June 2017 - Increasing Pace

The Question

June's question was from Mary in Hammersmith. Mary wanted to know:

I'm quite new to running. I've been at it a few months now and although I can run for longer and further I can't seem to get any faster and just hover around 12-minute mile pace all the time. Is there anything I can do to speed up?

- Mary, Hammersmith

Simon Loughran
Simon - Middle-distance runner and athletics coach

“Great news that you're able to run for longer. That's a definite sign that you are getting fitter, so I suspect your main problem is that you're not exposing yourself to faster running.

You should check out our article on strides. They're an excellent way to introduce a variety of paces into your training and you'll start seeing benefits from them quite quickly. Have a look at our Break it Up session for a few ideas about how to includes strides in your run.

Another good session that involves a mix of paces is Get in Gear. Once your body learns that it can run at different paces it'll be more willing.”

Phil P - UKA Coach in Running Fitness and parkrun fan

“Agree with Simon that one of the problems is not exposing yourself to faster paces. In addition to your strides maybe on one of your runs try upping the pace just a little for 30-60 seconds at a time. So, if your comfortable pace is 12 minutes/mile you could increase to 11 minutes/mile for 30 seconds, go back to your comfortable pace for a few minutes, then spend a minute at 11:30 minutes/mile, jog again and so on. You can make this up as you go along and just have fun with it.

Another idea might be to enter yourself into a race. People often surprise themselves with what they can achieve in the right environment and with a little bit of adrenaline flowing through the veins. Races also give you a chance to measure your progress and can be great confidence boosters.”

Our Member's Answer

May's member's answer was from Motherof10 in Purley.

Motherof10 - 10k convert

“Mary I sympathise entirely. I was at that point and decided that to get out of the rut I was in I would have some 1:2:1 coaching sessions which were paid for by my family for birthday and Christmas presents. I started the sessions last September and did my first 10K in early February. By the end of April when I did my next 10K I had taken 4 minutes off my time. I'm now looking to better that in my next picturesque 10K at Sydney Harbour in July. For me coaching was the key.”

Thank, Motherof10. I don't think you'll find any argument from a group of coaches that coaching is a good idea...