5 Reasons Why You Aren't Getting Any Faster

Imagine: You just saw an awe-inspiring motivational post from your friendly neighborhood Fleet Feet. 

“Wow, I really want to run fast and be awesome,” you think. (Maybe you scream it aloud from a mountain top, I don’t know)

The point is, you're inspired. You’ve had your ups and downs as a runner, but you’re ready to put all that behind you and get out there and scorch the pavement. Your PRs are waiting for you, there’s only one thing in the way: Yourself!

Before you download a convenient cookie-cutter training program that claims to be the solution to all your problems, consider this: Why aren't I any faster? I mean really sit and think about some key reasons that may have contributed to a perpetual cycle of painful stagnation. Let’s begin with one that I think is all too common for many runners:

1. Too much, too soon

Our bodies need time to adapt to the stresses of training. When that motivational kick in the butt hits you, its easy to want to jump from the couch and start running 30 miles a week for a marathon only 4 months away. Please don't do this. This is a surefire way to put your body at risk of overtraining and stress-related injury. If by some miracle you manage to stave off severe shinsplints, I would bet my left shoe that you won’t run anywhere near your potential. 

A solution:

  • Take things slow. Increase your mileage somewhere in the neighborhood of 10% weekly. 
  • Run the same distance for a few weeks at a time, if necessary. Give yourself time to get there, and you’ll see dramatic improvements. 
  • Patience is a virtue. 

2. You aren't recovering properly

The next despicable error comes in the form of recovery, or lack thereof. You’re going to have to work hard at the things that follow your runs. Rest is arguably one of the most important aspects of successful training. Make sure you have a decent tool to break up the muscle tissue, realign muscle fibers, and keep things elastic. You can find some really great options HERE, and we’ve got everything you need at both stores.

 A solution:

  • Invest in a decent foam roller or stick roller. It’ll be some of the best money you’ll ever spend. 
  • Sleep like a hibernating chipmunk! Your body recovers alarmingly faster when you allow yourself 7-9 hours of sleep per night. 
  • Sweat the little stuff. If you feel a nagging pain in your heel, take a day off and roll the heck out of that thing. You may have just saved yourself a month of inactivity battling plantar fasciitis. (Which by the way, we have solutions for HERE).

 3. Nutrition

You’ve likely heard this a quintillion times from a ridiculous number of sources. There’s a reason for that. It’s science, dude. You have to fuel your body to replace what you’ve burned. Fuel the furnace to keep things burning hot! Nutrition is one of those silent things that doesn't necessarily give you instant gratification which may contribute to one of the reasons it's often overlooked. We love results, and I cross my heart rate monitor, you will get them with a consistent focus on nutrition.

 A solution:

  • Try to take in some protein and carbs as quickly after a workout as possible. Your body will use this fuel to repair muscles, and let you build on all the work you’ve done. 
  • Even if its only a banana, or a peanut butter and honey sandwich. It doesn't have to be a fancy recovery drink that costs more than your running shoes. 
  • Just get some fuel in you. Please. Just please. 
  • Get some ideas HERE

4. You got hurt (Ouch)

Getting hurt can be one of the greatest setbacks and may be one of the main reasons you aren't getting any faster. The deep pit of sorrow that accompanies an injury is something that I wish no one would have to go through. I speak from personal experience, sidelining a part of your soul can be crushing. You’ve just got to stick it out like the proverbial sore thumb. This can be a time to focus on other areas of improvement.

 A solution:

  • Get your core into shape, cross train if you can. Swimming and biking can be great ways to help you preserve some of you aerobic fitness in times of tribulation. 
  • Don't sit idly by and wait for yourself to heal! Continue to foam roll, eat well, and get plenty of sleep. 
  • And again, once you get well, don't try to “make up” for the time you’ve lost. Build back in slowly and you will appreciate the progress and enjoy the freedom of a healthy body!

5. You aren’t taking the right approach

Running fast doesn't happen overnight. It doesn't happen by accident. It takes hard work, a determined spirit, and lot of courage. You must be consistent, dedicated, and a little crazy. When it all comes together there’s no greater feeling. If you haven't ever been exposed to a structured training regimen or been held accountable by anything other than the sheer will of your psyche, you probably aren't getting any faster. 

Fear not, we have some really beautifully designed training programs that will focus specifically on areas that you need to work on. It's not a one size fits all approach to mass training. We seriously care about you. And nothing fills us with greater pride than seeing someone from our training family crush a goal! 

 

Guess What?

 We’re rolling out a new program that will put all of things I highlighted into a manageable routine that is a great place to start and build for the upcoming race season.

The Find Yourself Beginner 5K training program is for runners of all levels. Our focus for 10 weeks is building an aerobic base and sport specific strength training to get those running muscles ready for more miles in the fall. You'll receive a detailed training plan and coaching as well as encouragement and motivation from our group mentors. Wednesday night workouts will include beginning speed work and intervals with bodyweight strength exercises for your legs and core. Saturday mornings will consist of a longer duration easy run. The distance will vary depending on your current fitness level and running experience. This program is designed to help all runners develop their aerobic base and become better prepared for the fall racing season. We hope to see you out there with us!

 

 

As Always, Keep Running! // John von Dohlen

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