for anyone who has a goal of running faster, and has at least some experience running. If you’re just starting or looking to start, check out this program for beginners

Where to Start

run faster plan

In order to know you’re getting faster, you have to have a reference to look back on. Before you start doing anything, get out there and time yourself on a run. Whether it’s 1 mile, or 5 miles, you’ll use that time to measure future progress.

What limits your speed right now?

If you had to go out and run a mile right now as fast as you can… what would stop you from doing it faster?

What is it that determines how fast we can run?

Once we understand what’s limiting our performance, we can seek to improve those areas. As a result, getting faster will be all but guaranteed.

5 Areas to Improve Running Speed

We’ll break it down to 5 components. We can then make a plan on how we’re going to attack our goal of getting faster. We’ll basically be rebuilding the engine. (or beefing it up, if it’s already a strong engine).

  • Aerobic Power, also known as VO2 Max – The maximum amount of oxygen your body can use.
  • Cardiac Output – the amount of blood your heart pumps with each beat.
  • Lactate Threshold – The point at which lactate begins to accumulate in your blood.
  • Mental Toughness – Your ability to keep going when you want to quit. “6 Habits for Serious Mental Toughness”
  • Recovery – Remember, your body improves and adapts only when you actually recover from your training. If you need help, check out my article: How to Recover Faster From Your Workouts

Run Faster – Plan of Attack

run faster plan

Now it’s time to dive in and plan out how we’re going to train to get faster. It’s important to understand that no one method is going to work. You need to include a lot of variety to get big improvements in your aerobic abilities.

First I’m going to give you the methods you’ll use, and then I’ll show you how to specifically program these methods into your weekly schedule.


*From Lowest to Highest Intensities

Cardiac Output

run faster.  cardiac output

Cardiac Output sessions are designed to train your heart to pump more blood per beat. They are the foundation of any training program. These sessions will:

  • Build overall endurance and work capacity
  • Increase the size of the left ventricle of the heart
  • Lower your resting heart rate
  • Improve your recovery abilities, during and after training.

Cardiac Output sessions will be longer, slower cardiovascular training days. These should last at least 30 minutes, up to 90 minutes.

During these lower-intensity sessions, you should aim to keep your heart rate between 130-150 beats per minute. For this reason, I highly recommend using a heart rate monitor to make sure you’re training in the right zone. You can also use it to measure your resting heart rate in the morning.

The Polar H10 is what I’ve used for years. It’s highly accurate and well made with all the features you’d want. It’s $86 on Amazon and worth every penny if you’re serious about your training goals.

80/20 Training Split

Research shows that programs with 80% low/moderate intensity and 20% high intensity training are optimal for performance gains. If you think elite runners are training with high intensity all the time, you’re mistaken.

High Intensity Continuous Training (HICT)

Box Jump.  Run Faster

HICT sessions are designed to improve the oxidative (aerobic) capabilities of your fast twitch muscle fibers.

  • Choose a compound movement, like a step up, squat jump or push up.
  • Perform for a set period of time with 3-5 seconds of rest after each rep.
  • For example.. Do jump squats for 8 minutes, performing one rep every 3-5 seconds.

Continuous High Intensity Running (CHI)

Not the same thing as HICT. Continuous high intensity means running for a set period of time at the maximum speed you can maintain for the entire time.

For example: Run for 10 minutes at as fast of a pace as you can maintain the whole time. Over time, try to either run at a faster pace or add time, or both.

Threshold Training

Threshold training is designed to improve your lactate threshold. Lactate threshold is essentially the “point of no return.” Once you cross the threshold, fatigue sets in quickly and you cannot maintain your pace.

Specifically, we want to be able to run faster at threshold. This means that the aerobic system is able to clear out lactate, and you can continue at your pace, for longer. We’ll use:

  • 3-5 minute intervals running at a pace that feels like a 7/10 perceived exertion, mixed with 2 minutes of walking/easy rest. The pace should be hard, but not “too hard.”

High Intensity Interval Training/Power Intervals

HIIT sprinting

HIIT and Power intervals are the highest intensity training we’ll use, and they should be treated with respect. These sessions will improve aerobic power. They’re also very hard, and will improve mental toughness when done at true high intensity (max effort).

For these sessions, you can use:

  • 400 meter sprints, followed by 400 meters of walking/recovery. We want full recovery before each sprint.
  • If 400 meters is too difficult, sprint 200 meters instead
  • Hill Sprints. Find a hill or use a treadmill with a 10% incline. We’re looking for 2-3 minutes of high intensity, followed by 3-6 minutes of walking/recovery.


