Runners do experience ups and downs. Sometimes we get into a rut. It’s a downward spiral and getting out of it is tough. Sometimes, we feel we are stuck in a slump, thinking maybe we would never make a comeback in running.
#1 Focus On Rest & Recovery
The most likely reason why we hit a downward spiral in the first place is probably lack of recovery. Remember, recovery is part of training, it isn’t escaping training. Naturally, when runners have a bad race, they start training harder. They believe it is a lack of fitness that is causing them their race. In actual fact, it could be precisely because you are training so much that you are experiencing a downward spiral.
Note, your muscles only recover and become stronger after rest. Take a few days off to properly rest and recover then try again!
#2 Vary Your Race Distance
If you’re training for the marathon, you should race a couple of half marathons and 10kms. This help you train different areas. If you solely focus on just running the marathon, you may only be improving your aerobic fitness. However, if you race a couple of 10kms you are also improving your VO2 Max for instance. Racing various distances allows you to improve different physiological aspects and this will have you in racing your goal distance.
A great example is Mo Farah – although the 10,000m and 5,000m is his distance, he does occasionally runs the 3000m distance for fun or even the 3000m steeplechase.
#3 Reset Yourself Mentally
Put all the bad past behind you! Go into each training with a fresh mindset. Forget about hitting the numbers! Try running without your GPS watch. Just focus on your run and not your splits! Instead of hitting times on the track, forget your timings! The goal is to complete the workout regardless of timings.
So, if you’re stuck in a rut, don’t give up too easily. Give yourself a break! And you will come back stronger!