It’s not uncommon to wonder why you are running slower. Unfortunately, even after months of training, many runners find themselves suddenly getting worse at running.
It can be incredibly frustrating to put in effort, do all the training, and finish hard workouts… only to discover that after time passes, you are running slower than when you started.
Why am I not getting faster at running?
This is a question just about every runner finds themselves asking at one point or another. Whether you’re aiming for a PR or simply trying to pick up the pace, it feels incredibly discouraging to see that you’re not getting faster at running.
Or even worse: when it feels like more training actually results in getting slower at running.
Why am I getting worse at running?
When you’ve put in the effort, showed up for every workout, given it your all, and actually find yourself getting worse at running – it’s time to find out why.
Fortunately, most runners find themselves running slower as a result of one of the following three reasons.
It’s often overlooked, but the weather and running environment can play a large role in your running performance. If you find yourself running slower after a season change, it might simply be caused by the change in weather.
High temperatures, heavy winds, or extra humidity might be why you are running slower. Taking the time to reflect on any changes in your environment over the past few weeks or months might help you discover exactly why you are so slow at running lately.
One of the more common reasons that you might be running slower is that something is off in your training. Whether it be your mileage, the quality of workouts, variety of speeds, or a number of other components, your training might be the reason you are slowing down.
Sometimes we think we are giving it our all and nailing our workouts, only to find out that our body doesn’t respond to the style of training. Evaluate your training plan to determine if there are any changes you could make to which your body might respond more positively.
When it seems like you’re getting worse at running, yet completing all of your training, it’s likely caused by something in your lifestyle. Lifestyle is the most likely reason why you might be running slower.
Stress, sleep, diet and so much more can have a profound impact on running. If your lifestyle habits are not congruent with your running goals, it’s probably time to make some changes.
Within these three categories, there are many different factors that could be the reason why you run slow. Here are 14 of the most common reasons you’re getting slower at running.
14 Reasons You’re Running Slower
- Changes in weather
- Not replacing old shoes
- Lack of variety in pace
- Too low overall mileage
- Lack of long runs
- Overtraining syndrome: running too much mileage
- Lack of mental stimulus or engagement
- Poor sleep quality or not enough sleep
- Too much stress
- Not eating enough calories or carbohydrates
- Weight gain
- Iron deficiency
- Increase in age
- Improper or not enough recovery
Many runners automatically look at their training when attempting to assess why they are not running any faster. While training certainly plays a larger role in your running performance, many other factors can also lead to a demise in your speed.
If you find that you are consistently running slow, or noticing that you are running slower than before, it might be worthwhile taking a look into your lifestyle and environment.
How Determine Why You’re Running So Slow
Once you notice that you’re running slower than usual, you probably want a quick fix. It’s frustrating enough seeing a slower pace one run after the next, but knowing that it’s going to take a while to get faster will leave any runner feeling hopeless.
The best way to get out of your rut and start regaining speed is to identify exactly why you are running so slow.
To do so, you’ll need to be very honest about your habits, goals and training. As you first begin to reflect, you’ll want to eliminate any potential causes from your training. You should be running a variety of paces each week, with varying intensity and mileage. The week should contain at least one “long run”, and mileage with which your body is familiar.
Running too much mileage could actually cause you to start running slower – due to something called overtraining syndrome. Finding that sweet spot between too little and too much mileage is key.
If you’re sure that your training is not the cause, it’s time to reflect on your lifestyle and environment. Figuring out exactly why you are getting slower at running will likely involve some experimentation.
Here are a few things to try to help determine why you’re running slow.
Tactics to Determine Why You’re Running Slower
- Changing the timing of your pre-run meal
- Going to bed a half hour or hour earlier
- Incorporating stress relieving practices: meditation, journaling, taking baths, etc.
- Increasing weekly mileage
- Adding a weekly speed workout
- Adding a multivitamin to your daily routine
- Purchasing a new pair of running shoes
These ideas will hopefully help you pinpoint the reason that you’re running slower or are not getting faster. Try starting with an area of your life that isn’t very consistent, such as sleep or diet, and see how any changes there affect your speed.
It’s important to give each change some time before jumping to the next. Patience is key if you’d like to determine exactly why you’re running so slow.
While it certainly may sound tedious and overwhelming when you start, discovering exactly what is preventing you from running faster will be well worth it in the end.
More tips to avoid running slower:
- How to Run Faster | 6 Tips to Increase Running Speed
- How to Run a Faster Mile
- What Every Slow Runner Needs to Know