When did this get so hard?

Good Afternoon Fellow New Runners!

I have a confession.  I am not a natural runner.  I think those of us who discover running in adulthood are, for the most part, not natural runners.  If we were, we would have picked up the running bug in childhood, high school or even our twenties.  I realized this during my long run on Saturday.  As I kept going toward my final goal of six miles each step kept getting harder, each mile more laborious.

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Discovering running is a lot of fun.  You discover you can run half a mile, suddenly a full mile then on to a 5k and beyond.  When you are new, almost every run is a new milestone and a new discovery.  It’s not just length of the runs, your speed picks up too.  What seemed impossible, becomes the new norm.  Being a new runner is a time of unlimited possibilities.  I can run a half marathon!  I can finish first!  Boston here I come!

At some point, the frequency of those milestone runs slow.  The speed plateaus and no matter how hard you work, you can’t go much faster.  What was a long run becomes a “normal” distance.  Your Longest Ever (or LE) seems like the longest you will ever go.

You (like me) have reached a plateau.

And let me tell you…this stinks.

Every run I hope to come back with a familiar huge smile on my face.  The “I did something I didn’t think I could do” smile and sense of accomplishment.  One of those runs hasn’t happened in a long time.  Trust me, my Garmin history will back me up.  I want one of those runs where every step is a joy and I feel like I am running on clouds.  Where I am not wheezing and wondering if I’m at the next mile, even though I just started the last one.

How do I get over this?  How do I break through this plateau and conquer new milestones?  I’ve read articles.  I’ve tried to take a break.  Nothing has worked.  Honestly, I don’t know how I’m going to do it.  I don’t know if I should just “run through it” or if I should take a longer break.  Or if neither of those ideas will help me and maybe I really have reached the longest and fastest I will ever go.  Maybe this is where my running journey ends…..

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Pfffftttt…I don’t think so!!

 Us runners are a positive thinking, “you can do it” sort.  You have to be to run, often hours alone, motivating yourself to get to a finish line.  No accomplishment is too small, no obstacle is too big.  Runners have to have the mindset that they can do anything.  I may not be a natural runner, but I have always been a positive person.  I know that I will reach a new milestone.  I will, once again, have that run that seems effortless.  I have to.  I have a half marathon in November, so no matter what my LE of 11 miles will be broken.  I am starting to do weekly speed work, so I know that even if it increases by only seconds, my speed will increase.  I will not only cross that finish line, I will do it with a huge smile.  You know.  That “I did something I didn’t think I could do” smile.

Enjoy the Run!

Yvonne

Question: Have you ever reached at plateau?  How did you overcome it?

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6 comments

  1. I was having a lot of trouble with week 3 of the C25K training app. I had vowed that I wouldn’t profess to the next week if I couldn’t do the full workout of day three of whatever week I was in. I had repeated week 3 three times already and was so frustrated that I couldn’t do the whole of the the running sections. Then someone told me to slow down even if I was shuffling, even if I could walk faster. The goal was to endure the time (or distance), not get there faster. It worked! I haven’t had another problem. If I find myself struggling, I slow down and find a song in my playlist that makes me smile, put it on repeat and keep going until I get there. 3 days ago I ran 2.5 miles without resting for the first time ever! You’re doing great. Don’t give up and keep smiling!

      1. Thanks! If I hadn’t gotten food poisoning, I would have done it yesterday. 😦 This week for sure!

  2. Yvonne – I’m so glad you wrote this! It’s tough to push past that plateau and mixing up your training may be what you need. Cross training and building up my core helped me run more comfortably and faster!

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