Have you ever done speed work? It is something I love to hate. Like Ricky Bobby, "I wana go fast." One of the ways I know to get faster is to run faster. Wait, wait, this will make sense. If you train your muscles to move faster at shorter distances, with proper additional training that "speed" should be translated to longer distances. Experts say that proper running form has a cadence above 180 foot strikes per minute. That means that your feet should hit the ground 180 times or more per minute. If your place of physical fitness does not allow you 180 foot strikes, what about 90 in 30 seconds? That is the point of speed work. It is to train your body to move faster. Speed workouts consist of a section of running at 80-100% and a rest section, either a walk or a jog.
The Mayor of Running is famous for 800 repeats, that is two laps around an average track. Dubbed Yasso 800's it is a good test of what your marathon finish time could be. If you run 800 meters in 4:50 on average your marathon time would be close to 4:50. 800 meters and 26 miles AND 385 yards is very different, any thing can happen in the marathon. However this can be a great gauge to predict finish times in the marathon.
There are many different kinds of speed work. Mile repeats, 400's, 800's or Yasso's, ladders, and pyramids. 4X400 or 2X800-4X1200-2X800. The world of speed work can be very confusing, especially if you have never done it. Depending on your goal race your speed works will vary too. Someone running a 5K will run more 200's, that is half a lap. A runner attempting to complete a marathon would be good to train with mile repeats and 800's.
I hope that you are encouraged to lace up and visit your local track. Getting to your local track can be as hard as the 7th 800 meter repeat. Just ask your fellow runners where to run or create a .25 mile route, if you must use a treadmill. When I am doing speed work I feel like Mo Farah or Usain Bolt. But I look more like a fat kid running after a cookie. But all that doesn't matter. It is you out there improving on yourself.
After all if you wana go fast, be fast!