November 1st, 2010
Last night I discovered a way to get internet off of my phone. Amazing, right?! Or just really desperate… Anyhow…
Since this is a running blog and not some kind of house hunters blog, I think I’ll talk about running today. Today’s content is inspired by my long time friend Lauren!
Decades ago, a young man baseball player named Bob wanted to go out on a date with a young nurse named Connie. Bob brought along his teammate, Don, and Connie brought her coworker, Jean. Love was certainly in the air! Low and Behold…Bob and Connie were married and Don and Jean were also married. Their children grew up together and then their grandchildren grew up together. And yes, I happen to be one of Don and Jean’s granddaughters…and Lauren is the granddaughter of Bob and Connie. Clearly, Lauren and I (and our siblings and cousins) go way back…
In fact, we call ourselves “frousins” because we were raised more like cousins, but we’re really just the 3rd generation of really good friends!
Anyhow, Lauren recently sent me a Facebook message because she’s new to running and feels like she has hit a plateau and wants some advice. Here’s her message:
I started running in June. Now as you may or may not remember I was a dancer my whole life, danced all through high school and college, hated running with a passion, but in June we joined the Y and it just started, I don’t even know how! One day I was walking and thought…"hmmm…maybe I could run a little bit…" a mile later…I was still running and thus the obsession began to run as much as possible.
So I ran a mile and then after a few weeks I was able to build up to 2 miles. And then shortly, much shorter than it took me to get to 2 miles, I was running 3 miles.
Now this is where I am.
I can run three miles. Some days I can run 3.25, sometimes I can run 3.50…but that’s it.
I went from 1-3 in such a short amount of time and now I run AT LEAST 3 a day, but I can’t get myself to consistently get further or longer…is this a thing, am I at a runner plateau? is there such a thing? Is there a trick, should I just push through it? What’s the deal? If there are any tricks or helpful hints that you can offer I would be extremely grateful.
Lauren, YOU BET there is such thing as a running plateau and it sucks!! So, although I am no expert, and the following tips are offered only based on my own personal experience, here is my advice to you and other runners who may have hit a plateau:
Go Slow I think that your jump from 1-3 miles is fine so far, but it’s important to watch that you don’t increase your mileage too much too fast. I always look at my weekly mileage. Let’s say I’m running 15 miles in one week (3 miles, 5 times a week), then the next week I will increase it 10%. So instead of running 15, I will run 16.5 (or sometimes I round down to 16 or up to 17, it’s not an exact science, but it is a good guideline).
Mix It Up If you’re trying to run a distance longer than 3 miles, cut back on one of your runs. Run 2 miles one day, and the next day run 4. Or, run 3 miles, take a day off, then run 4. It’s amazing what a little rest can do. Really, I mess a lot with the mileage of individual runs because I think that the total weekly mileage is more important and gives a better idea of how "fit" you are in terms of running.
Whenever I was getting more into longer distances, I change my pace. If I was going out for a long run, I would make sure that I started off slower than I normally would. Eventually I fall into a rhythm, or stride, and it’s easier to go longer distances.
Talk To Yourself Sometimes I don’t run as far as I can because I’ve already convinced myself that I can’t. When I do this, I will slow down, or even take a short walk break, then pick it back up. I’ll give myself little goal, like "I will run 1/2 mile more and then take a drink of water" or "I will run to that intersection then head home." Or even sometimes my mental conversations are a bit more harsh, like "GET YOUR BUTT MOVING, YOU SORRY WIMP!" But when it gets tough, it’s important to TALK to yourself, DO NOT listen to yourself.
Motivate Yourself Pick a race to train for! There is no motivation like an impending race. It’s also fun way to hike up the miles if you have someone to run with. Around this time of year it is my favorite time to run because it’s cooler (I love running in the cold) and the you can feel the festive atmosphere. What’s even better is that there are usually turkey trots and Jingle Bell Runs and New Year’s Eve runs, too! Heck, ya never know…it might become a holiday tradition!
So there ya have it! Happy running!