Greetings Team Bangs Army!
Merry Happy Weird Week Between Christmas and New Year! Hope you have all been having a great festive season. Mine has been full of...yes, you guessed it: lots of running! Call me crazy but I love winter training. And I'm gonna double down on that crazy and say it hasn't been quite as cold as I'd like it *ducks to avoid rocks you're all throwing at me*
Anyhoo, on with today's sermon...let's talk about the dreaded bad run, but more specifically, how to get over it and get back to the good, happy bouncy runs we all love.
I know that among you, my dear newsletter readers, we have new runners, more experienced runners and super badass marathon and ultra runners and I can guarantee you, bad runs happen to everyone. No matter what level you are, every now and then you will have a run that is an absolute clanger - you can't sort your breathing out, your route is boring, your legs hurt, dogs are on a mission to trip you up, it's too hot, it's too cold, whatever the reason, you just feel 'meh' and can't seem to put your game face on and tough it out. Everyone has them, even Paula Radcliffe (I interviewed her once and she told me so! FACT!)
I learned fairly early on in my running journey that this here running game is about 98% mental. I don't know who said it but that 'Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're probably right' quote, is bang on point. It's all about that inner narrative you have with yourself. You'll be surprised what you can do when you just tell yourself you can do it. Likewise, if you're mid-run and your inner voice is chanting 'I can't do this, I can't do this' what exactly do you think is gonna happen?
If you follow me on Twitter, you'll already know that I've been stuck in a string of bad runs recently - since running my marathon back in mid-October, I just haven't been able to get my groove back. But on Christmas Day, I had an awesome run that totally made up for all the crappy ones I've been having the past few weeks. So, step one is perseverence. A bad run is just that, ONE bad run. Whether you believe it or not, you're improving with every run you do, every single stride is getting you a little fitter, a little closer to your goal, so even though it may not have felt exactly how you wanted it to, it's important to not write it off as a total loss. More importantly, don't let it discourage you from running.
The only way to get better at something is to do it more. That goes for everything in life. Don't let the bad run be the legacy. Get back out there and run again to chase the achievement.
There are certain methods I've found that help shake the bad run blues:
- If you run with music, change your playlist. Running playlists don't have to be all hard thumping big beat power house tunes. Pick music that makes you feel good, smile, remind you of good times.
- Change your route. Do the same route too often and it does just get boring. Challenge yourself, find a route with a big hill in it or a different terrain.
- Catch a bus/tube to a destination and run home. One of the best runs I did in marathon training was when I got up super early, got the tube to the other side of London and ran home - running down Oxford Street with not a soul in sight was awesome. Also, if you have questionable navigational skills, this is even more exciting as you spend half your time figuring out where the hell you are and before you know it, you've run crazy miles!
- Change your goals: if you've been having a string of bad runs, strip it right back. If you can only manage two miles, so be it. Don't aim for 10 miles on your next run, aim for 2.5, when you get to 2.5, you might find you can go a little further. There is no shame in shorter distances. You are still clocking the miles, they still count.
- Repeat positive affirmations in your head as you run - I know that sounds cheesy and very Oprah-ish, but trust me, I know the power of chanting 'I can do this, I can do this' in your head.
- Set smaller goals within the run: when you feel a run getting tough, stop thinking of the miles and make it about getting to that next lamppost or bench - I've had runs where getting to the next stone of gravel was an achievement.
- Some suggestions people gave me last week were to run without a watch/mile clocking gadget and make fun goals like jumping in every puddle or seeing how muddy you can get your trainers. I tried this and can attest, I had a happy run!
Just remember, don't get discouraged. We all have bad runs and the only way to have better ones is to run more!
Until next time amigos, happy running!