When I first started running a little over a year ago, every run was a bad run. Or at least, it felt that way. It was painful, and I was tired. I felt pushed to my limits and disappointed in how little I could achieve in such a short amount of time.
Things got better.
I found that I actually started to have moments where running didn’t just ‘suck.’ Or even if the run was bad, the feeling I felt when I was done was fantastic.
I think it was on one of my earlier long runs that I finally felt the ‘runners high’ and I felt like I could keep running forever! Of course, that was short lived, but it felt great in the moment.
Nowadays, most of my runs range in the decent to good. I love the feeling of accomplishment that I have with a run, or seeing my speed increase. I love knowing that I beasted a hill or that I ran further than before without feeling like it was impossible.
I have friends who are convinced that every run for me at this point is ‘easy peasy’ or no big deal. As much as I wish that I was the case, I still totally have bad running experiences from time to time. Those runs where you just have to convince yourself to keep going.
The other morning was such a run. I decided to forgo my normal gym workout and do a morning run so that I could get prepped and into the office for an earlier meeting. I set out to run on a beautiful, early morning. About a mile in, I got a stitch in my side.
That’s when the mental games began.
I couldn’t shake it. I kept having to walk from the pain, and then I kept thinking about how long I wanted to run (my goal when I started was 5 miles). Then it got me thinking about how slow I was going, and would I be able to keep up my pace goals for future races, etc, etc.
It was a battle and I struggled through it. Each mile took convincing that I could keep going and when I ran my final loop just past my house, I was totally tempted to cut it short and end at 4.5. But I couldn’t and I knew I could easily get that extra half mile by running just a few minutes more.
So, it wasn’t pleasant, and I was SO very glad when it was done. But that was it. It was done. I did my 5 miles and then I could move on with my day. I didn’t enjoy it, but I sectioned it off to that space of ‘runs I just hope to not relive for a while.’ I’m grateful that at this point, I’m able to have so many good runs, but I also know that there will be days where I’m not in the mood, or I have to push a little harder to make it happen.
If you’re still stuck in the bad run trend, there’s hope! It can get better! It may be a matter of your current mood or mindset, or it may just be that you need to re-evaluate your runs. When I started concentrating on enjoying the time to myself or setting different running goals (maybe instead of speed, think about your form on your run, or slowing down and trying for a different distance), my running actually became an enjoyable experience.
This can apply to your regular workouts, too. Some days, you may not be in the mood for a workout, or it’s an instructor/trainer you’re not normally crazy about, you’re tired, etc, etc. Just because you have a bad workout, doesn’t mean you should write that workout off forever! Try it again another day. Try a different instructor, time, format… mix things up! But give it a chance. Some days you’re just off or it may just be that the workout isn’t the right fit.
And now, here’s a link to 35 runner excuses when you just can’t (but you do anyways).