Two Essentials That Will Make You a Faster Runner

Ben Pulham highlights the importance of Aerobic Fitness and Strength Endurance.


Coached is the official coach to Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon so it’s a busy time of year for us in the Coached Lab, conducting clinics and training sessions.

Two important things that runners are neglecting keep popping up, so i thought I would scribble some thoughts out here in the hope that I can bring them to your attention and you can get to work training them.

1. Aerobic Fitness

Running long distances is primarily an aerobic activity as highlighted below.

Approx energy contributions:

Half- Marathon98%2%

For some reason though, many runners are spending the majority of their time focused on running intervals and tempo runs without first developing the necessary aerobic base.

Aerobic base is trained at lower intensities (conversational effort) so the majority of your training should actually be spent at intensities that support this development (it’s a much easier effort than most people realise).

2. Lack of strength endurance

Because Singapore is so flat, it’s rare that runners spend a lot of time running over hills. The problem with this is that your strength development is significantly neglected and as a result, so too are your race timings.

In its simplest form, there are only two ways to run faster. Turn your legs quicker (increase your cadence) or take a longer stride. When you spend time running aerobically over hills for a period of weeks and months, you build strength endurance and power. The outcome of this new found strength is a longer stride. If stride length increases and cadence is the same, you are a faster runner.

Aerobic conditioning and strength are major limiters for most runners in a marathon. Few I know are limited by pure speed, they’re limited by their ability to maintain ‘a speed’. By improving your aerobic fitness and strength endurance, you will be able to run at a good pace without slowing down.


Ben Pulham is the founder of Coached, a heart rate training programme that helps you optimise, track and enjoy your training. A former elite triathlete who has represented New Zealand at Triathlon World Championships, World Cups and in the Olympic Trials, Ben is a sought after endurance coach who has worked with thousands of athletes and many global brands including Under Armour, Nike, P&G, Apple, Standard Chartered, Facebook, Cisco and BMW.



Comment (1)
  1. ONG
    August 29, 2016 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Do you have a general guide for me if I am using Aerobic or anaerobic during race? example: according to my watch, I m in zone 4 – 96% of the time @ average HR 165 @ average pace 4:59
    Is that Aerobic range?

    During my normal run, my Average is usually in zone 3@ average HR 140 @ a lower pace.

    would you be able to give a general guide?

RUN Singapore is the first flagship title created by Bold Ink Magazines in 2012. Positioned as the only running magazine in Singapore, the publication has since built its strong reputation within the running/sports industry. With almost 80% of all leading sports brands advertising with the magazine and a fast growing subscriber base, the publication is set to be the leading running magazine in the region.


Bold Ink Magazines Pte Ltd
8 Kaki Bukit Avenue 1
#01-01/02 Singapore 417941