Your training is going well: you're making progress, you look forward to your workouts, you're learning new things and constantly improving. Things are great.
And then it stops. Seemingly for no reason, you plateau. You stop hitting PRs, sometimes even regressing slightly. Training seems stagnant. There are only little details to learn now, and they take so long that it's monotonous rather than exciting.
What do you do? In this post I'm going to suggest a few strategies for breaking through the plateaus that are an inevitable part of serious athletic training. Pretty much all of them involve changing up your programming. Some of them are very general, and some very specific. Hopefully one (or more) of them will apply to you!
Strategy #1: Change your programming.
This is about as broad and general as it gets. Whose programming are you doing? If you're doing the main site, try something else: an affiliate or a fellow knowledgeable CrossFitter for example. If you're doing your own programming, do someone else's: there is something very powerful about having no say in what your workout is going to be.
Strategy #2: Employ a method that focuses on your weaknesses.
So you've got a 500# deadlift and an 8 minute mile. Maybe CrossFit Endurance is right for you. 50 pullups, a 60 second 400m, and a 185# front squat? Give CrossFit Strength Bias a try. Maybe you need to do muscle-ups, handstand pushups, or Olympic lifts more regularly. Adjust your programming to focus on your weaknesses, and though you may find that your daily results are less stellar than when your programming is slightly more varied, you will quickly improve at the things you most need to improve at, and this will show in your work capacity across broad time and modal domains.
Strategy #3: Change your environment.
Run your 5k in the mountains. Take some dumbbells and a jump rope to a park or beach. Train on your own? Visit an affiliate or get a training partner. Changing the scenery can do wonders to make things move along.
Strategy #4: Change your equipment.
Try all your metcon weightlifting with dumbbells for a month. Do all your pullups on rings and your muscle-ups on pullup bars. Do your pushups and handstand pushups on parallettes. This change in equipment not only holds true to the CrossFit prescription of constant variance, it will also turn of the "same old movements" into entirely new challenges. After a month of making everything you do harder, you'll move a lot more quickly when doing things "the usual way."
Strategy #5: Get fat.
This is about as specific an example I can give: Put on a weight vest for all your metcon and gymnastics for a month. Like the above option, this will make everything you do an entirely new experience. Pushups will start to feel like bench presses, muscle-ups will feel like they did when you first got them, and you can forget all about breathing when you've got 20# or more squeezing on your lungs. After a month, take the vest off and feel yourself fly.
Got more suggestions? Post thoughts to comments.