Break through your running plateau with these tips
These mistakes hold you back from becoming a better runner
Have you been running consistently but found that you have hit a plateau? It is possible that you might be sabotaging your progress. Find out if you are making the following boo-boos.
YOU ARE WEARING THE WRONG SHOES
It is important to use the right pair of shoes based on your foot type. This will ensure that you are comfortable as you run.
There are three foot types: Neutral (feet that roll in neither too much nor too little), over pronated (feet collapse inwards) and under pronated (feet with high arches).
The best way to find out your foot type is to visit a sportswear store and get a specialist to recommend appropriate footwear.
It is also important not to run in worn-out ones. The lifespan of a pair of running shoes is typically 700km to 800km.
When you feel pain in parts of your feet that you have never felt before, it is probably time to toss them out.
YOUR RUNS LACK VARIETY
Do you always run on the same days and tend to clock the same mileage each time? That is the quickest way to hit a plateau - doing the same form of training week after week. With no progressive training, your body will naturally adapt itself to run at the same pace.
Challenge your body by varying the speed and distance of your runs. Incorporate sprints to improve your speed or run slower but longer to boost your endurance. Make sure your body doesn't get used to a pattern so you will improve.
YOU ARE DOING TOO MUCH
You might think that clocking in more mileage will make you a better runner. But it is quite the opposite - focusing too much on the distance can damage your body.
Possible signs that you need to scale things back include fatigue in your legs that last more than two or three days after a run and feeling sluggish throughout the day despite having ample sleep the night before.
Here is how you can clock more mileage safely: During the first week of progression, add 15 per cent to 20 per cent more of your previous week's mileage.
The second week, ease off by adding only 5 per cent to 10 per cent more. Repeat this process.
YOU DON'T CROSS-TRAIN
Doing a combination of exercises such as swimming, cycling and yoga is an effective way for you to improve as a runner.
They help to build overall flexibility and strength, and also activate muscles that running does not.
By adding a variety of workouts to your training, you will be less prone to injuries. Better yet, you won't get bored by running . Start off by replacing one of your runs with one of the cross-training workouts mentioned.
YOU ARE NOT FUELLING PROPERLY
Eating might be the last thing on your mind straight after a run. Although a refreshing drink sounds more appealing, it is better to fill your tummy with something more substantial.
According to the National Council on Strength and Fitness in the US, you should have a snack within 45 minutes after your workout. Eating during this time frame lets your body optimally absorb nutrients.
Your post-workout snack should have a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates and protein, which is the perfect formula for muscle repair. One great post-workout combo would be peanut butter and sliced banana on rice cakes.
YOU ARE RELYING TOO MUCH ON TECHNOLOGY
Many runners like to track their workouts using a smartwatch or running watch and use the data as a reference for their next run.
However, relying too much on numbers can prevent you from naturally progressing.
When you are running at a fixed pace, you cannot accelerate or slow down according to what you feel is comfortable.
Make it a point to leave your watch at home for at least one run a week. Instead, listen to your body and let your legs carry you.