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4 Smart Ways To Break A Running Plateau

It happens to the best of us. You reach a certain level of running and seem to hang out there, no matter what you do. Whether you’re looking to hit a new PR or finish a different distance, there are several ways you can break out of stagnation and into a new level of running.

Dynamic Warm-Ups

The key to dynamic warm-ups is to not make them a big deal. A lot of runners use the excuse of time to not conduct a proper warm-up before a run. A better approach is to make your run shorter and add a dynamic warm-up to the start. You will probably find you have time for it after all, especially when you see the results of injury prevention, better turnover and quicker pick-ups earlier in your mileage.

Try this dynamic warm-up before just one run, every week.

Strength Work

Most runners already know the value of strength work into your training. The key to breaking your plateau with it is to do the correct work for your goals. Not all strength training is created equal so choose wisely: power with something like a kettlebell workout, endurance with longer runs or cardio workouts, speed with track work or injury-prevention specific.

Intensity Intervals

Have you ever heard the saying “if you want to run faster, you have to run faster?” It’s as simple (but not as easy) as that. If getting faster or reaching a new time threshold is your goal then you will need to add some speed into your training. Start gradually, learn some tricks for the track and have fun with fartleks.

Recovery

The more years I run, the more I realize that recovery is the key to running success. Whatever your goal—speed, distance, longevity—the key lies within proper and steadfast recovery. Take at least one day per week of complete rest and not active recovery, join in on social media with your rest-day brag, and fuel your body to help build back everything you tore down (in a good way) during the week.

Running plateaus will come and go. The trick is to keep your mind and body working together, make your only constants change and rest and know you probably always have a little more time and effort to give if you truly want to break through a running barrier.

Allie Burdick

Allie Burdick

Allie is a freelance writer, athlete and mom, but not in that order. Her work has appeared in Runner's World, Triathlon Magazine and ESPNW. On her blog, VITA Train for Life, she chronicles her life as a runner/triathlete and hopes her successes and failures help to motivate and inspire others, even the over-40 crowd she somehow found herself in! The rest of her time is spent raising her twin boys with her husband in the Northeast where they live a big life! See it all on Twitter and Instagram.