Breaking Through the Plateau: How to Get Unstuck with Running

The experience taught me that every runner, no matter their level, can hit a plateau. But with the right approach, it's possible to regain momentum, find joy in the run, and keep moving forward.


Running has always been my solace, my “me time” where I could lose myself in the rhythm of my footsteps and the steady beat of my heart. However, there was a point when my steady progress felt like it had hit a brick wall. Despite regular training, there was a time when my speed stagnated, and distances that once felt achievable seemed impossible. My love for running remained strong, but the lack of progress was undeniably frustrating.

Are you feeling the same? I realized that if I was to overcome this hurdle, I needed a change in approach. Here are the strategies that helped me reconnect with my pace and passion.

1. Reassessing Goals

The first step I took was to look at my goals again. I had started with wanting to beat my personal bests, and somewhere along the line, I had lost that focus. So, I decided to set new, realistic targets – aiming to shave a few seconds off my 5k time, run a half marathon, and even participate in a marathon.

2. Injecting Variety

The same routes, same distances, same pace – this was my routine. It hit me that perhaps my body had become too comfortable. That’s when I decided to switch things up. I started including interval runs, hill training, and long slow distances in my running routine. This not only broke the monotony but also pushed my body in new and challenging ways.


3. Cross-Training Adventures

Incorporating different forms of exercise into my regime was a game-changer. Weight training, trail running and core workouts became my new best friends. They helped me build strength, increase flexibility, and improve my overall fitness, which eventually reflected in my running performance.

4. Listening to My Body

In my enthusiasm to break the plateau, I initially overlooked a critical aspect: rest. I soon recognized that my body needed time to recuperate. So, I started scheduling regular rest days, and I can’t stress enough the positive impact it had. It helped me avoid injuries and keep burnout at bay.

5. Gaining Outside Perspective

I was hesitant at first, but reaching out for professional guidance turned out to be a great decision. I hired a running coach, whose personalized training plans and advice was invaluable. I also try to be a part of  a local running group, which added a social aspect to my runs and kept me motivated.

6. Fine-Tuning Nutrition and Hydration

Running is fuel-intensive, and my regular diet just wasn’t cutting it. I revamped my eating habits, focusing on a balanced intake of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. I also learned the importance of hydration, especially during long runs and on hot days. These changes helped improve my energy levels significantly.

7. Harnessing Mental Strength

Overcoming my running plateau wasn’t just a physical challenge; it was a mental one as well. There were days when I questioned my ability, but I learned to counteract these doubts with positivity and resilience. I began practicing mindfulness and visualization techniques, which gave me a mental edge on tougher runs.

Getting unstuck from my running rut wasn’t easy, but with patience, persistence, and these strategies, I managed to overcome it. I found that the key was not to focus solely on the end goal but to appreciate the journey, with all its ups and downs. The experience taught me that every runner, no matter their level, can hit a plateau. But with the right approach, it’s possible to regain momentum, find joy in the run, and keep moving forward.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here