"Why am I not improving as a runner?" 3 Potential Reasons

Jan 31, 2022

 The other day, I was asked the following question:

"What if I've been running consistently for 4 years - and even when I run the absolute slowest I can, I still can't hold a conversation after 10 minutes?"

I receive questions along the lines of, "Why am I not improving as a runner?" fairly regularly and thought I would address it today.

Every runner - their age, weight, background, etc. is unique and will have a slightly different answer to this question based off a variety of factors.

But - there are some common themes among most runners that boil down to 3 main potential reasons why you may feel "stuck" or like you aren't improving in your running and health - which I'll highlight (along with a bonus reason!) below.


Reason #1 - You Aren't Adding Variation To Your Runs


To best improve in your running - you need variation. Variation in intensity, distance, duration, "types" of runs, etc.

Easy, moderate, and hard efforts all have their place in training - along with workouts including means such as hill sprints, speed intervals, tempo runs, etc.

An intricate & progressive "intermingling" of all of these "types" of runs, designed with a specific end goal in mind (i.e. distance of a race and desired pace), is the best & fastest way to improve as a runner.

Entire books are written on how to do the above sentence - so I won't get into exactly how to do that. But in short - add some variation! Don't always simply run easy, hard, or somewhere in between. Mix it up.


Reason #2 - You Aren't Supplementing Your Running With Strength Training


Both in preventing injuries (which allows for consistency) and in directly improving performance (top-end speed, anaerobic capacity, running economy) - strength training should be a component of all runners' training routines.

If you feel "stuck" in your running progress and haven't been implementing runner-specific strength training exercises regularly - do it! You won't regret it.


Reason #3 - You Are Neglecting Key Lifestyle Factors


It is always important to first consider the "low-hanging fruit" that holds a lot of weight in whether or not you're experiencing the improvements and results you're after. Such as...

  • Are you regularly getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep?
  • Are you eating a nutrient-dense diet with adequate amounts of carbs and protein?
  • How is your stress? Do you have stress management techniques in place for when life gets crazy?

These things matter and are necessary to achieve the desired adaptations that you need to improve as a runner.

Implementing simple and practical strategies to make sure these lifestyle factors are optimized and not limiting factors will go a long ways in your running and health.


Bonus Reason - You Haven't Been Consistent For Long Enough


If you've followed me for a while - you know how big I am on consistency.

Maintaining a long-term focus on prioritizing consistency is infinitely more valuable than crushing a week or two of workouts, taking some time off, and repeating that cycle of inconsistent training.

Running is a long-term game where consistency is huge - and it's a non-negotiable factor of improving as a runner if you're truly serious about it.

Finally - if you feel that you have been doing all of these above things but are still frustrated with lack of progress - sometimes the breakthrough you're after is right around the corner.

Keep going!




Hopefully through this - you can see that breaking through plateaus and improving in your running and health involves much more than just running alone.

Strength training, sleep, nutrition, stress management, mindset, recovery strategies - all of these are factors that play a big role in improving in your running and health and achieving your personal goals. 

I didn't realize this growing up - and it's ultimately why I experienced so many injuries and felt "stuck" for so long in my own journey.

And unlike other running coaches - that's why my coaching involves a "holistic" focus that takes a highly-individualized approach to considering all of these factors and more - so that you can see the best results.

My #1 focus is getting you results. And to best do that - these other factors simply must be considered.

I live for the messages that I get from clients such as the one I got this morning from one who had been struggling with Achilles' pain saying, "I AM SO EXCITED!! Saturday and today's run both felt great!"

We took a holistic, individualized approach to tackling her Achilles' pain and working back into running - and she is now on the path to preparing to run her first marathon pain-free.

If you have some personal running and health goals of your own you're wanting to accomplish in 2022 and beyond - and you're ready to commit to trusting a process and implementing practical strategies to get there - fill out a questionnaire and schedule a call at the "Coaching" tab, and let's talk about if working together would be right for you!

All the best,


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