When I asked a great runner how I could run faster she said to me "to run faster you have to run faster." That seemed terribly obvious, but there is more wisdom in the statement than meets the eye. Let’s say that you would like to improve you mile time. The first step is to time yourself running one-mile. Unless you have been training to run faster for years, there is a good chance that you can knock 1 or even two minutes off of that time.

Let’s say you run a mile in 10 minutes. That’s a rather slow time, but nothing to despair over (especially if you have not been practicing!) In order to run a 10 min mile you pace is 6 MPH, to get your mile time down to 8 minute you need to run 7.5 miles per and hour.

Go to the gym and get on the treadmill. Start running at your normal pace of 6 MPH, after the first minute turn it up to 8 MPH. Stay there as long as you can then drop down to 5.5 MPH for one minute, then turn it back up to 8 MPH keep doing this till you’ve done a mile.

This is called "interval training" you force you body to perform just above the desired level for a short period then rest at just below your normal level of performance. All of this stress will signal your body to develop greater lung capacity, higher VO2 max (the rate at which your blood asorbs oxygen and distributes it through the body), and stronger muscles.

Now wait a day. You can lift weights or do some other exercise, but don’t run. Then go back to the treadmill. Start out the same as before at 6 MPH then go up to 8 MPH, you find that you can stay at 8 MPH just a little longer than before, when you rest you might not even need to go all the way down to 5.5 MPH, maybe 6 MPH will be slow enough for you to rest.

By repeating this process you can eventually decrease your mile time and run much faster.

If you are training to run a longer distance it becomes more complicated (since you can’t run more than 40 miles total per a week without risking injury) But the principle remains the same. To run faster… run faster.