How to run fast: Tips from a certified track star

So, you want to know how to run faster? Maybe you’re training for the Olympics or simply trying not to walk your mile run. Regardless of the reason, take my advice, and you will soar past the competition. 

  1. Make a playlist.
    1. If you’re trying to find an easy way to keep pace, make a playlist of fast songs that are about your speed. Your steps should match the beat. It feels very empowering, and you are guaranteed success. Do not, and I repeat, do not, listen to any of the following:
      1. “The Night We Met” by Lord Huron and Phoebe Bridgers
      2. “Drew Barrymore” by SZA
      3. “Somebody Else” by the 1975
      4. “Liability” by Lorde
    2. Now that you know to steer clear of those songs, here are my personal favorites to use. Don’t ask questions, just trust me on this (I mean, who’s the track star here?):
      1. “Beauty and a Beat” by Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj
      2. “brutal” by Olivia Rodrigo
      3. “Break Free” by Ariana Grande
      4. “No Hands” by Waka Flocka Flame
  1. Count your laps. 

Specifically during races and mile runs. This part is crucial. Don’t subject yourself to the pain of accidentally running five laps during your fifth-grade mile run as I did. I was one of those kids who would walk the mile run from start to finish, but in my last one of elementary school, I set a goal to run it. I took off as fast as my little legs could go, which was about a ten-minute mile pace. You would think that my bright 10-year-old self would’ve known how to count to four and stop there, but apparently, I went above and beyond and counted to five. Confusingly, the teachers told me that my mile time was 10:13, but my extended mile run was a little under 13 minutes. They knew that I ran the extra lap but neglected to tell me until after I was finished. In hindsight, it taught me to never trust anyone to count your laps for you. 

  1. Watch out for rocks! 

This is the most important tip. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stumbled down hills on Kosh Trail because I wasn’t looking at where my feet were landing. This misfortune has also happened to me during a track meet. Have you ever met someone who got disqualified in the 3200? You haven’t? Well, I’m Sophia. Nice to meet you! Yes, my spike hit a rock on my seventh lap, and I tripped, fell into the grass field, and ripped my leggings. Don’t forget about those pesky rocks!

  1. Watch what you eat (or drink) before you start. 

When I was in Middle School cross country, I always forgot my water bottle, so on race days, I would go to the concession stand, buy a Diet Coke, and hope for the best. This never ended well. I now drink Propel exclusively before running. I’ve been told that drinking water would make me run faster, but Coach Tribble swears by his Coke, and I feel the same way about my Propel.

  1. Learn how to power walk. 

There’s going to be times when you want to walk up hills; I’ve had my fair share of them. As a certified track star, I’ve learned it is best to power walk up hills, so you don’t slow down too much. My friends always tell me that I walk too fast, but it’s only because I have mastered this skill. If you want to learn how to do so as well, I’ll let you in on my little secret: it’s all in the hips. If you have no idea what I mean by this, take a drive down West Paces Ferry. You’ll see at least five Buckhead Moms using my method. Trust the moms of Buckhead and me; it works.  

  1. Just have fun. 

I’ve saved my most helpful tip for last. Regardless of the reason why you want to get faster, you never will if you aren’t enjoying what you’re doing. You can put in all the time in the world, but if you aren’t having fun, you’ll never reach your full potential. It takes time, but as long as you believe in yourself, you can do it. Push yourself, know your limits, and stay positive. 

No matter why you want to get faster, I hope that I was able to teach you something you didn’t already know. These tips are my keys to success not only on the trails but also in everyday life. Playlists are the soundtracks of our lives, and you should always run to the beat of your own drum. Keep track of your accomplishments to look back on, just like you count laps while you run. In any event, watch out for rocks. Whether it’s a curveball on a math test or a tree stump on the trail, watch out for anything that might be thrown your way. Nourish your body and your mind by eating and drinking to replenish your energy. Make life more enjoyable by staying hydrated with your drink of choice (I would strongly recommend Propel!). When life seems hard and you feel like you can’t run anymore, power walking is a great skill to take care of yourself and keep working toward your goals at the same time. Listen to your body, but always remember to have fun along the way. Life is fun, and it flies by, so enjoy every minute of it, and do what you love.