Recovery is just as important as any training day. Without recovering from your workouts, you cannot reap the benefits of all the work you’re putting in. As a result, you’ll be wasting effort and potentially burning yourself out or getting injured.

I have a whole article on recovery here. Make sure your low intensity days stay low intensity. It can be tempting to push the pace. Wait for the higher intensity days and then you can push as hard as you can.


Now we’re getting down to business. The most important part to planning your training is figuring out how to split your training up to:

  • Maximize improvements and adaptations
  • Maximize recovery
  • Minimize injuries and burnout

The Program

how to run faster program

The program is broken down into two week blocks. Week A and Week B.

Perform the 2 weeks, then, to ensure progression:

  • Increase Cardiac output days by 5 minutes every 2 weeks.
  • Increase HICT days by 2 minutes every 2 weeks.
  • Increase HIIT sprints/power intervals by adding one interval every 2 weeks.
  • Threshold training, add one additional repetition every 2 weeks

Run Faster Program: Week A

how to run faster program a

Run Faster Program: Week B

how to run faster week b

Wrapping it up

Run this program for 6-8 weeks, then retest yourself. You should see a pretty dramatic improvement in your speed, and you should be in much better condition.

Final Tips

I said it earlier, but it’s worth mentioning again. Training with a heart rate monitor can really help make your workouts more focused and specific. As a result, you can ensure you’re training in the right zone for the adaptations you’re trying to get from your workout.

The Polar H10 is a great, affordable option that can really take your training to the next level. I’m recommending it because I know it’s great.


When you’re trying to accomplish any goal, it always helps to have a plan. going about it without a plan is like looking for something in the dark.

Remember to monitor your levels of fatigue. You can always scale things down if it feels too hard, or up if it’s too easy. It’s your body. Listen to it and make sure you prioritize rest and recovery.

These are methods that I know can work, because I’ve used them on myself and on others. I’ve run a 6 minute mile at 240 pounds using these techniques.

Thanks for being here, and I hope this helps you get a little closer to that best version of yourself.

Mike (Supastrong)
Mike (Supastrong)

Bioforce Certified Conditioning Coach and personal trainer. I’ve run boot camps and served as the wellness coordinator for a fortune 500 company. Currently a Federal Agent in San Diego, CA, and an Infantryman in the Army Reserve.

References (and recommended reading)

Use Threshold Training to Run Faster, Longer

Use High-Intensity Continuous Training to Improve Power and Endurance

The Science of 80/20 Training

How To Start Running – 6 Week Beginner Running Program

How To Start Running – 6 Week Beginner Running Program

If you’re reading this post, then congratulations.. you’re looking to improve yourself, and that’s what I’m here for. By following this 6 week beginners running program, you can start running and dramatically improve your fitness and running ability. You won’t be winning marathons, but you’ll be noticeably better and more fit. So are you in? Let’s do this!

You can skip straight to the actual running program if you want, but I highly recommend taking the time to read the article. You have a goal, and you landed here.. so soak it all up if you have the time.

Who am I To Write a Beginners Running Program?

I don’t usually feel it’s necessary to add a section like this.. but, when it comes to taking advice on anything fitness related.. I think I’d want to know who I’m taking the advice from. My Author Bio is at the bottom, so feel free to check it out.

Now let’s get on to more interesting topics…

Why This Program is Better Than Others

There are many ways to reach a goal, and many different approaches to start running. When I searched on Pinterest and google for “beginner running program,” I found a bunch of programs using nothing but intervals.

Every program I saw was: Day one, run 4 minutes, walk 2 minutes, repeat 5 times. Day two, run 5 minutes, walk 2 minutes, repeat 5 times…

This approach can work to some degree, but it is one dimensional and not a well thought out program. This program will build your aerobic power and capacity, strength, and endurance. It will improve your fitness on a much broader scale, using different methods and building you up over a 6 week period.

Common Mistakes New Runners Make When They Start Running

beginner running program common mistakes

First things first, let’s discuss a few common mistakes people make when they start out with a new goal of starting to run. It usually looks something like this:

First, they think about starting for a long time. Then they finally get out there and start running. Having no program or strategy, they try to run too much, and end up either giving up, burning out, or getting injured. Or, they forget their orginal motivation and lose the desire.

