Bad Runs

I’ve been working on an idea for a post for a while now about “bad” runs. I put that in quotes because unless you fall or get injured, any run is better than no run, but I think you know what I mean. (I also want to insert here that clearly I am not an expert in anything fitness related, this is just me and my experiences.)

The last few runs I’ve been on are ones I would classify as not great. I know that I need to increase my mileage and when I feel like it should be getting easier, it’s really not, and I am super frustrated about it.

Let me tell you about my run this morning before I get into the rest of this post. I hit the pavement about 30 minutes after I should have (darn you snooze button!!) and it was like pulling teeth to get myself up. Once I actually made it out the door, I was just feeling sluggish throughout my warm up. My first run portion of my workout was supposed to be half a mile, how long that takes is 100% dependent on how fast you run. Well after about 4 minutes for one reason or another I felt like I just didn’t have the energy to go on. Then I started down the spiral of beating myself up about it and I ended up calling my husband in tears. He was so supportive and sweet, and then said “Well maybe just come home and I will make you coffee” to which I replied, “No way! Giving up is even sadder than a crappy run.”

I pushed through and finished the workout, and while I didn’t break any speed records I went farther today than any other training run to date.

Like I mentioned before, any run is better than no run, and no matter how crappy or great I always learn something about myself on my runs. But this did get me thinking about how to deal with runs. I mean, you can’t just give up, what if race day ends up being less than ideal? You need to train to push through, both physically and mentally.

I think that there are three main factors that can lead run being classified as “bad”: time, speed and distance expectations; muscle soreness/cramping; and most of all—your attitude.

Here are two things I do during a trying run to get myself back on track:

  • I try to identify why. Am I hungry, dehydrated, tired, going too fast, going too far, wearing the right clothes?
  • Then I try to think of what I can do to fix it. Fuel? Take a breather and start back up? Adjust your workout if necessary.

At the end of the day bad runs are still runs and sometimes all you need is a change in attitude or perspective to turn it around.

I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

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10 thoughts on “Bad Runs

  1. I think that you’ve got the perfect formula for what to do if your run is going poorly… identify why and then decide what the best course of action is… sometimes I’m running crappy because I’m sick, or dehydrated or injured and then maybe the best choice for my body is to take it easy, cut it short, and take care of myself. If it’s because I’m feeling lazy, it’s hot, or I’m not quite in shape, the the best thing to do is to push through and I’ll be happier for it afterwards… Rarely do I regret going for a run. (Injury is about the only exception.)

  2. I just go through phases like that…bad run after bad run. You always get through it though! I found a BIG difference when I up’d my iron intake with a multivitamin. Check out this post from Michelle: http://therunnersplate.com/2011/03/18/multivitamin-for-the-run/

    I was feeling EXACTLY like she had described and the iron really has helped! Makes perfect sense from a physiology standpoint!

    Heat is also really hard for me to run through. The bottom line for me is…I can usually push through it, pain and all…and am always happy when I do!

  3. Well, you know I don’t run, but I have had this happen. I am my own worse enemy sometimes during a workout or after…such as, “you suck, Kim!! You should lift heavier or not be so winded!!” I’ve found myself near tears after a workout and then I’m pissed because you’re suppose to have all those endorphins going, and dag…I’m near crying if not actually crying. I think for me it’s my attitude and energy level that day. I’m way too hard on myself. I need the attitude adjustment that you’re talking about. I DID work out after all, and that’s awesome!! I did something good for me! I didn’t quit. I think sometimes, too, I’m impatient. I want to see results NOW, so that gets frustrating. I just have to remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and that I’m doing good stuff for the inside of me.

    I really appreciate this post. I thought I was the only one that has cried after/during a workout =)

    Weren’t you styling this morning in the new workout clothes, though?? =D

    • Oh don’t worry, I was totally styling in my new workout clothes. hehe

      It’s so easy to talk yourself down because we always hold ourselves to such high standards. I mean hey, I was up before the sunrise and working towards my goals. I guess I was just feeling overwhelmed. It’s so funny that you mention that Rome wasn’t built in a day. That’s one of the things I said to myself when it kind of all hit me at once, how far I have to go.

      Thanks for being so supportive and sweet 🙂

  4. Great post! The psychological side of running is hardest for me; pushing through when I’m not feeling it is rough! I try to pump myself up (putting a good song on the iPod, repeating a mantra, adjusting my goals), but sometimes runs just suck. Good for you for sticking with it!*

  5. Bad runs are just bad runs. If your increasing your mileage too quickly your body may not like it. I personally can only do about a 5% increase each week. Not cross-training enough also kills me on runs. With that said though, I find I need to ask myself if a run is going bad because I don’t feel good or because of my attitude. Most the time I can reset my goals for the run and tough it out and feel good about it. Hang in there! One of my favorite things when I’ve had a series of bad runs is to go to my favorite place and run with no watch. Just enjoy the run! Good luck!

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