One of the standard questions I am often asked by the club runners I coach is “How do I improve my speed”. The answer I usually give is a very simple and obvious one – “Practice running faster”. The answer is easy but the mechanics of implementing what is a simple principle are a little more complicated and will vary widely from runner to runner, whatever their experience and ability, and a sustained and significant improvement in speed  is best achieved through a full  expert  assessment of a runners current profile and  one to one coaching. Following a recent relay event I was asked by one my runners “Why was something so short so hard”. the answer I  basically gave was “Because you were probably running at a faster pace and  outside your comfort zone” and went on to explain that short stage relay events are a terrific opportunity to “practice running faster” because of the greater sense  of competitiveness,team pride and the focus on catching up with and hopefully overtaking “target runners” ahead in the short time available on the relay leg =” running faster”.