How To Break Out Of Your Running Rut

  • By Jeff Gaudette
  • Published Jan. 24, 2014
  • Updated Jan. 24, 2014 at 3:29 PM UTC

1. Focus On Rest & Recovery

Yup, I said the evil word. Rest. Even writing it was hard for a Type-A personality such as myself. However, the most common reason runners struggle to get themselves out of their slump is lack of proper recovery. Usually, it’s lack of proper recovery that started them on a downward spiral in the first place. Naturally, when runners start to have a bad bout of training or suffer through a series of races, they begin to train harder believing that it is a lack of fitness holding them back. Unfortunately, this solution is like putting yourself in a hole and then digging faster and faster in an attempt to get out.

RELATED: Want To Run Faster? Make Sure You Recover!

To help illustrate this point, I’ll use an analogy. I like to visualize the body like a sponge, and training like the water coming from a faucet. At the start of training, the body is like a dry sponge ready to absorb all the training (water) that it can handle. So, you open up the faucet and let the training flow into the sponge. Over time, if you keep filling up the sponge with water, it won’t be able to absorb any more. This saturation point is often the start of a running slump.

What you can do:

Take a few extra rest days, maybe even schedule an entire down week, and focus on recovery. Going back to the sponge analogy; a few rest days or a down week is like squeezing the sponge into a bucket. The bucket in this case represents the store of fitness you want to have available on race day to throw at your competition. After ringing out the sponge you can get back to training fresh. Yes, it seems backward that taking a few extra days rest or adding a few super easy training days could actually make you fitter, but it’s true.

« PreviousNext »

FILED UNDER: Training TAGS: / / / /

Jeff Gaudette

Jeff Gaudette

Jeff has been running for 13 years, at all levels of the sport. He was a two time Division-I All-American in Cross Country while at Brown University and competed professionally for 4 years after college for the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. Jeff's writing has been featured in Running Times magazine, Endurance Magazine, as well as numerous local magazine fitness columns.

Get our best running content delivered to your inbox

Subscribe to the FREE Competitor Running weekly newsletter