Today I had a terrible, no-good, very bad run. I decided that I would just go when my body decided to wake up… not worrying about setting an alarm… which was a bad idea. So, I didn’t hit the road until after 8:30, which definitely wasn’t wise since the temperatures already crept into the 70s (hey, I did get to work on my tan a bit).
When it comes to having a bad run, it can be devastating from a mental sense. You start to doubt yourself and your fitness, and especially when you are training for a particular distance, the doubt can start to creep into your mind.
More often than not, these bad runs are due to some factors that are (usually) within your control.
1. Not enough sleep. Pulling an all-nighter before a run is bound to make you feel tired and groggy as you pound the pavement. Make sure you are getting enough sleep before your runs, especially if you are running long. It will make a huge difference in your energy levels.
Of course, sometimes this is easier said than done… but remember naps are a great way to sneak in some shut eye. 🙂
2. Not enough water. Especially when you are running in warmer conditions, hydrating makes a HUGE difference in your performance. I feel like when I haven’t hydrated enough over the days leading up to my run, the heat radiates off my skin and goes nowhere. When I have sufficient water, I can sweat it out and stay cooler.
Also, make sure you are drinking as you exercise. I love these handhelds from Ultimate Direction because they are easy to carry and don’t get in the way.
3. Skipping fuel. So, one of the reasons why my run may have been terrible was the fact that I had ice cream for dinner last night. I know, such a great decision, right? We ate a really late lunch, which meant we weren’t that hungry for dinner and instead had a snack. Not smart when you’re planning to get up and run first thing.
Instead of having ice cream, I could have had something a bit more healthier for a snack, like 1/2 a bagel with peanut butter or some fruit and nuts.
4. Running on tired muscles. If you’re in the middle of a run and just don’t have that “oomph” factor that you need to have it be a good one, think about the workouts you’ve done over the past few days… or even the normal everyday activities.
If you’ve been on your feet a lot due to a work event or if you’ve pushed it a bit harder in your strength training, your muscles may be tired. In this case, pull back a bit and turn it into an easy run — enjoying the feeling of running and not trying to hit any crazy time goals. It will make it much more enjoyable.
5. Being unprepared. Some of my worst runs have been those days when I haven’t thought through my route or even what I’m going to wear for my run. Preparing for your run sets you up for success and makes sure you have everything that you need.
Especially when I’m running early in the morning, I like to lay my clothes out the night before to make sure I have everything ready to go. If you aren’t running to a training plan, having a plan of attack for your workout helps a TON to prepare you mentally.
Of course, there will be those days that even if you do all of these things, you may still have a bad run. But once you are able to pinpoint the root of the bad run, it makes it easier to move on and get ready for that next great run.
When’s the last time you had a bad run?
Any other factors for a bad run?
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