5 Ways To Break Out of A Running Slump

by Jenna Crawford February 23, 2018

5 Ways To Break Out of A Running Slump

Runners of all levels go through plateau stages. Those times when you run but just don’t seem to get any faster or be able to go any farther. Sometimes people are happy with their running speeds or distances and don’t feel the need to make any changes. Some runners don’t know how to go about making improvements. Sometimes injuries require a maintenance mode instead of building mode. Winter can make running or motivation hard to maintain. Sometimes life just gets in the way of focusing on running.

Getting stuck in a running slump happens to every athlete at least once in their career. It doesn’t matter if your slump is physical or mental. Climbing your way out of a rough patch in training or racing can feel like beating your head against a wall.

Here are 5 ways to break out of a running slump:

1. Figure Out And Set A Goal

Setting achievable goals is a challenging thing. First, it’s important to take some time to think about what your overarching running goals are. Once you identify the big goal you can set the little goal that will get you started. Do you want to run a 5k? Then maybe your goal is to run 2 minutes longer every time you run for a month. Do you want to improve your pace? Then make your goal to run intervals twice a week. Do you want to run a marathon? Then chose one and start a training plan. Setting achievable goals is about focusing on why you want to improve and setting a goal that will get you started.

2. Focus On Rest And Recovery

Rest. 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. Take a few extra rest days, maybe even schedule an entire down week, and focus on recovery.

3. Build Strength

Runners like to focus on miles but adding total-body strengthening can drastically improve your form and efficiency and spike an interest in a new kind of workout. For best results, weave a total-body strength routine into your active life at least twice per week, and three times if it is the offseason. Whether you’re taking a class at a gym, streaming a workout, following a DVD, or doing a workout, regular strength training will change your running life.

4. Do Intervals

There is no better way to get faster than to run intervals. Intervals are the best way to improve cardiovascular strength (i.e. strengthen your heart and lungs so you don’t get out of breath as easily). They strengthen your muscles in ways that are different from just running a steady distance. They also get you mentally used to running faster than your usual pace. That way later it does not feel weird or intimidating or scary to run fast! Anyone looking to improve their speed should seriously consider some form of interval training.

5. Get a Running Buddy

Do you usually run alone? Try to convince a friend or family member to come along with you — even if it's just once a week. Even if they're slower than you, you'll find that helping someone else will help get you excited about running again. If you can't find anyone who will run with you, you can also try finding a running group.


Runners at every level go through slumps but there is always something new that you can try to escape them and get better. Spend time to refocus, get out there, create a new goal and make some changes. In this post, I shared with you 5 ways to break out of a running slump.

Jenna Crawford


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