The Factors That Slow Down Your Running and How to Eliminate Them


While some runners cruise at a continuous pace on every run, most people will notice some variation in their stats. If you’re feeling particularly slow at the moment, it’s important to take note of the factors that might be dragging you down.

As a physical therapist, I’m constantly asked how my runners can increase their speed for better results. Let’s take a closer look at some of the factors that might be holding you back and how you can eliminate them.

The Key Factors that Slow Down Your Running

Imagine you’re facing a whiteboard, and there are two big circles in front of you. One of the circles is labelled ‘external factors’ and the other ‘internal factors’. While both of these groups affect your running speed, only one of them is in your control.

Can you guess which it is?  Here’s a video to that explains it more…

External Factors

You guessed it – external factors are the variables entirely out of our control. Depending on where you live, where you run or what time of day you train, you’re likely to be impacted by several different factors.

Some of those include:

  • Hills – gravity (or trying to run against it) can make things super difficult.
  • Wind – running against a force adds resistance and requires more power.
  • Heat – in hot temperatures, it’s harder for your body to regulate temperature.

Internal Factors

When it comes to analyzing your performance, it’s the internal factors you need to worry about. You can control these variables with smarter training and focused practice as long as you identify them correctly.


Overstriding is a big problem for a lot of runners, all to do with your foot strike. It can slow down your pace, break down your rhythm and harm performance. You can spot this by watching yourself back on video. If you look like you’re walking rather than running, you’re probably overstriding.


Shuffling or scuffing is another crucial problem that many runners face. This factor describes how some runners drag their feet against the pavement or knock their feet into one another by mistake. This can cause injury or irritation in the lower legs, so it’s essential to get it under control.


 A lack of strength is the primary factor behind the lack of speed in runners. Perfecting your form comes with time, but it also comes as your body builds up its strength. If you want to improve your run form and start getting faster, it’s time to take a look at the rest of your body and assess where your weaknesses lie.

How to Eliminate What’s Slowing You Down

Have Your Run Form Analyzed

One of the best ways to identify your weaknesses in running form is to take a run analysis. Our virtual service highlights what you’re doing right and how to improve with detailed annotations and comparative videos for reference. If your pace isn’t quite what you’d like it to be and your form isn’t improving, it’s definitely worth investing in.

Train One Weakness at a Time

The most important piece of advice for improving your run form is to train one weakness at a time. Most of our bad habits will be deeply ingrained, especially if they feel comfortable or natural. Identify your weaknesses, draw up a list of priorities and start focusing on one goal at a time.

Ready to improve your running form for lasting change?

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Included in a RunSmart Analysis:

  • Frame-by-frame analysis and voice-over to highlight imbalances and flaws in your form.
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