How to become a faster runner (yes, it’s possible)

Physiotherapist and master Pilates instructor Chloe de Winter on how faster running might not start on the track, but on the mat. 

Have you taken up running over the past two years?

You’re not alone. The pandemic has overseen a huge spike in people strapping up their laces and hitting the road. Whether you’re aiming for 5k or training for a marathon… it’s the simple things that can really improve your stride.

As a physiotherapist and master Pilates instructor I may be biased, but Pilates moves have enabled me to finesse my style, speed and form AND are the secret ingredient to my recent personal best of 10k. Something I never thought I could do!

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1. Behind the scenes

Building strength is key to improving your running. The more strength you have, the more power you will have in your running stride – and the faster you’ll go. Your most important muscles here are your glutes, calves, core and quads. These assist with landing and push-off as you stride, as well as keeping your knees in alignment.

For a comprehensive guide check out my specially formulated Running Series. Here are my top two moves:


An absolute staple! Clams help strengthen the muscles at the side of the hips, which supports the alignment of the hips, knees and ankles.

  1. Lay on your side with your knees bent and heels together, with your heels in line with your hips
  2. Lift your heels away from the mat and keep them elevated
  3. Lift the top knee away from the bottom knee as far as possible
  4. Slowly lower the top knee back down
  5. Repeat this 30 times


Bridges help build power through the legs by strengthening the glutes and hamstrings. They also support your lower back throughout the run.

  1. Lay on your back with your knees bent and feet hip distance apart
  2. Press through the heels and lift the hips into a shoulder bridge (*you should feel a squeeze in the muscles in the back of the legs!)
  3. Slowly lower

2. Don’t just ‘run’

Have you ever tried interval running?

It’s a type of workout where you alternate between bursts of fast paced running, and slower paced jogging or walking. For example, you could run fast (around 80% of your fastest pace) for 1 minute and then jog slowly for 1 minute.

This will help you find ease and speed in your runs. Give this a go once a week, repeating 10 times for a 20 minute session.

3. Stretch, recovery is everything

Sounds too simple to be a tip, but it’s one many neglect. When training hard, it’s important to let your body recover between sessions. This allows the muscles to fully recuperate so you can get the most out of them on your next run. The number of ‘off-days’ will depend on how often you train but a good blanket rule is at least two rest days per week.

Stretching is your best friend. You should stretch after a run, and on rest days as well. You can find guided Stretch videos on GoChlo Pilates. Here are my top two:

Figure 4 Stretch

Helps alleviate tightness that builds up through the hips and around the pelvis.

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent, feet flat and hands behind you
  2. Cross one ankle over the opposite thigh
  3. Walk the hands in as close as you can toward your hips and puff your chest out

*Hold for 1 minute then repeat on the other side

Downward Dog Pedals

Helps to stretch the entire back of the body – including the spine, hamstrings, calves and feet – which can reduce injuries like plantar fasciitis and shin splints.

  1. Start on your hands and knees, with your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips
  2. Tuck your toes under, and lift your hips as high as you can
  3. Once in this position, start to pedal your feet like a bike – bending into the left knee while simultaneously drawing the right heel down
  4. Continue to switch, repeating 10 times

4. Consistency

You’ve heard it before, consistency is KEY!

If you want to see changes, you have to make a plan and stick with it. Aim for 3 to 4 runs per week, including your interval training. Add two sessions of Pilates each week to grow those muscles, and don’t forget the recovery!

Chloe de Winter is a physiotherapist, master Pilates instructor and founder of online Pilates studio Go Chlo Pilates. Access a huge library of expertly designed Pilates classes at Go Chlo Pilates today. Visit the website here, or Chloe’s Instagram here.

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