What Affects How Fast You Run?

A stopwatch can help determine your speed more accurately.
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You can determine your speed as a runner by dividing the distance you travel by the time it takes to travel it. Physical factors, such as fatigue, body mass and general health, will create variances in how fast you run; however, external factors including the climate you run in and the clothes you wear will also affect overall performance.

Your Body

Your genetics, physical health, nutrition and body fat all factor into how fast your body can run and how it will experience stress on its joints. Age, sleep patterns, diet and more affect the rate your metabolism turns food into energy; however, FitWatch.com suggests a 250-calorie snack in the morning to increase your productivity. Increase your aerobic core and maintain a consistent training routine to further your general capacity to recover from fatigue and push to a new level of fitness.

Clothing and Shoes

Athletic shoes are typically cushioned to reduce the impact that running places on your body. Proper footwear will ultimately minimize blisters and shin splints, allowing you to run with greater ease and speed. Select your running gear to compensate for temperature, wind, conditions and environment. Women will also need a supportive sports bra that fits properly to minimize breast movement and discomfort.


A good running posture reduces strain throughout the body and minimizes muscle fatigue. Develop a proper form by holding your head high and back straight without leaning too far forward. Relax the rest of your body by keeping your writs loose, bending your elbows at a 90-degree angle and letting your hands naturally cup. Swing your arms between your chest and waistline as you run, pumping them with more intensity to run short sprints, up hills or across the finish line.

Stride Rate

According to premier running coach Jack Daniels, your running cadence or stride rate affects the shock experienced when each foot lands. Daniels monitored athletes in the 1984 Olympics and discovered that experienced men and women runners take between 185 and 200 steps per minute. Take naturally longer strides to displace less energy than continually slamming your steps down, allowing you to run farther and feel like you're covering a shorter distance.


Hills and changes in terrain turn your body weight into a form of resistance that affects your speed. Adapt how you run by experimenting with how high you lift your knees, what part of your foot you land on and your ankle's range of movement. The weather will also help or hurt your performance if your body's unable to stay cool and hydrated. According to MarathonGuide.com, it takes approximately two weeks of consistent running to acclimate to intense heat and humidity.

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