How To Bust Through Running Training Plateaus
When you’ve been running for a while, plateaus can threaten to put the brakes on your progress. Here’s how to smash through those plateaus quickly.
Examine Your Training
If your running progress has ground to a halt, take a strategic approach. Go back to your training diaries, online journals or software data and do some number crunching. Pay attention to patterns: how you’ve been feeling, any niggles or injuries, rest days (or lack of!), increases in mileage, and other things like lifestyle stresses. This will be an eye-opening exercise.
What’s Your Motivation
If you can’t pin your plateau down to anything physical, take a look inside. Revisit your motivation for running. Do your original dreams and goals still fire you up? Or is it time to find some new ones? Take some time to plan and strategise and you’ll come back more enthusiastic than ever.
Inject Some Pace
Perhaps it’s time to use some speedwork, if pace is your goal? If you’ve been churning out the miles at a steady pace, it’s no surprise your legs aren’t keen on upping the speed. Consider track sessions, intervals, hill reps and pace runs.
Switch Things Up
It could be a case of over training (or under recovering), so why not introduce some cross training into your running routine. By replacing some of your running mileage with cycling, swimming or even fast walking, you’ll retain your fitness but give your body (and mind) a break.
Rest and Recover
If you’ve really run yourself into the ground, resulting in fatigue, injury, illness or niggles which won’t go away, you’ll need to dial things right back and rest a lot more. Make a plan to introduce more rest days, shorter recovery runs, some cross training and plenty of foam rolling, stretching and recovery work.
There’s nothing like running with a like-minded kindred spirit to boost your running training. Plateau, what plateau? Buddy up with someone who will push you, support you and motivate you and you may well find that your running slump was all in your mind.
Join A Club
There are so many benefits to joining a running club and all of them will help you beat training plateaus. Structured training, access to facilities, coaching assistance, accountability, new running friends, a sense of community, group presence at races… Just thinking about it is making us want to get out for our next training run!
How have you beaten training plateaus? We’d love to share your knowledge.