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How to do it: Run ladders: Try a 200-meter sprint, 400-meter fast, 600-meter moderate, 800-meter slow. Reverse order back to start.
Why do it: Upping your tempo strengthens your legs and increases your lung capacity.Run at goal race pace for an entire workout.
How to do it: Check your watch every 1/4 mile to make sure you're being consistent.
Why do it: Practice helps your body memorize a desired speed.Loosen up.
How to do it: Relax your hands, shoulders, and mouth.
Why do it: The less tense you are on any run, the speedier you'll be.Warm up pre-workout with a few speed bursts.
How to do it: Sprint 60 meters, then slowly jog 60 meters to recover. Do 3 or 4 sprint-jog sets.
Why do it: These short bursts help prep your fast- twitch muscle fibers for an interval run.On race day, start slower than usual.
How to do it: At mile 1, pick up to 20 seconds below race pace. At the halfway mark, run faster than race pace to the finish.
The benefit: This saves your strength for the last mile (start too fast, and you might slow down midway).
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, March 2009.