How I Took 2-3 Minutes off My Running Pace

I definitely need to preface this post with I am not a fast runner. I ran track all through high school and when I first got into long distance running nine years ago after I graduated, I was a solid runner, running a Boston Marathon Qualifying Pace like it was no big deal. Nine years, two kids, and a lot of inconsistency with running, and my pace has slowed down dramatically. 

I picked up running again two years ago when we were living in Georgia. Never doing long races, but an occasional 5k here and there. I ran very slow, sometimes averaging as high as 13 minute miles. I surely thought that all my dreams of ever making it into the Boston Marathon were shot. But running is something that I've always loved, so it's something that I'll likely always do. 

This fall when I did my three half marathons in five weeks, I surprised myself by running two of those races at a pace just under 10 mins/mile. For people who are working hard at increasing their speed, you know that barrier is like wonderland, and the feeling of getting under 10 minutes is really just the best. Since then, I've been averaging a lot of runs even faster, at about 9:45-9:30, and sometimes popping up a little over 10 minutes, but for the most part, I'm in a season of getting faster and stronger. I had someone ask me yesterday to share what I did to get faster, so that's what I'll touch on in today's post. 

Increase Mileage: If you want faster legs, you'll need to increase the mileage that you're putting on them, no matter what race you're training for. If you're training for a 5k, but consistently work yourself up to running 6 miles at a time, come race day, those 3 miles will be so much easier, and you can push yourself harder because you know you have less miles to work through. I've noticed as I've put in more effort throughout the week, and run 5 days a week instead of 3, that I'm stronger, and have more endurance to push harder in my races. 

Join A Running Club: This used to intimidate me so much. I've always looked into running clubs, but never joined because I was so slow and thought that I would be running by myself all the time and that I wouldn't be able to keep up, but that hasn't been the case at all! There are literally so many people, running at paces all across the board. Some ladies that I've become really good friends with run a bit faster than I normally would run on my own, so I'm forced to keep up with them when we do our group runs. They're averaging low 9 minute miles sometimes, so if I wanna hang, I gotta keep up, instead of doing 11 minute miles like my brain often wants to do. I'm a member of the Utah Running Club, and I love it so much. 

Do Speed Work: No one likes hearing this right? Speed work gives me flash backs to suppressed high school memories, that I try to forget about, but it's true, if you want to get faster, if Boston is the goal, you NEED speed workouts. I try to get this in 1-2 times per week. Yesterday I did 6 x 300m hill repeats, next week I have 7 x 400m at 5k pace. These workouts are shorter than a typical weekend long run, but the effort is so much greater. If you can get your legs pushing and working hard during speed workouts, it will translate over to those longer runs! Right now I'm doing a modified version of the Hal Higdon Half Marathon Advanced training program, and I like it because it has the speed workouts already there for you. You just have to go and do them. 

Hire A Running Coach: This isn't something I've done yet, but I'm in the lottery for the NYC Marathon, and if I make it through the lottery, Derek and I have already agreed on me hiring a coach. This race will truly be a once in a lifetime chance for me, and I want to feel like I belong in NYC, and that I know I've done all I can to be my best come race day. It's a dream to run all the World Marathon Majors, and NYC will be the first of six boxes to cross off. 

These are all my tips for how I've been increasing my speed, if you have anything that's worked for you, I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!


  1. I've been wanting to speed up my running speed! I have a love/hate relationship with running and I'm trying to work on my endurance. Thanks for the tips! xo


  2. I love my hills, my running partner hates me, because I usually run them last, or right before a slight downhill home. Gotta give yourself some fun on the way home. We run up the hill and as long as no one pukes or passes out we Keep on going. Hills are my favorite worst enemy.

  3. Need to try it!<3