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Getting Over the Training Hump

by Holli Childs

Have you ever started a training program for a marathon, half marathon, triathlon, or any other fitness goal?

If you said yes, you then have probably experienced what I call, “The Training Hump.” I know I have. I am in the middle of it right now. I am on week 5 of a marathon training program, and I just don’t feel like I am getting any better! And it makes it harder and harder to get out there each day to put on those miles.

So, I have done a lot of brainstorming and came up with five tips to help you (and me) get over that darn training hump.

1. Change your program a little bit. Our bodies specifically respond to the loads that we place on them. Once they adapt to those loads, they won’t continue to progress until a new load is placed on them. So, try changing up what you do. Substitute in a day where you run hills, or add interval training. If you started out way too ambitiously (like I did) those things are already in your program. Try giving your body a small break and substitute hills for an intense bike ride, or long swim. Not only will this allow your body to adapt to new things and become stronger, it also keeps things interesting. And sometimes, that is all it takes to get out there on those days where you don’t think you will have made any progress.

2. Check your nutrition. Endurance activities require a specific kind of diet that involves getting enough carbs at the right time, proper post-workout recovery meals, and overall healthy eating habits. Double check yourself. Record what you have eaten, when you have eaten it, and how much energy you felt you had over a three day period. This will help you to evaluate if you are getting the right kinds of foods at the right times. If you feel like you could improve your diet, do it! That will help you feel better about your runs and begin to see more progress. If you aren’t sure what you need to change, you can always ask any of us at the Salt Lake Running Co. — we can help you out!

3.  Find new routes to run. If you are like me, not only your body will benefit from a change of route or scenery, your mind will too! Training for an endurance event is a psychological game. You have to find ways to convince your brain that it is fun, that you want to do it, and that you aren’t too tired. One way to do that is to change your running route. Salt Lake City is full of awesome places to run. Try running up one of the many canyons. You can also run on trails. The Bonneville Shoreline trail is not too difficult and would be a great starter trail run. You can also run the Jordan River Trail. That is still road running, but it is so much prettier than running on the road, and if you are lucky, you will spot the bald eagle that lives there (about 4500 S.)

4.  Snag a training partner. One of the hardest parts of training is staying on top of your game and remaining accountable for the miles and hours that are necessary to be prepared for the big event. If you have a training partner, you will hold each other accountable. You are more likely to go knowing that your partner is depending on you to be there. Take turns picking a route. On your long slower runs, try talking to each other. On your shorter runs, challenge each other (this works best if both you and your partner are about the same skill level). There are group runs that leave from our 700 E. location every Thursday at 6 pm. It is a great place to find training partners!

5.  Patience. You always hear the phrase, “Patience is a virtue.” Well, that is true here too. Results are coming, but they are not immediate. Keep pushing through. You can do it. Only through persistent running, and adding on those miles, even when you don’t want to, will being the desired results. And remember, if I can do it, you can do it too! I believe in you!

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