5 Reasons Your Running Isn’t Improving


Just like healthy and sustainable weight loss there’s no secret formula when it comes to running faster or longer. However, there are a handful of simple things you can do to improve your running and they all add up. Luckily, it’s less complicated than you think.

While there are myriad ways to tweak your running for improvement, most of them fit into five categories: supplementary strength work, running volume, consistency, variation and non-running activities. While there is overlap among each of these categories, it’s best to address all five in some capacity to get the most out of your training.

Here are five common mishaps that can keep you from realizing your running potential:


Runners are a frequently injured bunch. Some studies show injury rates for runners as high as 6065% annually. Running consistently is more than half the battle, but to be consistent, you need to prevent injuries by supplementing running with strength and core work

Running is a demanding and repetitive sport, and it can be hard on your body if you don’t take the time to strengthen the muscles that support you. As you progress and start to get faster, there’s a tendency for your aerobic fitness to outpace your structural fitness. That means you’re heart and lungs may be ready for more work than your strength can handle, which can result in injury.

Since many of us are largely sedentary outside of our workouts, our bodies aren’t always prepared to handle the stress of running. Fortunately, even a small amount of regular strength training improves our structural fitness and allows our bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to support us and stay healthy while running.

Simple Solution: Perform 5 minutes of active warm up before each run.


Runners who tend to get injured the most are the ones who stop and start often, or take frequent weeks or even months off. They are constantly in a cycle of trying to rebuild, which puts them at a greater risk for injury. If there is any magic bullet to running, it’s that running consistently will help you improve.

Simple Solution: Stay consistent with how many days you run each week, even when you’re not training for something specific. It’s all too easy to get off track when you start skipping runs on a regular basis.


Inconsistency will thwart even the best intentions and can be your worst enemy when it comes to improving your running. Consistency, on the other hand, is your best friend. Running is cumulative over months and years of training, and consistency is what allows you to weave together a sustainable running career.

Inconsistency can crop up in several areas — from mileage and number of runs per week to speed workouts. Sometimes it’s due to an unavoidable overload in other areas of your life, but a lot of the time it’s simply a result of losing focus or motivation, or not following a quality training plan.

Stay consistent by focusing on the little things that motivate you to get out on a regular basis, whether it’s a goal race, fundraising and training for a cause, catching up with a friend or just enjoying the energy that comes from starting your day with a run.

Simple Solution: Find a plan that works for you, and stick with it! A coach will provide the most personalized schedules, but there are plenty of great resources and training plans available to keep you on track.


First consistency, now variation? Yes, you need them both. Although this may sound contradictory, the key is knowing when to apply each principle. Here are some areas of running where you want variation:

  • Types of runs: Easy, moderate and hard running all have their place. If you want to keep improving, you don’t want to run the same pace and distance every day. My marathon training plan incorporated each type in just three focused runs per week.
  • Running surface: Many of us spend a lot of time on the road, but the constant pounding can be tough on your body. Vary the surface you run on each week, and include trails and softer surfaces. Your feet and legs will thank you.
  • Shoes: It’s ideal to rotate among 2–3 types of shoes each week. This is yet another way to minimize the repetitive nature of running. You may want to try a lighter, more minimal shoe for speed sessions and a more supportive shoe for longer or recovery runs.

Simple Solution: Make each run have a purpose. When your run is supposed to be easy, don’t be tempted to push hard. And when you have a key workout, give it your all. Avoid constantly staying in that “too-hard-to-be-easy-but-too-easy-to-be-hard” zone that provides minimal benefit.


The life of an elite runner is set up to provide the greatest possibility for improvement and success. They often run twice daily, get 8-plus hours of sleep along with a midday nap, have regular massages and bodywork — and spend hours on core and strength sessions in addition to their running. But that schedule is impossible for 99.9% of us.

We can’t replicate their schedules, but we can certainly incorporate some of their habits into our own training. Here are several things that may be affecting your ability to improve:

  • Get enough sleep: This is your body’s prime time for repair and recovery. If you’re training hard, you aren’t going to recover well if you don’t get enough rest. Sometimes I’ll take some Beachbody Performance Recharge before bed to help me sleep and repair my sore muscles. It really helps!
  • Pay attention to your nutrition: Simply focus on eating more real, whole foods. If you put your energy toward adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet and minimizing sugar and processed foods, you’ll have a fantastic “whole-food” diet. This becomes increasingly important as your mileage builds. You know my go-to resource is 90/10 Nutrition. Learn how to clean up your diet without starving, counting calories or points, or taking some chemical concoction.
  • Limit life stress: Build a schedule that works with your life. Try to plan your training and races in a way that works with your current schedule and reduces stress. When major life events happen, let running be an outlet rather than an added stress. For me, running can be a “mental health break” as well as a great workout.
  • Keep up with body maintenance: Maybe you can’t get a massage every week like the elites do, but you can certainly book one on occasion and keep up with self-maintenance, like foam rolling, at home.

Simple Solution: Don’t try to change too many things at once. Make simple, sustainable changes, like getting to bed 15 minutes earlier each week or adding more vegetables to one meal each day. It’s all about Baby Steps!

Don’t let any of these reasons keep you from running your best. If you’re looking to improve, addressing these options is a great place to start.

Special thanks to Jason Fitzgerald and the mapmyrun blog for doing the heavy lifting on this article.

