Breaking Through The Running Plateau

Ever feel stuck with your running? You had made a bunch of improvements, maybe had a massive couple of Personal Bests yet all of the sudden you’ve hit a plateau and aren’t getting any faster?  Plateaus can be very frustrating because we as a society always want to improve.  We want results and we want them now.  We are a very instant gratification species and while that means we are often successful it also means we often give up when the going gets tough, or we aren’t seeing the results we envision in our minds.

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Plateaus are not necessarily a bad thing, and in all honesty they are pretty much unavoidable.  We cannot continue to grow on a linear pattern but rather training and life in general is full of peaks and valleys and of course flat lines.  There are many reasons that you could be hitting a plateau in your training and before you can move forward breaking through that plateau you need to think about what type of barrier it is that you are facing with this plateau.  Are you over trained and risking burnout? Are you overwhelmed with things that you have going on in life? Maybe you are overly fixated on your goal? Do you need to make a change in your training?  Before you can move forward you do need to figure out exactly what it is that is causing the plateau.

But this little article is not all about the barriers of training that may be affecting your running, that is a whole different set of tips.  Today I wanted to share with you some tips to run a little bit faster and break through that feeling of you’ve hit a wall with your training.

Run with purpose
The whole idea of quality vs. quantity.  Now depending on your goals then you may want quantity as well but the idea behind the quantity is also to ensure that they are quality miles. Run with purpose.   Most runners spend a lot of time somewhere in between recovery miles and pushing themselves, that endurance mileage pace, which is great when you are first starting out but will get you stuck quickly.  Cut out the junk miles where you are just running and create a schedule with purpose, include interval workouts with your running. Workouts that push you outside your comfort zone a bit.

Pay Attention to Your Form
If you have made the change to your training to include more interval, speed, hill, and etc work you are also at a risk of injury if you are not running properly.  May not think that your form can really give you that much of a boost when it comes to running but if you are wasting a lot of energy with your running you are wasting time.  Running is a forward movement and many of us have running dynamics that cause you to rotate, send movement sideways, and all over the place.  To run efficiently you want all your power and energy to move forwards.

Here are some quick running form tips to help you improve your form and focus your energy forwards:

1. Run tall, slouching or leaning from the waist is very common with new runners and comes often from runners trying to perfect the idea of the forward lean.  The forward lean comes from the ankles rather your waist and will come fairly naturally if you have good posture.  So rather than focusing on leaning forward focus on maintaining good, tall posture.  This will also help you engage your core.
2. Look straight ahead at the horizon, not down at your feet.  When you stare down at your feet you will project your energy down into the ground rather than forward where you are headed.
3. Elbows at about 90 degrees or less and think about driving them forward in a straight line verses across your body.  You drive your arms forward the rest of your body will follow you.
4. Making contact with the ground through your feet underneath your body rather than reaching or stretching your leg out in front of your body.

Strength Training
The thought process behind strength training for endurance athletes is changing, even from when I was in college where we rarely did any strength training besides some core work.  Running is all about power and power comes from your muscles and you build up your muscles with strength training (that is my laymans thought process behind the purpose of strength training).  On top of that you can improve mobility, functional strength, fix imbalances, and help prevent injury.

You don’t have to be crazy with your strength training for it to be effective, in fact the more simple you keep it the easier it will be for you to get it done.  You also don’t need to strength train for hours and hours every day a week, just two to three days a week for 30 to 40 minutes can be very beneficial.

Lastly, remember to give yourself a break. Do not beat yourself up with a continued stall, as in life they happen.  Keep your head up and never forget to have fun with running.  The more fun you have the easier and more smoothly running will be.

CHEERS!!!
Kayla

PS. Still feeling stuck? Not sure how to implement the above topics? Lets chat!!! Where Your Feet Take You offers run specific coaching and I’d love to help!! Email me at whereyourfeettakeyou@gmail.com.

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