Increase Running Speed

In this article, we’ll address what I consider to be the critical training components that are a part of every successful speed development program to increase running speed of your athletes.

After all, the fastest athletes on any team and in any sport are almost always the quickest and fastest on the field or the court. and every coach and athlete wants to know the most effective methods to increase running speed.

So the question becomes: what are the training elements that must be addressed in order accomplish this goal?

To start, no athlete can be expect to succeed with their speed training if they aren’t properly warmed up. Many programs still use that old school warm up philosophy of jogging around the field a couple times, getting in a circle and holding static stretches as the whole team counts to 10. Now, I don’t know any sports that require holding a stretch for an extended period of time in order to get prepared to compete or practice. That being the case, such an outdated warm up philosophy is not going to increase running speed.

Instead, athletes must do a dynamic warm up that progresses from slow, simple movements like jogging and skipping to the high intensity speed drills that actually prepare them for an intense practice.

Another critical element to speed development is that of improving coordination. Moving the limbs at the speeds required to get faster requires very high levels of coordination. Even the best athletes overestimate their ability to properly do speed drills or go through a series on an agility ladder. That’s why I often do these types of drills at the beginning of the season to give them a first hand experience that shows them just how much room for improvement they have.

One overlooked training element that is proven to increase running speed is that of regular focus on improving flexibility. We often hear about the role of stride length in speed development. And it makes sense that, all other things being equal, if Athlete A has a longer stride length than Athlete B, than Athlete A will always beat Athlete B. Thus a more flexible athlete will clearly cover more distance with each step, but without exerting any extra effort. The benefits to this are clear. If athletes cover more ground with each step, not only will they get to where they want to go quicker, but it will also take less steps to get there.

The three elements that I have discussed so far are all important supplements to any speed training program. However, at the end of the day, improving any athlete’s ability to run as fast as they can is dependent on one thing: training fast. The only way to run faster is to practice running at full speed.

As obvious as this seems, many programs confuse what real speed development actually is. Sprints with short rest periods (less than 2 minutes, minimum), interval training at medium intensities (less than 95-100% intensity) and runs lasting longer than approximately 8 seconds are all common training components that will not improve any athlete’s top speed. As long as your intent is to increase running speed, you must make these training elements an active part of your program, especially the final point regarding how I defined true speed training.

Train hard, work smart, get fast!

Patrick is the owner of Athletes’ Acceleration Inc., your final resource for developing the fastest athletes. To learn more about speed training and to access Patrick’s free Speed Training Report – Secrets to Developing Dominant Speed – go to