There is no secret to running faster.
However, there are little tricks you can implement on race day to get you through the distance sooner.
Here are a few methods of finishing anything from a 5k to a 100 mile ultra marathon faster. And the best thing is they have absolutely nothing to do with your fitness level or training.
Take the corners sharp
At a race, as I observed a man moving towards the inside of the turn on a road, he said “I came here to run 100 miles, not 101.” For 100 miles he took every corner as sharp as he could, while still staying on the course, of course. Looking at a track for example, lane 8 is almost 50 meters longer than lane 1. Corners count!
Jack Daniels said that most mistakes in a race are made within the first two minutes, perhaps even the first minute. The most common mistake is going out at too fast a pace and prematurely fatiguing the body during the race. Almost every distance world record has been the result of a negative split, which is running slightly faster during the second half of a race than during the first. While you may not be running for a world record, your next PR may depend more upon you practicing restraint early on in the race.
Preview the course
The most famous hill in all of running is likely Heartbreak Hill, at mile 20.5 of the Boston Marathon. Imagine going into such a race and not having a clue about the existance of such a landmark! This stretch of road is painful enought to people who are aware of it! For a 5k, take some time and either run the course during the warmup or at somepoint before the race. Take note of any climbs or downhills.
Be wary of the wind
This is resolved as easily at checking the weather app on your iPhone. However, can be the difference between a negative split or not. Knowing which sections of the course are into the wind will allow you to position yourself well. This can mean falling in behind a group right before a headwind to draft, or saving yourself for a surge when that headwind comes.
Start with the correct corral
This is only applicable at larger events, where you must provide a previous or expected finishing time, and they put you in a starting corral with other people at a similar fitness level. If you start with people not as fast, you will spend a great deal of time zig-zagging through traffic. While it seems insignificant, over a marathon this is one of the most common reasons a runner’s GPS measures the course long.
Surge after the hill
A study determined that athletes who took the ascent of a climb easier than competitors but attacked at the top or at the bottom, when their fellow athletes were fatigued, had more success. This was because common practice is to attack at the start of a climb, but athletes who did that could not respond to the attack at the top or bottom.
Practice these during your training runs.
Implement them during your races