Why am I Not Getting Better at Running? How to Improve!
You may be asking yourself the question “why am I not getting better at running?” Well, your not alone, many runners of all abilities get stuck in a plateau at some point. While there is no immediate fix when it comes to running faster, there are many ways you can get out of this plateau.
Running is just half the battle and you need to ask yourself “how consistent have I been?” To be consistent you need to prevent injuries.
Injuries can be prevented by supplementing running with core and strength work. Running can be hard on your body and a demanding sport. So take the time to strengthen your muscles, so they can help provide consistency in your training. As we all know consistency is one of the best ways to get faster at running.
If you are one of the lucky ones that stay injury-free, there could be other reasons while your running pace is getting slower or your running is not improving. One of these reasons could be from inconsistent run training.
While runners need some time off, there are parts of the season where you need to train more than others. One of the key factors in improving your running is not to let your base mileage dip too much. This means if your running 40k weeks, don’t let your lowest base mileage drop below 20 kilometers a week.
Runners that have inconsistent training periods tend to be the ones that are the most injured. They are constantly trying to rebuild their training cycle, which can increase their chance of injury. If injuries aren’t causing a drop in mileage, then you need to look at your training and find what is causing these inconsistencies.
Try to keep consistent in your training, even if you aren’t focusing on any specific race or goal. You will find your running will start to improve.
Why am I getting worse at running?
While inconsistent training and injuries can cause a plateau in running fitness. You could find yourself getting worse because of this. This is even worse than having a plateau in your fitness and diagnosing the problem can be quite tricky.
As a runner, we expect to make constant progress and this is why we set goals to start with. But what happens when our performance starts to decline and we find ourselves asking “Why am I getting worse at running?” Instead of getting depressed or training hard, first, you need to outline the cause of the decline.
Running too much is often a cause of performance decline. When you run too much you the body doesn’t have time to recover and repair itself. Although you may be thinking that more volume can improve your fitness, sometimes this can be counter-intuitive.
Rest days are just as important as the training itself, so making sure you are recovering enough is a key factor in allowing the body to build strength, muscle, and improve endurance.
So if you are increasing your mileage too fast, or not allowing enough recovery in your training you may be hampering your performance and goals. Make sure you take at least one rest day per week and allow the gains to be made from the training you have done.
If you have adequate recovery into your training plan, the next thing is to focus on the training. A common mistake with amateur runners is that they tend to push too hard, too often. While intervals, speed work, and tempo runs are an important ingredient to your training, they need to be done in moderation. Having too many hard days training a week doesn’t let you recover and often you will find that your pace decreases from fatigued and exertion increase. If you continue this trend, you will find yourself getting slower at running.
Why is my running pace getting slower?
You may be asking yourself “Why is my running pace getting slower?” when you have been training more than ever before. Just because you are training more than before, this doesn’t automatically mean your pace will improve.
Running the same loops at the same intensity is a common occurrence between runners. From beginners to elite runners, we all get stuck in running the same speeds around the same loop constantly. Changing where you run and introducing some speed work can help increase your overall run speed. If you are constantly training at the same speed every day, your pace won’t get any faster and may actually decline.
Intervals, speed work, and tempo runs are an important ingredient to your training. If you allow adequate recovery you will see your running speed improve gradually. Whether you are entering a 5k, 10k, or a marathon. These types of workouts play a vital role in your performance.
If you have been doing regular speed work and you are still finding your pace is getting slower, you may find that the body is too fatigued to improve your performance.
This is the point where running is not getting easier. Every run you struggle to hold the pace and struggle through the workout. This is a point in your training when you need to take a period off from training. If your body is fatigued and too tired to complete workouts, you will get slower.
Take a few days off from running and try to allow the body to recover. If you find the fatigue is still there, look at taking a longer period of rest. This can be anywhere from one week to two weeks.
It is better to allow the body to recover properly, rather than constantly digging a hole. Over-training will end up stopping you from running for a much longer period of time.
How to get better at running?
So after all of this “How do I get better at running”. Well is quite simple for the amateur runner. Focusing on key areas such as recovery, consistency, and variation, will help you see you progress much faster.
Look at introducing speed work or interval sessions twice per week and incorporate one rest day per week. Every fourth or fifth week try to plan for a rest week where your mileage and intensity decrease by 20-30%.
After you have planned these into your training make sure your lifestyle isn’t holding you back. Things like not enough sleep can play an essential role in your performance. Limiting the time the body repairs itself.
Pay attention to your nutrition. By focusing on eating less processed foods and sugar, you can get more sustained energy. Wholesome foods such as fruits and vegetables help keep a more stable blood sugar level.
Last but not least, try to limit the stress in your life. Your training should work around your current schedule. It shouldn’t increase stress but rather reduce stress. Look at hiring a running coach, or look towards a training plan that is built for you. This will take your current lifestyle into consideration and overall reduce stress.