Recently I’ve observed some frustrations from runners who are beating themselves up for not “being good enough”. Whereas they used to be able to run all the way, now their runs consist of a lot of walk breaks and heavy breathing which can be frustrating and sole destroying.

My advice, SLOW IT DOWN! on your next run slow your pace down, don’t head out too quickly, as you progress as a runner and get stronger your slow pace becomes your fast pace as this feels more natural and easy, so you feel like you are running slowly but I bet you aren’t. You need to give your body time to recover from your new pace by running slow recovery runs.

Even if you think you are the slowest runner out there and that there is no way you could possibly go any slower, you can, just relax, take deep breaths and focus on your technique.

Have a look back over the last month, how many times have you pb’d? Have you run a half marathon? Marathon? Too many 10ks. Weekly fast parkruns? Are you going to group sessions and every session you are just running as quick as you can because you used to be able to run all the way? Does all of this sound familiar?

75–80 percent of your weekly mileage should be slower running, so slow it down, and I don’t believe you when you say you couldn’t go any slower, I bet you can.

Why you should run slowly. It

§ Strengthens muscles in legs, torso and arms

§ Adapts tendons, ligaments, joints and bones to stress of running

§ Promotes efficient running form

§ Teaches patience, discipline and how to handle physical discomfort

§ Trains the cardio, respiratory and muscular systems to work more efficiently

§ Increases the quantity and size of mitochondria, improving oxygen use and glycogen stores

Look at your lifestyle, are you trying to lose weight? Weight loss is a huge industry; I am not a nutritionist but I do know that if you don’t eat enough calories when you are training then this can impact on how you feel when you run.

How Under-Eating Impacts Weight Loss and Fitness

Reducing your calorie intake by a few hundred calories each day can indeed lead to sustainable weight loss, but reducing it significantly and forcing your body to function on the bare minimum it needs to survive triggers a series of changes in the body, all aimed at preserving energy in a perceived time of famine.

Your body responds to severe calorie reduction by doing whatever it can to ensure your survival, mostly by conserving energy and putting calories toward its most basic functions. To do this, the body resorts to burning fewer calories. The result? Your body holds on to fat no matter how much you exercise or how little you eat. What’s more, while in this survival mode your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol, which not only contributes to unhealthy belly fat but leads to leptin and insulin resistance, two hormones essential for regulating hunger, metabolism and fat storage.

This impacts your training in several ways. When the body feels it must prioritise essential functions (like regulating breathing, body temperature and blood pressure), it doesn’t feel that it’s safe to put resources toward things like rebuilding muscle tissue, which is the process that enables us to grow stronger. This can affect reproductive processes in men and women and bone (e.g. stress fractures) and soft tissue injuries can occur. And, to put it in terms that will strike alarm bells to you all - your running will be seriously affected.  I have seen it time and time again, weight loss and an increase in injury, it is a big area in Athletics with many people now sharing their stories of crippling eating disorders in both men and women.

Running sessions therefore become harder when we are underfed. Though we may feel like we’re performing with all we’ve got, we’re actually working at a severe energy disadvantage.

Without enough fuel, we can’t perform at our best.

Signs You Aren’t Eating Enough

1. You’re Constantly Tired

2. Your Weight Hasn’t Changed

3. You’ve Hit a Training Plateau

4. Insomnia

5. You start getting niggles

I know sometimes it goes against the grain but by slowing it down on 80% of your runs and incorporating speed/hills in your weekly training program you will get faster.

By eating more nutritional dense and tasty food, spices and herbs have zero calories, you will have more energy to perform quality training sessions rather than feeling tired and lethargic every time you run.