We’ve all been there.
When the alarm goes off for your morning run, you hit snooze as many times as your schedule allows. And you finally get out of bed, only after completely negotiating with yourself like going for a run requires a hostage negotiator.
And once you get started running, you promise yourself that it will be short. You’ll cut it shorter than normal just because it feels so terrible. Heavy legs, uncooperative lungs, muscle aches and a mind that’s not in the game.
Maybe you start walking, thinking it will help. But when you walk, you just get more upset at yourself. What am I doing? Why can’t I handle this distance, when I just ran X miles last week? Then you start running, and all the terrible feelings come back again, and you are ready to throw in the towel.
Once the run is over, it isn’t easy to block the feelings of defeat. That you aren’t as in shape as you thought; that even an easy run was too much for your muscles to handle.
Stop right there.
Yes, bad runs happen. Yes, they suck. But no, they are not a sign that you are terrible and need to quit running.
A bad run can signify a couple of different things.
If you are training too hard, where you are doing back-to-back hard runs or just amping up your mileage, a bad run could be your body’s scream for help before an injury flares up. Especially if it’s an easy run that makes you feel like this, it’s a sign that you need to give your muscles a breather. Take an extra rest day or run a workout a little easier that week.
Not surprisingly, I always feel worse for my run after a night out for happy hour where I drink an IPA (or two) and tack on some greasy bar food for dinner. If you aren’t fueling your body the right way, your run won’t feel the greatest. Not surprising. It doesn’t mean that you can’t indulge every once in awhile; but just don’t expect your body to perform like a Ferrari.
A bad day
It happens. It’s just a bad running day. Whether you have something going on mentally or your body just woke up achy for no reason (oh hey there problems of your 30s), a bad run can happen. And when it does, it’s up to you to figure out what motivates you the most. Is it better for you to push through the run, so you can pat yourself on the back for making it through when it was so tough? Or, are you better off delaying that run until another time during the day or even during the week? For some people, a bad run can be devastating mentally – and it can completely shift how you feel about yourself and your running ability.
The best way to recover from a bad run? Find the one good thing you can celebrate in it. It can be as easy as appreciating a flower you saw on your run, or for making it without [insert type of pain]. Whatever it is, find the good in the run and remember that tomorrow is a new day.
When’s the last time you had a bad run? What happened?
What food do you avoid eating before you go out for a run?
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