Plateau Problems

We’ve all been there. And let’s face it – plateaus suck. 

You’re either at the very first plateau: a small one, but a big one. The plateau EVERYONE needs to get over before actually starting to exercise. 

Or you’ve been exercising for a while and have hit some kind of slum and gotta figure out what to do to conquer that treading water feeling and climb on to the next peak.

It’s important to remember that hitting a plateau doesn’t determine what kind of athlete you are and they’re rarely a permanent situation. However, it WILL determine what kind of athlete you are if you choose to let the slump beat you – keep you from getting back up and jumping to the next mountain to climb. 

Isn’t it funny how plateaus usually come when we least expect them and when we least want them. When these barriers do come, here are a few ways you can re-train your brain and fight back!


Heard of being over focused?
Runners and athletes, by nature, are dedicated, result-oriented and ambitious. It you set unrealistic goals or fall short of goals, it can bring feelings of worthlessness, depression and self-doubt. All of those are WAY BAD when it comes to running…when it comes to living, period. So how can you get through this? Have both short and long term goals. If you’ve got the goal to run in the Boston marathon, set small goals or distance and/or time and then celebrate when you reach those short term goals. If the long term goals seems way out of reach, put more focus on the short term goals and the benefits that you can get from them and have that carry your determination to get to your long term goals.

Too much training. 
It’s not uncommon. It’s both physical and mental-usually when your body has had too many miles and your brain has as well. When all you do is exercise – your entire life revolves around exercising – then you’re risking a burnout. Not good, people! This one is tricky to break through. Usually, the best prescription for this is a little R&R – rest, stretch, ice, if you cross train keep it low key. When you go back to your routine, mix it up. Cross train. Go at least one day WITHOUT your GPS-no tracking time or milage. Just go and have fun. Love what you’re doing. Spend time with friends who aren’t workout junkies. Basically, detox your body, mind and soul from too much exercise (yes, there is such a thing).

Feeling swamped is no bueno.
Balancing all of your life is huge. Balancing everything life brings and throwing in long exercises? Even worse. It can be taxing! When unexpected things happen to family members, when your kids are going 5 million different directions all at once, when things don’t go as planned at your job, when a relationship ends…these things call all lead to a tipping point. A “screen saver mode” point. And these circumstances usually leave you with little time to really work out. Break through by being aware of where your boundary is – if you know you’re spring time will be crazy, don’t sign up for a marathon on May, especially if it takes extra prep time. As the great Fleetwood Mac said, don’t stop thinking about tomorrow! Focusing on the activities and workouts that you’ll do in the days to come can help you feel a little less overwhelmed in the moment. Forward-thinking about decisions about your diet, what you’ll wear, which route you’re going to run, can all help you feel more in control. 

If all else fails, talk about it to a friend. Exercise with a friend. Try a new form of exercise with a friend. Plan time to do what you need to. Keep your head up 🙂

Today’s Guest Post – Brenda is a triathlete, lover of country dancing and enjoys her social life way too much (heehee). She can always be found doing research about muscles and the human body, trying new adventures as cross training and having as much fun as possible along the way.


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