You ever have that feeling where no matter what you do or how hard you try, you simply seem to be getting slower and slower?
The body is extremely complex and there are several variables at play every time we put on our running shoes and head out for a training session. So, identifying exactly why we’re getting slower can be a little challenging for us.
Here are 3 of the main reasons I believe runners get slower and slower despite putting in massive amounts of hard work and effort.
1 – Rubbish in, rubbish out.
One of the biggest reasons a runner get slower is poor diet. I often come across runners who make comments along these lines, “I run to eat”, “I love running because I can eat anything I like, I always run it off.”
Nothing can be further from the truth. Yes, we must eat and yes, we must ensure that we’re getting enough fuel into the system to ensure good recover and that we are able to give our best. But, and there’s a big but here, what we shove down our throats has a massive impact on our performance and our training.
The problem with eating rubbish and junk all the time and thinking that we’re losing weight, is that we’re not actually. Because we’re putting rubbish into our systems, this rubbish gets stored as fat and is not used as fuel to power our body. Instead what happens is that we start to store fat and instead of burning fat we begin to burn muscle. So yes, when we get on the scale we are in fact lighter, but by far weaker.
The solution is to keep your diet clean. Eat real and whole foods. No processed or boxed foods, cut out the refined carbs and follow a 90/10% rule if you must. 90% of the time eat healthy and well and allow a 10% cheat time. Unfortunately, most runners follow a 10/90% rule where they eat healthy 10% of the time and eat rubbish for the other 90%.
2 – Doing lots of training, but the wrong type of training.
From a physiological view point, a marathon is 98% aerobic, 2% anaerobic and 0% alactic. That means that 98% of your training should be focusing on the aerobic engine and not on your anaerobic capacity. So, lots of shorter (200m, 400m, etc) reps is not going to focus on building your aerobic engine. And just a note here, I’m not saying that these types of sessions don’t have their place in a marathoners training, but not in excessive amounts and at the right time in the training year. The 1500m race is made of 84% aerobic, 14% anaerobic and 2% alactic. A 1500m running with have a few more sessions consisting of 400m reps and short reps between 40 and 60m’s, but again, even for the 1500m track runner 84% of training should focus on building the aerobic engine.
The question to ask yourself is this, “What event am I actually training for in my training?” And then, “What session can I change to better suit my main event?”
3 – Same old same old, plodding along.
If you want to run faster, the bottom line is that you’re going to have to, well, run faster. If all you’re doing is that same old pace over the same old distance and never mixing things up or teaching the body to run faster, then you’re going to slow down over time.
This however doesn’t mean that you must now suddenly start increasing your pace on every run and forcing the pace. It means that you need to start including a little quality work in your training schedule which forces you to start running faster for short periods of time.