Technical Tip- How To Overcome A Running Performance Plateau
By Ambassador & Adv. Run Coach Lydia Palmieri
Putting the training in but not seeing much in the way of improvement? Making changes to your regular routine can bring reward.
There will come a time where the training you are doing is not seeing any improvements in the performances they you are producing, there can be a number of reasons for this. Doing the same training at the same level is always going to produce the performances you have done in the past. As you get fitter you need to set higher targets, faster times and more kilometres to help you keep moving forward.
Of course, when you first start training seriously the jumps in performances are going to be significantly greater than when you have been running for a number of years. The same goes for when you are coming back from an injury, the progress you make in the first few months is going to be huge as your fitness levels increase to where they were before you got injured.
Here are some strategies:
Small changes can make all the difference
Once you have reached a certain level you will be training harder but only see slow and steady improvements. The same is seen with elite athletes, when you get to the top of your game and are pushing the envelope to run faster times you are going to have to train very hard and might only see 1 or 2 second improvements (or even less depending on the distance). This is where the little things can make all the difference, a little more stretching, bit more recovery here and there, and a better diet to name but a few!
Critically assess your training
In order to overcome a plateau you will need to look and your training and see if there is anything is missing. Could you improve the distance and/or pace of the long run, could you be more consistent with the training you are doing, adding weights and core training to your program, or it might even be a case of making sure you are recovering more in between sessions so you can get more out of them.
Improve lifestyle choices
It could also include improving other things in your lifestyle such as diet, amount of sleep and training venues. It is possible you have lost your mojo and it could be a case of running somewhere new and give you a new ‘fresh’ approach to training. It can be quite amazing how different you’ll feel on a run where you don’t actually know where you’re going.
Avoid getting stale with your training routines
It could be that you are so focused on trying to break your 5km PB that you are getting stale just by running the same race distance week in and week out. This is where you need to turn your attention to something different such as a 10km. It might be an idea to start writing a training diary and include things like how you feel before and after each run and maybe make a note of any days where you feel more tired than normal. After a few weeks you might start to see a pattern in your work/social/running life where you can make changes.