And with all that experience I thought I'd give you some advice how to become just as good as me.
1. Of course the base is always the most important thing:
Look after your nutrition. Everything is okay as long as you have it under control. Try to eat as much fruit and veg as you can. As an athlete you need all the vitamins and minerals you can get. For the hard training ones it might be advisable to take supplements. I found it out the hard way. I was slow and tired for weeks until I finally went to donate blood and they told me I couldn't donate because I had a huge iron deficiency. I always knew I had problems to get iron because I don't like meat (though I am no vegetatrian) but I didn't really check that often.
My advice: if you really don't like something special you should better check what you miss (This page can be helpful) and then do something about it. Either you take supplements or you try to substitute with something else.
2. Regular Pace Training: There are two different possibilities. If you are more professional than me you should chose both. I'm usually just too lazy to do both pace trainings. I have a certain pace lap and when I'm running this one, I usually try to run it as fast as I can. But you can also do a sprint training. You sprint as long as you can, then jog for a bit and repeat that as often as you can. You should try to sprint a minute at least. I committed that I'll start this kind of training after the last race this year which was last weekend. I didn't start yet. But I will, I will, I will! Soon.
3. Motivation: If you're not motivated you don't have to run a bit. You won't achieve anything if you just don't want to anyway. Therefore, you need to find out what motivates you. Is it a new pair of running shoes? An upcoming race? An attractive running partner? Nice music? Nature? The neighbour's dog running with you? Look for you individual motivators and try to find new ones all the time. It'll improve your motivation and that's just everything.
I have a friend who actually wants to do sports but he's not motivated so he skips his trainings all the time. He would probably need a partner to run with but that's kind of difficult in his case. He's too far away from me at least.
I am a musical running rat for example: For me running works with music only. Though I started running without having an mp3 player I noticed that long runs can really be boring without entertainment. I can neither run fast nor far without music. And a really big motivator to train longer or race faster is new music.
I also love my heart rate montitor. It tells me if I'm too slow and makes me run faster by beeping (though I don't hear the beeping anyway with my cool music). But it tells me my results in the end and this does motivate me for the next run.
4. Running Technique: If you really want to run fast run on the balls of your feet. You can do longer steps which don't take as much time as if you put your heel down first. Moreover, it is an gentle way to run for your knee joints. But you really need to train this technique for some time. Start with short distances. It can hurt tremendously in your calves if you run a long distance without having tried it cautiously first. Boyfriend#1 learned it the hard way. He couldn't walk for three days. I learned it not quite as hard. I could only not walk for 24 hours.
5. Races: The very best training is a race! Competition will let you run with all energy you have and not only all the energy you are willing to invest in a training. On the other hand, a race is exhausting and you shouldn't race too often. The reason: The more you race the less time you have to have fun with your sport, and fun is important. Moreover, you lose time to relax and regenerate. Remember: Only a rested (and motivated) runner is a fast runner. So if you notice that you don't benefit from your races anymore you should better skip one and take a week to rest entirely. It is a quite good idea to get an overview in the beginning of the season (which is usually around march - in Germany at least) and mark those races you are interested in. Then you can chose as many as you like and commit your participation early so you rather have to race then. If you are quite new in running you start easily with only few races.
In a nutshell: make sure your basic nutrition fits for an athlete, try to run as fast as you can on a regular basis, look after your motivation, try to improve your running technique and last but not least race as often as you can.