12 Tips on How to Increase Your Running Speed

In honor of the Boston Marathon happening today, we’re posting some tips and tricks on how to increase your running speed. Some of these are things you can apply during your run; others are drills that will help you get to where you want to be. Whether you are a sprinter, a distance runner, or a recreational runner, you can apply these tips to your training.

On your mark. Get set. Go!

1. Increase the force you apply to the ground

It’s as simple as it sounds but takes practice to incorporate it into your form. Think about pushing the ground away with each step.

2. Decrease the time your feet hit the ground

As soon as your foot hits the ground, it should come right back up.


  • Hot foot running in place – lift each foot as fast as possible.
  • Run fast with high knee lift.

3. Towing: Tie a rope or strap around your waist

This is a drill to strengthen your power muscles. Tie a rope or strap around your waist, approximately 8-10 feet long. Have your partner hold the end of the rope as you run. Your partner should be holding the rope with moderate force to resist your running, but still allowing you to gain distance. Run repetitions 15-40 yards with high knee action as you get stronger.

4. Hill running drills: run up steep hills at a fast pace

If you’ve never done hill running drills, take it easy at first. This one makes you really feel the burn. Run up steep hills at a fast pace, but not all out – about 220 – 440 yard speed for 100-150 yards. Use high knee action, vigorous arm drive, and slightly lean into the hill. Time each run and gradually increase your speed and your repetitions. Always walk down the hill after reaching the top.

5. Knee Ups: Run in place with a very high knee action up to your chest

Gradually build up the number of repetitions and speed of stair bounding. Take the stairs one at a time on the way down.

6. Stair Bounding: Quickly climb stairs two at a time

Heat and compression have similar benefits to an ice bath in terms of helping out your joints and muscles loosen up. Keeping your muscles and joints loose is important because stiffness leads to injury. Just 15 minutes with heat and compression can have a positive effect.

7. Jump Running: Get a running start and leap as far as you can

With a running start, jump from your right leg to your left leg, trying to cover as much distance as possible. Then get a running start and jump from your left leg to your right leg. As you get stronger, repeat the number of sets and jump for distance.

8. Speed Chops: High knee speed runs

From a standing start, run 15 to 20 yards with maximum knee lift to waist level or higher.

9. Depth Jumps: From standing position, vertical jump to your maximum height

Try to touch an object or wall marker above your head. You can also try a different variation and jump onto a platform (stacked mats or blocks).

10. Power Bounds: Jump between mats from a running start

From a standing start, run 15 yards and take a bounding step onto one leg onto a mat; immediately take another bounding step landing on the other leg on another mat. Use a strong knee lift and arm drive.

11. Starting Down Position Sprints Starts

Have a 30 – 40% forward lean from a down sprint starting position. Head and shoulders should be over the starting line. Once you start running, slowly lift your chest.

12. Sprint Starting Position

Heels should be raised off the ground 2 to 4 inches with a forward lean.

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