3 Tips to Push Through a Running Plateau

If you follow me on Instagram you may be aware that over the past month I have hit a bit of a wall with my running.  Despite a long and distinguished career {I began running way back in December 2014!}, I had never hit the wall like this before and to tell the truth was beginning to lose interest.  I SO want to keep going, my body hasn’t felt this strong and fit in years and I was achieving something I had always wanted to master – the simple act of running for fitness.  My head has always been the weakest link.  I was counting the minutes and landmarks along my route until my run was over.  I was opting for the half km shorter route more often than I was completing the full 6k.  I was beating myself up over increasing pace and failing to improve over both distance and time.  I had plateaued hard and hit the ‘beginner runners hump’.

I *think* I may have cracked it this weekend though.  I tried a few different things and after this morning’s run I’m feeling pumped and looking forward to tomorrow’s workout – I haven’t been able to say that for about 6 weeks!

Though I’m no running expert, I thought I’d share these 3 simple tips which helped me get my ass into gear and enjoy running again;

    1. Run with a friend – Since I began I have always run on my own, aside from a few family runs where E rides his bike, Dave pushes Nix in the buggy and we both wear headphones anyway.  Even with the 15kg Nixie + Mountain Buggy handicap Dave kicks my ass and burns off into the distance, not to be seen again until I arrive home  w a y  after him.  Last week I cornered a Mum who lives nearby and also runs regularly and suggested we run together over the weekend.  It was just what the doctor ordered!  Having someone to chat with to got me out of my head, shifted the focus off the minutes and km’s and Map my Run and before we knew it we had hit 5.5km and had enjoyed a killer workout.
    2. Change your route – I am a freaky weird creature of habit so naturally had carried my boring ways over into my running.  I have run the same route every day since the New Year, tacking extra 1/2 kms on every now and then to bump up my distances.  The problem with this is, ahh, many things!  My body had become totally used to the route, my thighs knew when the hill was coming, all of me cringed when it was time to do the 1km around the rugby field {why is running on grass SO hard?} and I mentally hated the little add ons at the end, all I could think was “I can do the extra bit or go straight home like I used to”.  Having a mental ‘extra bit’ qualifies it as optional.  My head does better when a run is a defined 6km, rather than a 5.5km with an optional extra.  The second benefit of running with my friend was that she showed me a whole new route to explore and work in to where I was running.  I hit the new course again this morning and felt so good!  From here on I’m going to try to have three routes in my arsenal and alternate them throughout the week.
    3. Run to a goal –  My friend Penny from Little Housewife posted on Instagram how stoked she was at running her first 5k under 30 minutes.  I had never considered setting a goal prior to a run so set myself the same target as Penny this morning and what do you know, 5k in 28:39!  Though getting hung up on metrics isn’t a good idea for me, I like the idea of having a long term goal to work towards, which is why by the end of 2015 I want to be running 10k regularly.  So aiming to get 5k under 28 minutes will be something I look at achieving over the next month.

Not mind-blowing stuff, but changing things up a bit will help me keep me focussed and maintain running frequency throughout the year.  Got to get through winter yet though!  eeep!

Running Blog Fitness NZ

 

 

 

Let’s do this thing. Sometime this week, ok?

Swim training gear

My big guy is a swimmer, amongst other things, so there is a high chance of me spending an hour or two at the pool each week, sans baby, ‘relaxing’ and mindlessly playing Jurassic Park.  <<< There you have it people, my dirty little secret is out.

What a waste of fucking time.  

I have talked and talked about how great it would be if I just grew some balls and got in the pool and swam some laps while I was there.  

Two problems;

  1. Togs
  2. Me wearing togs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not deluded about my body shape/size etc.  I’m feeling good about how things are hanging at 35 and after two jumbo boys.  I feel good IN clothes, not so much in lycra – in public.  But who does right?  Supermodels? Lucky I don’t know any supermodels.

So I put on my big girl panties and splashed out at The Warehouse. There was no way I was spending mega bucks on a pair of togs that may only get worn once – let’s be honest – and will undoubtedly get consumed by chlorine in due course IF they were worn more than once!  I came home with a swimming cap and a pair of the most goddamn ugly sports togs you have ever seen.  I didn’t even try them on because frankly, they weren’t going to look any better on then off!

Sunday was to be the day.  E had swim training from 9.30-10.30am and I was primed and ready.  I even googled ‘how to swim laps’ to ensure I was extra ready, there’s pool etiquette to follow you know people!

We arrived, turns out there was no training {major mummy brain moment) so E set about coaching me for the next hour.

It actually was awesome.  Trying to stuff my big afro into a cap didn’t work very well and wasn’t at all awesome, but aside from that it was a-ok.  I forgot about my fugly togs as soon as I was in the water, and I loved exercising with my son.  The pools weren’t that busy so we had a lane to ourselves and with Ethan’s guidance we swam many, many lengths.  Freestyle, breaststroke and backstroke, over and over again.  It’s quiet when you’re swimming, it doesn’t hurt, you can’t twist your ankle and you can’t stop halfway as you’ll be in the middle of the pool!

The best part is that I’m fairly certain I’m going to do it again.  The addition of fins on about half of the lengths put a little more burn in the quads, plus, an arm workout with no press-ups yah!

Out of the comfort zone and I survived, do it.  I dare you.