These smart strategies can help you to break your PR in no time.

Everybody knows that in order to run faster, you must work harder – but these changes don’t happen overnight. If you want to run a faster race, you can shave a few seconds (or maybe more) off of your finish time with a few strategies. If you want to finish your next race faster, try some of these tips.

Examine the Course

Take time before the course to determine all you can about it. Find out how many hills there are, what kind of terrain you will be on for approximately how long, and so on. This will give you a better idea of how to pace yourself adequately and will also help prepare you mentally for tougher spots. If the race course is nearby, take advantage of its close proximity by running the path or parts of the course while training.

How is Your Form?

Check your form periodically. Every mile or so, assess your running form of your whole body. You can easily waste energy with bad form, so keeping your form in check is a telltale way to keep your speed up. Your stride should be short (with your feet close to the ground). Look ahead, keep your shoulders relaxed and your hands only gently clenched to maintain proper form. Your arms should not be swinging side to side while you run but back and forth. Your hips should be aligned below your shoulders.

Run Those Tangents

The concept of running the tangents is to run the shortest possible distance by running straight lines from one curve to another. Although race courses are well-measured, many racers run a farther distance by following every curve in the path closely.

Don’t Lose Time at the Start

Line up properly at the start so you do not waste time and energy getting around slower walkers or runners.

Another way runners lose time starting out is by going out too quickly once a race has begun. If you push yourself forward too quickly, you will burn your energy stores faster, leading your muscles to fatigue more quickly. This will leave you feel worn down and depleted near the end of your race.

Run for Time

Do not stress about mileage. Relax your pace so your body can push through the entirety of the race. And although this may sound counterintuitive, when training, take your watch off and listen for your body’s feedback. Become more aware of how your own body responds to things like fatigue, breathing, tension, and form. You will be a better runner overall and this can help you to kill your time on race day.

Avoid Bathroom Stops

Try to get to the race start early so you have time to use the facilities before the race begins. Stopping at port-a-potties can slow you down significantly.

Whether you are doing a 5k or a marathon, these tips have the potential to serve you well and help you to finish your next race in better time.