Fitness, Fortitude, Personal Development

Brush Your Teeth To Fitness

Discipline bridge

Here are a few ideas to help you achieve your fitness goals, whether you are triathlon training (like me), trying to get to your target weight, couch to 5k, or making it through an entire Beachbody DVD program like PiYo (my favorite).

1. Write down your plan.
Make your workouts part of your daily schedule/ routine – just like brushing your teeth, work meetings, appointments, etc. Consistently completing your scheduled workout appointment will build the habit – and improve your results.

2. Have a purpose to your workout.
This is especially true of endurance athletes who often log unnecessary or “junk miles” because they believe the volume of work will make them better. Not necessarily true. Regardless of your fitness goals, make sure your workout is aligned with them. Focus on your form and the quality of your workout. Learn to do it right before adding weight or intensity to your workout.

3. Try Habit Stacking. One clever way to sneak in your exercise is to associate it with something else already in your routine. I’ve made it a habit to hit my pull up bar after brushing me teeth in the morning. It only takes a minute. Brush teeth. Do pull ups. Boom! done!

4. Don’t ever give up.
Sometimes circumstances will block your workout schedule. Life happens. Healthy living is a journey intended to last a lifetime. Miss a day? Don’t do a double the next day, just move on to the next one. Short on time? Sneak in a partial workout, or modify it to get some activity in. Some is better than none. Building the habit is key and consistency grows over time. Eventually, exercise will be such a natural part of your life that you hardly have to think about it. Daily workout? Yep, that’s just like brushing your teeth…


Ready to Workout? First Things First


Make the most of your workouts by doing these simple things before you start.

Mind Your Mindset – If you are like me, exercise is a healthy release & distraction from the demands of daily life. Prepare your mind for the “mental health break” by switching your focus off the daily demands. Think about things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Think about how good it feels to do something healthy for yourself, think about how good it feels when the workout is done – that glorious natural high that gets you through the rest of the day.

Workout with a Purpose – If you are following a specific training plan, do the workout! If you have goals you are trying to reach, pursue them vigorously. This is where you recall your WHY. Why am I exercising? Why is it important to me? At the same time, not every workout can be your best, or fastest, or strongest. Remember good form and the techniques you need for your particular exercise. Get good at the skills & techniques before trying to lift more, go faster, do more reps, etc. to avoid injury.

Budget Your Time – Sometimes work, circumstances, or just life gets in the way of your scheduled workout time, or forces you to cut it short. Some exercise is better than none. Take advantage of the time you have. However, if you are routinely cutting your workout short, then you likely are not budgeting your time effectively. Make the necessary adjustments to your day to maximize your workout time. Make it an appointment in your calendar that can’t be interrupted but for emergency.

Feed the Machine – Preparing for your workout includes having quality calories and hydration in your system. For especially long or intense workouts, this preparation needs to start well ahead of your workout appointment.

Muscle Activation – Don’t forget to warm up. Don’t do static stretching before your run, for example. Instead, begin slow and controlled with movements similar to what your workout will be. These movements will help the brain and muscles communicate better and prepare your body for the work ahead.

That may feel like a lot of work before your workout, but it should really only take a few minutes. Mental preparation is important. Get maximum results from your workout time with these simple preparation steps.

Fitness, Nutrition

How much water should you drink?

pee picThere is lots of noise out there about proper hydration for optimum health. There are diet plans that call for extraordinary amounts of water consumption (1 gallon or more daily!), and it seems like the common advice is to simply “drink more water.” There’s the rule of thumb which says to drink half your body weight in oz of water daily. So a 175 lb person like me should have 87.5 oz of water a day – or an 8 oz glass of water 11 times.

But what if I exercise? What if I eat lots of fruits & veggies? What if I sit outside in the hot sun and read all day? To me, these are all variables that make the rule of thumb unreliable. Additionally, while it is rare to drink too much water, it’s not good for your kidneys to over hydrate. So what should you do?

In my opinion, you should mind your pee. That’s right. The color of your urine tells you if you are properly hydrated regardless of how much water you drank. The lighter the color, the better your hydration – generally. If your pee is clear to ‘diluted lemonade’ then you are good. Brighter yellow to apple juice means trouble.

Personal Tips & Observations:

-Sleeping dehydrates you. I have a big drink first thing in the morning (20 oz at least) to relieve dehydration, start my digestive system before breakfast, help me feel more full before I eat, and wake me up. I think this is a good habit.

-Drinking a big glass of water before every meal will help you to eat less because you will feel more full.

-Have a water bottle with you at your desk or work place all day. Drink from it often.

-Certain medications or vitamins will discolor your pee for a few hours, so don’t freak out about that.

-Have a headache or feeling ‘hangry’ (aka: hungry/ irritable/ angry)? Drink a big glass of water first. Give it 10 minutes to see if it makes you feel better. Many times it will. This is your body telling you that you are dehydrated.

-Please do not replace water with soda, sports drinks, coffee, alcohol, juice, milk, etc. Your body needs water. While some juice, milk, wine and plain coffee may have some health benefits, MOST are filled with artificial and chemical ingredients that do more harm than good.

This has been a public service announcement from Team Quadzilla. Adequate hydration leads to increased awesomeness. Have a beautiful day!

Fitness, Nutrition, Shop

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