Friday, April 11, 2014

Bad Training Run?

For every five good training runs, I have one bad one. What do I quantify as a bad training run, you ask? One where as soon as I head out the door, I feel flat. One where as soon as I start, I wanna stop. One where I question how the heck I'm going to achieve my goals when a 5 mile run feels like a 20 miler. One where I bitch and moan the whole time in my head (or out loud) and want to chuck my running shoes in the trash when I get home. Basically, what I'm saying is that we all have bad training runs from time to time.

However, there is good news. There is a way to turn a bad training run into a positive experience. There is a way to harness that bad feeling and use it to your advantage. How? I think we can all agree that we've run a race that hasn't gone quite to plan. We hit a wall. Our legs get heavy. We get a wicked side stitch. The list goes on and on....

When you're in the midst of training run that isn't going so well, use it as practice to understand what it feels like to run when you aren't at your optimum. In essence, train your brain (and body) how to run when you aren't feeling your best. As we all know, the mental aspects of running far outweigh the physical side. If we DNF a race or cut a training run short, it's likely because we allowed our brains to win the battle. However, if you rewire your brain during a bad training run and prove to that powerful mass of mush up there that YOU CAN run through the lows, you might just surprise yourself. And, proving the mind wrong has a very powerful impact.

It is only after we prove to our minds that we can overcome all the reasons why it is telling us to STOP that we discover what we are capable of. I believe that proving our minds wrong is the only way we excel as runners. When we first started running, we thought running a mile was far. But, once we realized we could run a mile, we began to wonder if we could go further? So, we tried for two, then three, four, and before we knew it, we were crossing the finish line of our first marathon. How the heck were we able to do that? Simple, we proved all the doubts in our mind wrong.

So, the next time you're having a bad training run, turn it into a positive experience. Learn from it. The result? The next time you're feeling bad you can tell yourself, "I've been here before. I've felt this way before. I know I can get through this."

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