It’s not always easy to remain a happy and active runner when you’re not making progress anymore. You need to be imaginative and humble, because pleasure can and must be a runner’s first priority.
Be Conscious of What’s Important
Discomfort when training and/or bad competition times: be sure to take several factors into account before panicking:
1. General fatigue.
2. Difficulty in covering your usual distance.
3. The total number of competitions run in the last 6 months.
4. Personal and professional life.
Other factors can play a role in the stagnation or decrease in performance.You need to make a complete list of all the subjects which could be causing the problem without any reservations or guilt. Sometimes regression (or the impression you are regressing) is quite simply the consequence of a psychological lassitude due to a disturbed or troubled personal situation. Runners are not robots!
And Make An Objective Assessment…
1. General fatigue. It’s difficult to progress or even maintain your level of running performance if you are too tired to train properly. There are many different causes of long-term and prolonged fatigue. If the feeling of lack of energy persists, consult your doctor to make sure you don’t have some sort of infection. A blood test may also be a good idea.
2. Difficult running your usual distance. Ask yourself: are you having trouble running your usual distance because you are not enjoying it? If the answer is yes, it is perhaps a sign of lassitude due to always repeating the same route. Runners must be imaginative and vary their training sessions. A decrease in distance is not necessarily bad news. Particularly if, as a complement, you’ve added swimming, cycling, or even rest periods.
3. The total number of competitons run in the last 6 months. Excessive efforts in the same season – and not always with the times hoped for – is a typical reason for loss of motivation. Learn to take time to recover physically and mentally before making a negative assessment, and think about new ways to train.
4. Personal and professional life. It’s difficult to stay concentrated on training when you have problems at home or work. Any stress is negative for performance. You need to be patient, and aware of your priorities. You are not a professional. It’s logical that your family life or professional career are more important than your running performance.
Enjoying Running Is Not Just About Personal Records!
Time catches up. Why should a runner – however assiduous and conscientious they may be – escape an inevitable drop in performance? The fortunate ones live their passion for running without repeated injuries. It’s important to recognise when you reach a performance plateau that it’s impossible to outshine, or even maintain. And to recognise, particularly if you are over 50, that the body doesn’t tolerate the same levels of exertion.
A decrease in VO2max, less muscle development, and a loss of flexibility: each of us needs to learn how to accept the notion of decline and to find the best way to manage it. By maintaining the idea that, in the end, the pleasure of running is much more important than seconds or minutes lost over a distance.
Try new routes when training, and new distances when competing: two simple and generally efficient ways of fighting a loss in motivation due to a drop in performance!
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