1) Hire a coach
There are a lot of different ways to increase your accountability, but there is something about hiring an expert that will change your training mindset. If you have someone to report to, it is incredibly more difficult to slack on a workout or brush off a training run.
Be sure that the person you hire is credentialed through certification or education. Make sure your coach understands your goals and does not have a client base full of injured runners.
Some coaches push their own agendas on runners who are not able or apt to handle the training without hurting themselves.
2) Increase your cadence
First of all, everyone is different and the “perfect cadence” is not ideal for everyone. However, the average recreational runner strides at 160 steps per minute while elite runners are typically in the 180 range. Many runners over-stride while risking injury and reducing efficiency.
Increasing cadence is best practiced on an easy run and can be monitored by newer GPS watches. Running apps and specialized music can also help runners be aware of their cadence while running.
It may feel unnatural at first to increase your steps, but if you can slowly adjust your form, it will translate to a faster pace.
3) Speed work
It should be a no brainer that speed work helps to increase running speed. But are you doing the right speed work and enough of it? Most half marathon training plans will have you doing a speed workout once a week and at paces faster than your expected race pace.
By incorporating shorter, faster runs into your regime, speed work will push your heart rate into higher zones. Training above the fat-burning zone on a regular basis will increase your overall ability to run faster.
Check with a medical professional before incorporating speed work if it is not a part of your regular regimen.
4) Increase your mileage
By increasing mileage, you typically increase endurance. Increased endurance allow runners to handle activity for a longer period of time. Each runner is different and some may find they are already near their threshold in terms of mileage versus injury.
However, as an example, a runner averaging 20 miles per week will typically see their race times drops by increasing their average mileage to 35 miles per week. Follow the 10% rule and make sure that you cut back every 3-4 weeks to reduce the risk of over-training.