Lots of runners toe the line in the summer months. The warmer weather has made training feel better and they’re looking for a new personal best. If you’ve lined up a couple times and your personal best isn’t materializing as quickly as you thought, here are a few factors that could be hurting your performance.
You’re working too hard
When a runner is hoping for a personal best it’s easy to get into the mindset that every day needs to be race day. This mindset can become very draining and leave you feeling flat. Keeping a training journal is a great way to avoid this habit. By logging your daily mileage, pace and how it all felt, you can see signs of pace-pushing before it turns into full-blown burnout.
Life is getting in the way
This is the other side of the working-too-hard coin. Life can get busy and sometimes your training is forced to take a back seat. This is totally alright, but it means that your goals likely need to be adjusted. If, for whatever reason, you’ve ended up a little under-trained or over-worked in other aspects of your life come race day, be sure to make realistic goals for yourself before you hit the start line. This will help you get through the race and finish on a positive note, as opposed to finishing disappointed.
You’re having pacing issues
If your times aren’t heading south at the rate that you’d hoped, there could be an issue with how you’re executing your race. Check back on your splits from your most recent race. If you’re yo-yoing from kilometre to kilometre then try to make them more even. Typically an even race is your fastest race.
You’re not fueling properly
If you’re feeling sluggish and low energy, there’s a chance that you’re underfueling. With runners who have increased their mileage, this is a very common problem, but thankfully this is a relatively simple fix. Adding as little as a smoothie a day can make a huge difference in your weekly caloric intake and help you through your runs and workouts.
You’re returning from injury
If you’re coming back to racing after being injured, it’s important to have realistic expectations. It’s very rare that your first race of any season, let alone a season following injury, will be a personal best. It’s called a rust-buster for a reason. Celebrate the small victories (like making it to the start line) and keep your progress in perspective.