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Whether you're running a 5k, marathon, or ultramarathon, modestly increasing your mileage (that is, how fast you run per mile) can significantly improve your overall performance. I know what you're thinking. "Easier said than done, Dean." I agree: picking up the pace is one of those things that sounds conceivable in theory, but difficult in practice. But don't worry. Over the years, I've learned some useful skills.

Try these strategies in your training. With BP DOCTOR WATCH you can see how each technique affects your total time, average speed and staging. In addition, you can track your heart rate area, which can help you determine if you're working too hard.

Ready to learn how to improve your running speed? There are 4 Ways to Run Faster.

1. Start slowly and controlled.
Running out of the gate as fast as possible might seem like the most efficient way to track mileage, but it's not. In fact, starting fast and maintaining that speed throughout the race (especially over long distances) increases your chances of hitting the wall, which can add 60 minutes to your finish time. Instead, start slowly, start in a controlled way, and don't worry about your split time being higher than usual. Don't burn yourself out at the beginning, you'll probably finish stronger and make up for jet lag.

2. Change your pace
Many people tend to go as far as possible, thinking they can go further. Instead, focus on shorter strides and faster foot turnover. Taking shorter, faster strides helps your body maintain a more upright posture, relaxes your back muscles, which helps your hips stay in the right position -- all good for your rhythm. Some experts suggest aiming for 180 steps per minute, similar to the pace of elite runners. To find your rhythm, divide the number of steps you take while running by the total number of minutes you run.

3.Take a walk break
Many runners don't walk, but walking gives you the fastest time. Jeff Galloway, an Olympic runner turned coach, developed a popular run-walk-run program called the Galloway Method. He says the run-walk-run runners ran an average of seven minutes faster than the half-marathon runners. Galloway notes on his website that in addition to making mileage easier to manage, walking helps reduce the risk of pain and injury, relieves fatigue, and produces an endorphin surge.

4. Focus on the small stuff
Minor interruptions can turn into a serious headache, so check yourself before you start running. That means tying shoelaces in double knots, lubricating easily scratched areas, and going to the bathroom. If you want to play, make sure your number is firmly attached to your jersey.