Simple ways to push past your training plateau

You started your training motivated -- stoked, even -- and had been making steady progress ever since. Then you hit that dreaded training plateau, which, honestly, feels more like crashing face-first into a wall.

Maybe it’s physical: You’re still not breaking that personal record on a bike trail. Or perhaps it’s mental: You just can’t seem to run that rapid.

RELATED: A complete guide to acquiring a successful training routine

Fortunately, we’ve got these six ways to free you from whatever has you stuck and help you reach the goals you’re after.

Figure the reason(s)

A post shared by P. Goh (@wangerism) on

Are you physically plateauing? Is it a mental wall? Did some event trigger a fear of failure? You’ve already determined that you hit a plateau; now you need to figure out why.

RELATED: Here's why mental stamina is crucial to physical success

The moment you know why, or at least have some idea, you can move on to the next steps.

Count your blessings


What can often happen during training to be “better” is that we become discouraged by our current state of “not good enough.” Don’t lose that hunger for progress, but give kudos and gratitude to where you are now as you look forward to the future.

This works by having a gratitude journal and kudos log. Write down what made you happy while you were training. That could be the people you were with, the weather outside, the beer you shared with friends in the car -- whatever it is that you can look back on and smile about.

Give yourself props

Also, log your little successes: regularly hitting bunny hops, the good feeling of nailing a move, etc. What this does is override our natural tendency during training to minimize the positives and maximize the negatives -- the should-haves.

Writing this stuff down forces our brains to shift off the usual track of thinking and onto a new way of viewing the world -- one where you’re stoked by the little things and proud of all your steps on your journey to awesomeness.

Follow your unique GPS

Just like a real GPS guides you from point A to point B, the conceptual GPS guides you through your training process to reach your goal. “Guide” is the first word in the acronym. The second word, purpose, drives the goal. Why’d you begin your training journey in the first place? Be honest with yourself here. If it’s to be stronger, great, but if it’s honestly to gain recognition or whatever, that’s fine.

You must honestly define your purpose and use it to drive your goal, which you reach through strategy, the last word in the acronym.

Standards, not goals

training plateau

How will you celebrate and focus on the small elevations that get you where you want to go? Photo: Pexels

Now that we’ve talked about setting the goal, don’t focus on it. Instead, focus on new standards that you want to set for yourself, new behaviors. You don’t just want to race the Green Narrows in North Carolina. You want to know how to run Gorilla Rapid well over and over again.

Focusing on the goal can be daunting, like the idea of driving from coast to coast. Instead, concentrate on getting your clothes on, turning on your favorite playlist and working out every day. Instead of wanting to be mentally tough, focus on waking up five minutes earlier each morning to meditate.

RELATED: Why a 'rest day' is vital to your workout routine

Eventually, as you stack those days of good behavior, you’ll find you’re positioning yourself in the right place to make that goal.

Playtime

training plateau

Make it fun and you might breeze right past that plateau. Photo: Pexels

So important and oh so ignored, playing is a key way to break you away from your training plateau. Why? Because you forget what you’re doing and remember why you’re doing it.