Keeping the US Navy Updated on the Physical Readiness Program

Training Tips

Simple Ways To Improve Your Running Speed

How to up your cardio, improve your running speed and make the most of your COVID containment.

Gyms are closed

The NAVY-PRT spring cycle has been cancelled.

Your training goals have been derailed.

Here at our goal is to provide you with up to date information on the PRT as well as excellent content and training tips. Guest author David Dack will share some tips to improve your running speed. Cardio is still a major part of the PRT and running is something that can still be done safely during this crisis. Use your time wisely and come out of this containment stronger and faster than ever before!

Getting Started

Ask any runner about their training goals, and they’d likely express their desire to run faster. Speed is valuable regardless of your fitness level and training goals, whether you’re a beginner runner or an elite marathoner or just interested in improving your PRT run time. 

Ready to learn how to give your running pace the push it deserves? Lace up and dig in.

Interval Training

Interval training consists of bursts of intense activity with intervals of lighter activity for recovery. This training tactic might be the ideal addition to your speedwork program and one of the most effective tools for taking your running performance to the next level. What’s not to like.

This form of training is key for building fast-twitch muscle fibers.  These muscle fibers are in charge of intense movements, such as spring up or climbing up a steep hill, and are best developed with interval training. The more intense, the better.

As a beginner, I’d recommend that you start with shorter intensity periods and longer recovery intervals. 

As you build your base, adjust your training approach, so your high-intensity intervals are longer, and the breaks are relatively shorter. You could also design an interval routine that fits with your running and racing needs. It’s up to you. 

Run with Good Form/ Posture

The way you hold yourself while running has a great impact on your pace. One of the most common mistakes I see many runners make is ignoring the biomechanical aspects involved in running. 

Practice doesn’t make perfect—it only makes permanent. That’s why you need to practice the right things if you want to make the most out of your training.

We all agree that there’s no such thing as the perfect running technique, but there are universal traits. Here are a few:

  • Let your arms swing forward and back at low 90-degree angles.
  • Keep your upper body tall. Your back is straight, core engaged, and head up, so your chin is parallel to the ground.
  • Strike the ground on the mid-foot with knees slightly bent
  • Keep driving your heel toward your glutes on your follow-through.
  • Keep your foot strikes springy and soft. 
  • Focus on taking quick and short strides.
  • Remember to breathe. And breathe deep.

Hill Work

Want to take your interval runs to the next level? Tackle the hills.

30 minutes going up and down a hill will stimulate greater fitness gains than a flat workout on of the same distance and structure. 

Don’t take my word for it. Research out of the Auckland University in Australia reported that runners improved their speed by two percent due to increased leg strength from hill training.

Start your session with a 10-minute warm-up of easy running on a flat surface. Run up the hill at your 5K pace or a little bit faster. Once you reach the top, slow it down and jog or walk down, then repeat the cycle for 15 to 20 minutes.

Don’t worry about the time. Instead, run on effort; you should feel fine to perform another rep after your recovery. If not, you pushed your body too far.

Strength Training to Improve Running Speed

Not all of your efforts toward improving your running pace should revolve running. What you do on your non-running days also matters. Enter cross-training.

According to research, the cross-training activity that will get you the most bang of your workout buck is strength training.

Strength training helps you become better by doing the following:

  • Increasing your running speed by boosting your power and neuromuscular coordination.
  • Improve running economy by promoting better form and coordination.
  • Enhance the running force you can generate every step you take
  • Preventing overuse injury by correcting muscular imbalances and strengthening certain areas of the body that are prone to injury.

What’s more?

You don’t need to spend endless hours in the gym, throwing weights around

Here some of the best runner’s friendly strength moves- added bonus- these can all be done with our equipment in a small space!

  • Pushups 
  • Planks
  • Russian twist
  • Back squat
  • Front squat
  • Single Leg Deadlifts
  • Lunges

Listen to your Body

These strategies will work like a charm for increasing your running speed, but they’ll only work if you train within your fitness level. 

To stay on the safe side, use common sense, and readjust your training approach accordingly. As a rule, follow most hard training days with at least one—and probably two—easier recovery days.

Recovery is key to your athletic performance and injury prevention efforts. It helps restore energy levels, prevent injury, and keep your motivation high.  You may find that you can train a lot hard when you take at least one day off from training each week. 

What signs do you need a rest day to look for? Any of the following:

  • Persistent pains and aches
  • Getting sick
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Poor sleep

If you feel these symptoms, take a few days off to recover. You’ll come back fitter and happier for it.


There you have it. To give your running pace the push it deserves, it might boil down to incorporating some of these training guidelines to your workout routine. Consistency and hard work will pay off. When this is all over wouldn’t it be great to impress your fellow sailors by cutting a minute or two off your PRT run? Now you’ve got the tools you need to improve your running speed- GET OUT THERE!

About the author:

David Dack is an established fitness blogger and running expert. When he’s not training for his next marathon, he’s doing research and trying to help as many people as possible to share his fitness philosophy. Check his blog Runners Blueprint for more info.

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