How to Break Out of a Running Slump

Getting out of a running slump can feel like an impossible task, but with a few tweaks, you can be back on pace in no time.

Not every run is sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes its a bad day, and other times it can feel like a bad week, or even a bad month. Running slumps happen to even the best runners, but they don’t have to last forever. Here’s a few simple tips for how to break out of a running slump.

Man running by the mountains

Take a Break

One of the hardest parts of running consistently can also be the most necessary. Taking a break may seem like a counterintuitive approach to becoming a better runner, but sometimes it’s what your body needs. Fatigue can be both physical and mental. Maybe a heatwave has sapped your energy. Or a series of disappointing results has you down in the dumps. Taking a break to let your body and mind recharge is one of the easiest ways to get back on track. Don’t feel guilty about taking some time off; rest and recovery will keep you fresh and healthy.

Change the Scenery

Running is as much of a mental sport as it is physical, so if you’re brain isn’t engaged in your environment, runs can feel dull and boring. Looking at you, boring sidewalk by my house. Try running at a new location; a park you haven’t visited or a downtown street in a nearby city. Changing up the location brings a whole new set of sights, sounds and smells into the mix to stimulate your mind on a run. You can also try running at different time. Switch from morning runs to evening runs for a nice change in perspective. Either way, change can be good.

Check Your Shoes

Shoes are a runner’s most important tool. While many people take pride in wearing a pair of trainers into the ground like a 1998 Honda Civic, it’s important to make sure your shoes are in good shape. Replacing them with a fresh pair can be the change needed to bring the bounce back into your step. Plus, who doesn’t love lacing up a pair of fresh shoes and hitting the road? As the adage goes, “Look good, feel good, run good.”

Balance Your Diet

Diet is an important part of running, so make sure you’re getting proper nutrients and fuel before and after your runs. You don’t need to strictly adhere to the latest fad diet, but getting the proper mix of healthy carbs, proteins, fruits, vegetables and minerals can have a significant impact on your running. Cut back on the sugars, high-fat foods and soda as well.

Sleep Well

The body needs rest. A lack of sleep can be a major contributor to your slump. Your body needs sleep to recover, and sleep helps keep the mind sharp. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep a night so you can recharge your batteries and be ready to hit the dusty trail the next day.

Get Some Inspiration

Personally I find books, documentaries and videos about elite athletes to be extremely inspiring. Seeing how the best runners in the world prepare for races always makes me want to get out there and throw down a few miles. There’s tons of excellent running content out there that can help you get your edge back and bust out of a slump.

What inspires you to run? Maybe it’s watching elite runners perform, or maybe it’s as simple as setting a goal. Focus on what motivates you to run.

Running slumps aren’t any fun. But a few tweaks can help get yourself back on track.

Have any other tips for how to break out of a running slump? Leave a comment!