We have all reached the point in our running journey where we seem to have hit a plateau. We We are consistently getting in our runs, working as hard as we can at them, and still can’t seem to run a faster mile or go a further distance.
There is one remedy for a running rut that will fix this problem: a change of scenery.
It might sound silly but there is some serious power behind the act of switching things up. It could very well be what you need to overcome that plateau and reach your next running peak.
Maybe the winter has most of your running done on the treadmill. Gear up and get outside. Chances are the fresh air will feel great and you will kill the run. Those who runs courses that include lots of hills might slow the runner down. Check out a flatter course to go a bit faster. It might be just what you need to master faster hills next time around.
I put this theory into practice with the change in winter weather this beautiful February day in New Jersey. Deciding to do my scheduled run outdoors, I checked out a new park to freshen things up a bit. It was one of those days that started off cloudy, puddles on the ground adding the the dreariness. But then the sun poked its rays out and suddenly the world became much more colorful despite the fields around me being bare and a dead, winter brown at Thompson Park.
Using this park at a second stroller trial run, I quickly found newfound motivation. The weather was intoxicating. Picking up the pace, and losing a layer, I learned that I was running at a 11:45 pace. This fueled my fire, my effort and the sun causing sweat to start to bead down.
Despite some hard uphill work, this didn’t slow me down. It was all uphill from here. I closed in at 10:24 mile 2, 10:06 mile 3 and 10:03 mile 4. This was the kind of run I didn’t want to end. So I didn’t stop. I ran an extra 1.44 miles, looping back to my car feeling accomplished. This means a 46:48 4.44 mile run, with an average pace of 10:32.
This is just the kind of numbers I need to see to further push myself forward on my running journey. I feel more excited than ever to keep running and reaching my goals.
The next time you feel like your runs have become predictable, switch things up. Find a new route, a new park or travel a little further out to an explored part of town. It might very well lead to a great run.