Ever had a bad run? I mean a run that really sucks? One of those where you doubt your ability to run even one mile.
This was me the other day – 7 miles with heavy legs running slower than I have for a long time. I wasn’t ill and I’m not injured. This run sent me into the dreaded downward thought spiral. Doubt. Fear. A bit of an existential crisis. Yep, it’s all there.
But over the last few years, I’ve learned a lot about how to deal with runs like this and try to switch my headspace from the emotional to the rational. It becomes a little conversation in my head and goes a little like this –
Thoughts on dealing with the bad run
I can’t do this
Now that’s an interesting thought, ‘Why can’t I do this?’ – Do I need to tweak my training, my diet or is it just on off-day – everyone has them.
My legs are tired but I’ve upped the miles. I’m bound to have an off day every now and then.
Who am I kidding running another race? This time a 50K
I remember marathon 1, a frigging disaster, but I finished. Marathon 2 still not great but a lot better and a PB by 35 mins. If I could get through those, I can get through this. And we’ve all had shit we’ve had to deal with in our lives, this is minor in comparison.
I’m so unfit
Hmmmm, how I love this one! This year I’ve completed a few half marathons (including over the hills in Devon), a 20 miler and a marathon. And I started with a really low base fitness with Parkrun feeling like an effort on 1 Jan. Yep, only a runner would think this way. It’s crazy talk.
This is a waste of time
Building up the miles is hard work and sometimes it’s going to suck. I’m doing this because I love running, though sometimes not so much, and everything and everybody it’s brought into my life. I can’t imagine my life now without it.
Just give up
Bugger that. I think this might be where my stubborn streak comes in.
This isn’t always so easy to do. I let myself be a real grump for a while, acknowledged that I was feeling how I was feeling and then went through this process. And you know what? Within a few hours after that I started feeling a little better.
Some runs suck and for me, it’s happening a little more often simply because the miles are building and I’m getting tired. That’s sometimes just the way it goes.
So if you have a shitty run, it happens. I’m sure it happens to all runners at some point. The important thing is how you respond – the most important is getting the next run done, the one after that and the one after that.
How do you deal with runs that don’t go to plan?
(Updated June 2017)