Mile Time Getting Slower Instead of Faster

by Janice
(Huntington Beach, CA, USA)

mile time getting slower instead of faster

I am a female high school runner. As a high school freshman I ran a 5:20 mile. As a sophomore I ran a 5:11 mile. My junior year I was sideline due to a growth spurt.

Now as a senior the best I can do is a 5:28 mile. Is it over for me? Did I peak too soon?

I am about 5 inches taller than when I was a freshman and have had 2 stress fractures along the way.

I am fully healed and have trained hard for the last three months, but my times are bad.

Any ideas?

Answer by Dominique:
Hi Janice,
Thanks for your question about running a faster mile. It's understandable to feel frustrated with your times right now. But don't lose hope just yet. Let's break down some key points to help you understand what might be going on and how you can work towards improvement.

I'll address your question as follows:

1. Understanding the Impact of Growth and Injuries
2. The Road to Recovery and Improvement
3. Looking Ahead and Staying Positive

Understanding the Impact of Growth and Injuries

mile time getting slower instead of faster
First off, the fact that you've grown about 5 inches since your freshman year is a significant change for your body to adapt to. Growth spurts, especially as you are growing up, can affect your energy levels and running performance.

Although I know it doesn't really help you at the moment, it is quite normal in the life of a teenager that running performance moves a bit up and down.

On top of that, dealing with two stress fractures along the way must have been tough. Injuries like stress fractures require rest and proper healing to fully recover.

It's important to consider that even after the stress fracture has healed, it takes some time to rebuild strength and endurance.

The Road to Recovery and Improvement

mile time getting slower instead of faster
Now, onto the bright side – you mentioned that you're fully healed and have been putting in the work over the past three months. That's a great start! Had you come here saying you had been trying to get back to your previous times with two years of hard training, it would have been a harder problem to solve.

You have been going strongly for three months. That's great and you are only 17 seconds away. I know that's a big gap for the mile. But you have been sitting still for what I assume is about 12 months. You will find you will improve much more over the next 3-6 months. Here are some tips to consider as you continue your journey:

1. Gradual Progression: given your history of injuries and time off due to growth spurt, it's crucial to ease back into training gradually. Don't push yourself too hard too soon, as this could lead to re-injury or burnout. Focus on building a strong foundation first. Also check my page on Increasing Mileage Safely.

2. Strength and Conditioning: incorporating some strength training exercises into your routine can help prevent future injuries and improve your overall running performance. Same as with running, you will want to build up slowly. Core strength, leg muscles, and stability exercises are all beneficial for runners. Also check out the Strength Training for Runners page.

Looking Ahead and Staying Positive

mile time getting slower instead of faster
Janice, it's important to remember that progress in running, like any sport, takes time. Your body has been through a lot of changes, and it's okay to have ups and downs along the way. Keep working hard, stay dedicated to your training, and trust the process.

While your current mile time may not be where you want it to be, it doesn't mean it's over for you. Sometimes breakthroughs happen when you least expect them. Stay optimistic, stay committed to your goals, and keep pushing yourself to be the best runner you can be.

I believe in you, Janice. You have only been back at it for three months. Keep on going and your breakthrough will be just around the corner. Keep your chin up, stay determined, and keep moving forward one step at a time. You've got this!

Best of luck on your running journey,

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