The most common mistakes I’ve seen

  • Running too frequently: You have to build up to higher volumes of any physical activity so your body can adapt to it. More is NOT better.
  • Doing the same thing every time you work out: Variety is necessary to improve your aerobic fitness and work capacity. Repetitive stress injuries are a real thing.
  • Not having enough desire, or having unclear goals.. They go hard for a couple weeks, then fizzle out.
  • Trying to do too much, and losing motivation when they see no progress: Progress = Motivation. Read that again.. small goals are achievable and add up to big goals. You don’t get from A to B overnight. Seeing progress is the most motivating thing that can happen. This running program is built around that concept.

3 Things To Do Before You Start Running

  • Write down your “Why.” In one sentence.. Why do you want to start running? Having a why can be the difference between quitting and winning.
  • Have you failed in the past? Why? Write down what you’ll do this time when you are in that same situation.
  • Commit to finishing the 6 weeks. Finish what you start, no matter what.

If you need a boost in mental toughness, check out my article on 6 Habits of People With Serious Mental Toughness.

The 6 Week Beginners Running Program

how to start running.  running program

Here is your 6 week beginners running program. There are a few terms you might want to get familiar with. Nothing too complicated.


Long Slow Distance (LSD): An easy run or cardio session. You should be able to carry a conversation. If you cannot run for 20 minutes, then walk fast. You can also use any cardio machine.. elliptical, stair climber..etc..

Continuous High Intensity: Run for the prescribed time at as fast a pace as you can maintain for the whole time (8 minutes for week 1).

Max Reps: As many as you can do with good form. If you can’t do a push up, do them elevated.. like on a table or a bench.

Intervals: Periods of higher intensity followed by periods of low intensity. Basically, sprinting then walking. When walking, focus on breathing and recovering. When sprinting, work as hard as you can. The biggest improvements will come from these sessions.

Rest: Relax, go for a walk, light stretching.. no training.

Week 1: Start Running

Week 1 starts off with a test. Go out and run a mile and a half and see how long it takes. Don’t stress about it. If it’s slow, that’s fine. If you have to walk part of it, that’s fine too. Just get it done, record the time, and take a victory for the day.

**Tip: Save these pictures so you can easily pull them up and know exactly what you’ll need to do each day. This is why I chose to use this format, and I hope it is helpful.

beginners running program week 1

Week 2: Getting in the Zone

Hope you’re rested from the weekend. Remember your Why. Each training day completed is a small victory. Do your best, and don’t worry about your performance.. as long as you’re putting in effort, it’s a victory. You’ll notice We’re adding just a little bit each week. That’s called progression.

We’re introducing intervals in Week 2. Just run fast for 30 seconds, then walk for 60 seconds. Keep moving.

beginners running program week 2

Week 3: Movin on Up

More of the same. Push on, have fun. Have faith. Your fitness is improving and you’re almost halfway through the program.

beginners running program week 3

Week 4: The Crucible

I’m calling week 4 the crucible because this is around the time a lot of people quit. They get sidetracked, make excuses or forget their original motivation. Don’t be that person. Finish what you started. This is the last week before we move to 4 training days/week. Remember your Why!

Notice the intervals have changed to 60 second sprints with 120 seconds walking.

beginners running program week 4

Week 5: Almost There

2 weeks left in the program. We will now begin training 4 days per week. Adding an additional day is a big step in a program. You can reap more benefits from the additional training, and can do so without running yourself into the ground… because you’ve earned the work capacity.

beginners running program week 5

Week 6: The Home Stretch

Your final week. If you made it here, I salute you. I get goosebumps when people have the discipline and heart to see things through. The last week will be the hardest, but you should be ready for it by now.

beginner's running program week 6

What’s Next?

If you finished this 6 week program, I have no doubt that you’ve made some big improvements to your overall fitness and in your running ability. After a good weekend of rest, Retest yourself in the 1.5 mile run.

The next thing you MUST do is let me know the results!

If you’d like to learn more about training and fitness, I have a few articles that I think would benefit you a lot: I love the science of strength and conditioning and how the body adapts and improves.. it’s all really amazing.

10 Things You Must Do To Improve Your Fitness

How to Recover Faster From Your Workouts


I hope you enjoyed this article. If you did, I’d love to hear about it. Follow this blog and I can promise I’ll do my best to get you quality content that can help you continue to improve your fitness and get to that best version of you!

Thanks for being here!


Bioforce Certified Conditioning Coach, personal trainer and formerly an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. I’ve run boot camps and served as the wellness coordinator for a fortune 500 company. Currently a Federal Agent in San Diego, CA, and an Infantryman in the Army Reserve.