Not all runs are equal. Some leave you feeling filled with excitement. Others, well… leave you wondering why you bothered going for a run at all. Welcome to the bad run!
The reasons can be pinned back on so much, and will differ for all but what do you do when you are on one?
I ran this morning and felt like I was hitting the wall straight out of the starting blocks. Fortunately this was not a race, just an outing for my own ‘enjoyment’. Stopping seems too easy a choice (unless there is something serious going on) so figuring out the way forward is the best option to put mental strength into practice.
Whilst you may not turn your run around and make it perfect, you can focus on making it better
Slow the pace
Relieve some of the pressure, not every run needs to be a race. Sometimes it is just good to focus on keeping on moving. Forget about your watch, it will only bring two things to your attention. Firstly, I am not at the pace I want and second, I have a long way to go!
During my bad run this morning I opted to keep the planned distance (about 12k) but forget about pace. I simply ran in the place where my body felt best.
Weather conditions can have a pretty serious impact. Adjusting your running pace on a hot day will certainly help improve how you feel.
Break Down the Distance
It is common during a marathon to break the distance into segments. Thinking only of shorter segments. By dealing with the marathon in parts, each part seams much more attainable. Check out our tips for your marathon for more ideas on marathon preparation.
On a bad day, try to apply the same principal. Even if it is on a short distance. You may even start playing with visual distances or add some challenges to make bring diversity. Try focusing on getting to a certain building, tree or road crossing. This is easy if you are on a familiar route where you know some of the key milestones. If not, just break it down to what you can see, and celebrate every time you get to your goal.
This may be easier said than done but it is good practice anyway. Thinking of your discomfort will only reinforce the feeling and make it worse. Start planning the rest of your day, or what you will have for dinner. Anything. The main point is to not focus on your discomfort for a moment.
Once you succeed to disconnect you will feel your run lift and you will pick up some momentum. This may not turn around your run completely but will bring moments of joy.
Blast Your Power Song
Many of us have that one song that really lifts us. Keep it handy and don’t over use it. This is the moment that tune has been waiting for. It has a purpose, to lift you from a dark place.
When the going gets tough, find your power song and go for it. On Repeat!
Analyse briefly, then get over it
It is definitely worth putting some thought into why your run may have been bad so that you can learn from it. Whether it is feeling tired, bad digestion, over training or any other items on the long list of possible reasons, avoiding a likely cause or taking the time to rest may help improve your runs in the future.
Most likely however, there will be no specific reason. Sometimes you just have a bad day. It happens in running as it happens in life. Whether it is in a casual run or a race, once you have done your analysis, move on and focus on your next training.
Get Excited About Your Next Run
You know what a good run feels like, you have almost certainly had many in the past. So think back to remember that buzz at the start of a race or that feeling when you cross the finish line.
Bottle that thought and start thinking about your next run. You are ready to get back out there and enjoy your next run!
Jeroen is a keen runner and triathlete. With over 10 years of experience training and participating in races, simply for the joy of sport he has turned to sharing his experience through the articles he writes. As a founder at Loop Social Sport Jeroen has focused his passion on creating a community of like minded individuals who not only train together but also motivate newcomers to take up sport, whether in person or via this blog.