Anyone that runs, or exercises in any form, knows that sometimes the workout is so easy, your body feels great everything is almost effortless, etc. And then there are those workouts that are just a struggle. Sherry Fijas from Wrinkled Runner shares how she copes when her run SUCKS!
A few weeks ago my husband and I went for an 8 mile run, which was the longest run since the marathon.
The whole week before, I went on a few runs and boy were they tough. And when they are tough, they are discouraging.
How could I go from such a “runners’ high” from running 26.2 miles to feeling like 4 was too much?!
Every time I thought “Ok, now my pace is more normal” and looked at my watch, it would be slower than I have run in a year. Yet I felt like I was working super hard, my legs were tired and my breathing was struggling.
It’s been hot, but even accounting for that didn’t explain the fatigue. I know, I know…I ran a marathon a few weeks ago. But…
I have this voice in my head when I have a hard (“bad”) run that says I will never get to the same level again. I will never PR. My half-marathon in September (September!!) is going to suck and I won’t reach my goal because 6 miles here in June are rough.
It is difficult for me to have a bad run, and cast it aside. It can make me crabby for the rest of the day and want to get out the next and prove something…which can be the opposite of what I should do.
One of the things that has helped me a lot with the negative thinking, is listening to podcasts from elite runners who all experience the same thing. I love listening to Tina Muir of the Running for Real podcast.
Even the introduction to the podcast talks about everyone having a bad run, and since I listen to podcasts on my run it is helpful to hear that.
Learn from the Hard Runs
I can take it and try to learn from it. Maybe I need a longer break from running than I am giving myself. Maybe I need to take in more fluids if its super hot out there. Maybe I need to forget about it, go on with my day and hop back into the saddle (or the running shoes) at another time and go from there.
The runners I listen to on podcasts help me look at my running more realistically and it is comforting to know I am not alone. It is encouraging to know that I’m not some unicorn runner that has a bad run while everyone else is out there killing it.
Running Like an Animal (that’s good…right?)
The other day, Dave and I had to do some hill work as part of the training program I’m doing. It was something like 82 degrees and we were chugging up a hill as fast as we could for 30 seconds at a time with a two-minute break in between.
As we were running full bore up the hill, a biker rode by and yelled: “You guys are animals!” LOL…he happened upon us at the right time to see about 15 seconds and assumed we were just running super fast up a hill, probably thinking we were on a much longer fast run.
But, it sure felt good (which is weird that being called an animal is a good thing, haha). It goes to show that a lot of extraneous things can have an impact on your psyche for the good or bad.
I’m taking that lesson to heart, and trying to tell myself good things while on the run. Amanda Brooks has a blog post about having a running mantra. In it, she shares what one is and many examples of what you could use.
Even on a bad run, you can be kind to yourself. You are out there doing it, you are getting stronger even when you don’t feel like you are, you can take a break without having to feel bad!!
It’s tough to do, but I’m going to try and stay positive!
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About the Author: Sherry Fijas
I’m a 51 year-old runner (hence the wrinkled!) who has gone from running as exercise to loving the sport. I started 10 years ago when a magazine article proclaimed that in your 40’s its “Welcome to back fat”! I took a look and low and behold…there it was!! I determined then to lose 30 pounds and thus started my running “journey”…or torture. At first I could walk a mile, run a mile, walk a mile and gradually (verrrrry gradually) worked up to a half marathon.
I have now completed my first marathon and I am hooked! I talk about my training, and also share the things I am learning as I go along. I have found so many helpful resources as I explore and grow as a runner and can’t wait to pass them on to you!
I am also a mom to 5 children (4 married, 1 in college) and grandma (Nonnie) of 2.