What Bad Runs Teach You

Sigh, double sigh, triple sigh.... today was supposed to be a trail run with someone at a place that I'd never run before. I blew off a race at that location (to save my $40 and to bypass race jitters), and decided to run with a local there instead. Unfortunately, two weeks later when this weekend rolled around, she was unable to run due to a nagging injury.

I decided to take my longer run this weekend on the road since I'm so much slower on the trail. I didn't want to be gone most of the morning. We slept in which threw off my normal routine. I didn't get started until after 9. (I'm usually running no later than 7:30 on the weekends).

By mile 2, I was already struggling. By mile 3 I felt like I was going to throw up, and had chills. Everything just hurt from my Achilles to my knee to my hamstring.

I bagged the run at 6 miles, and walked a mile home.

I felt pretty defeated, but then I remembered something that a runner friend told me "Bad runs always teach us something". So what can I learn from this run?

  • Probably should have eaten something - running on empty at 6am is different than running on empty at 10am. I did have water. But I hadn't had anything to eat, and I didn't bring any fuel. 
  • I started this run off in the wrong head space. I was bummed that my original plan hadn't worked out. I was a little off that my day was starting so late. So I started this run on the wrong foot mentally if that makes sense. The takeaway is that I should have put myself in the right frame of mind from the get go. Things happen - gotta deal with it and roll with the punches. 
  • Toss out those negative thoughts! "If I can't run more than 6 miles, how am I ever going to complete the race?" This one bad run (or multiple bad runs) doesn't define me. I had to take a step back and look at maybe why this run was bad. Nutrition? Humidity? Terrain? There are a lot of factors that go into a run. And each run is different - so I can't let one run define me as a runner.  

I'm using this less than stellar run as a reality check, and a guide to help me become a stronger runner. It definitely makes the good runs sweeter.  

At least the walk home from my ditched run had a nice view. 

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  1. So true, the bad runs always teach something and make the good runs so much more worth it!


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