Any activity can be fun when you're seeing consistent improvement,
and this is true for running too.
We all have our physical limits, though,
and eventually you're going to reach a point where no matter how you try, you simply
can't seem to improve your running speed.
Should you accept defeat and throw in the towel when this happens?
Don't be so quick.
It could be that you're simply making common mistakes that are impeding progress.
Consider these potential reasons why you might not be getting faster and what you can do about it.
If you're the type that likes to head out on the trail, unencumbered by gear like Fitbit's, smartphones, and other tracking devices, you don't really know what you're doing, which is to say, how far or fast you're really going.
If you want to improve, you need to take advantage of available tracking technologies. Once you get a baseline for performance you can start trying to improve and seeing what works.
If you do the same thing over and over, you're going to get pretty good at it, but eventually you'll hit a plateau.
If you want to continue to increase speed you're going to have to challenge your body in new ways.
One way to do this is by adding intervals to your runs. If you naturally settle into a steady pace when you run,
as many runners do,
you need to shake things up by adding short speed intervals, even if it means you have to slow down and walk afterward.
Over time, such exercises can help you to quicken your natural pace.
You can also vary the distances you run, the terrain you run on(hills versus flat, trails versus pavement, etc.), and the type of training you do.
If you're only running, try alternating running days with weight training, yoga, swimming, and even sports like tennis or soccer.
This makes your body work in new ways, adapt to new movement, and challenge different muscle groups, and it could help you to get over the hump.
Running can be cumulative. The more you do it, the better you'll get.
However, stopping and starting will not deliver the same results.
You can't run diligently for months, then take a few weeks off and expect to come back at the same level of performance.
Our bodies are designed for movement, and we can push them pretty hard, but you have to provide proper support if you want to improve performance.
In order to meet your physical demands, your body needs adequate rest and proper nutrition.
Fuel and recovery are both essential if you want your body to exhibit greater speed and endurance, so make sure you're providing the support needed to sustain your exercise regimen and meet your goals.
Sure, you have goals, but if you find that you're losing steam on reaching them, it could literally slow you down.
Just as you need to support your body physically to improve performance, you also need proper psychological support.
If you want to improve at nearly anything, consistent practice is important.
Unfortunately, this simply isn't possible when you suffer injuries. You might think injuries are beyond your control,
and there's certainly an element of unpredictability involved in any physical activity.
That said, you could be doing a lot to try to prevent injuries that derail progress toward your running goals.
Are you cross-training to build strength and stamina?
Are you observing proper nutrition?
Are you getting adequate rest (including downtime between runs)?
Are you using proper running gear designed to cushion and support your body during this high-impact activity?
Are you listening to your body and understanding the difference between, say, normal aches versus the pain that serves as a precursor to injury?
Accidents will happen, but you have to be smart.
If you find that you're suffering multiple injuries annually that are stopping you from reaching running goals and getting faster,
it might be time to rethink your strategy and consult with experts like running coaches, nutritionists, and gait specialists, just for example.