What’s Holding You Back From Being a Better Runner?

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We all want to get better, faster, and stronger, right? There are so many small factors that can play a role in why we have started to plateau.


Running isn’t as simple as run more, get faster. Sometimes even doing that just makes us more tired, injury prone, and we still don’t get any faster.

Here are a few things that might be hindering your progression:

Running too fast

Most new runners, myself included, think to get faster in running we must run faster all of the time. That is far from the truth. To get faster, you must run faster, but you must respect the easy days too.

Recently it came out that the world record holder in the marathon, Eluid Kichogue, will sometime run easy days at 9:40 per mile. He broke the world record at a pace of 4:38! Try telling him, X is “too slow” of a pace to run on your easy day.

A few ways to “force yourself to run easy”:

  • Forget your watch at home on easy days (I don’t usually even wear a watch on those days)
  • Set your watch to beep/vibrate if you move to fast
  • Run with a friend.

Not resting

Resting is one of the most, if not the most important days of training. As runners, we love to run! We need to like rest too. It can be hard to not run every day when your running starts going well, but the benefits of resting are too significant not avoid. If you don’t rest, you will find yourself either burnt out or injured.

Most people don’t realize, but the greatest improvements from training do not actually occur during your workouts. They actually happen when your body is resting.

Hard training stresses the body and your rest days are when your body recovers and repairs. If you don’t rest, your body will continue to break down and never builds back up.

Lack of sleep

Our bodies need to sleep and it’s also when we recover the most. If you limit your sleep, your body does not get enough recovery time. Sometimes it’s more important to choose an extra 30 minutes of sleep versus a 30-minute run.

Only running

Runners love to run, right? To become a better and healthier runner, it’s also important to do other activities such as cross-training and core. These little things are what makes us stronger.

A strong core is essential if you want to run distance. It helps to maintain better posture and form. When you are tired, you don’t work “as hard.”

Poor nutrition

Many people believe runners can eat anything. If you have ever eaten spicy tacos the night before a long run, you probably know this isn’t true.

Most runners guess when it comes to nutrition. To improve in both the half marathon and marathon, you will need to figure out how to fuel your body appropriately before, during, and after a run.

The topic of running and nutrition is huge and can be discussed for hours, but it’s an individual decision that needs to be figured out based on each person’s own needs.

Those are just a few things that could be limiting your progression in running. Let us know, have you found anything else that has limited your progression?

Hollie Sick is an avid New Jersey-based runner who’s completed more than 40 half marathons. Read her blog, or follow her on Facebook.

1 comment… add one
  • Jim O'Connor November 28, 2018, 2:36 pm

    Good article. I will say though, for most runners, just running more will, in fact, make them faster. Upping your mileage (slowly of course), is the suggestion of most coaches if they have to pick one thing for a runner to get faster. I think strength work may be worth mentioning as well. Thanks for a good read.

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