My beautiful cantering tribe! How art thou?!
Welcome to all you new subscribers - there've been quite a lot of you this week. You can find links to previous newsletters down at the bottom of this one.
Hope you all had a fabulous running week. I randomly ended up running the Paris Half Marathon this past weekend. All very last minute, but I paced my friend through and we had a blast. I mean, it's Paris, who wouldn't?! Anyhoo, you can read more about that on my blog.
Berlin Half Marathon crew, can you believe that we're now less than four weeks away?! Where in the heck is the time going? When you live your life in three month training blocks, things just roll around quickly. Over the next couple of weeks I'll be focusing on race prep, pre and post race shenanigans and rituals and the like to start getting us ready for race day but today, let's focus on the training runs we have still yet to do.
No doubt, we have all had that bad run by now. Most likely, we've had many. Many beginners start running, have a crappy run and jack the whole thing in. I've run with people and seen everything from tantrums to tears as the wheels started to fall off and the run didn't go according to plan. But how you react to the bad run can teach you a lot about you as a person and how you approach your life.
As you know, my thing about running and fitness in general is that it shouldn't be compartmentalised into just one area of your life. It should be integrated, free-flowing, permeating throughout every aspect of your life, that's why I'm so adament about being very conscious of your mind state and the effect running is having on other areas of your life. It's not purely about how you're feeling physically.
So, with that in mind, you start to think of the bad run in a different light. Why do bad runs happen? Many reasons. Tiredness, injury, bad mood, a whole string of things going wrong during it - any little thing can make a good run turn to a bad run. It's rare you're going to go through a three or four month training cycle and have all perfect runs and it's unrealistic to think you will. So, if we know every now and then a bad run will happen, it becomes about how we choose to react to that bad run.
I always ask myself a couple of things to put things back in perspective after I've had a hum dinger of a crappy run:
Are you alive?
Seriously, are you breathing? Do you still have all your limbs? Is everyone you were running with still alive? If the answer to all those is 'yes', then first and foremost you just need to chill the hell out. Things could be a lot worse!
What's bugging you?
Try to identify quickly what is throwing you off. Were you in a bad mood before you set off? Are you running in a group and can't keep up with the pace? Are you just not feeling the vibe? Basically, distinguish if the problem is physical or mental. If it's mental, it's time to have a little chat with your internal dialogue again and tell it who's boss. Positivity breeds positivity, so it only stands to reason that if your internal dialogue is nothing but negativity, you're gonna have a crappy run. If it's physical, consider cutting your run short. There's no point in battling to the end when you feel like crap.
So, what are the solutions? How do you overcome a crappy run?
Firstly, understand that it was just one crappy run. Not all your runs will be like that, so let's not get all overdramatic and burn our Lycra just yet. Really weigh up everything to do with the run from what you wore to the route you took to what you ate before you set off to figure out what it was that threw you off.
I've been guilty of having a crappy run on a particular route and returning to that route time and time again to see if I can better it. Eventually yes, I get over it, but those runs in the interim are always more pleasant if I just take a different route and stop beating myself up.
Stop thinking about miles and time
Especially when training for a race, the focus can become all about those two things. Sure to an extent it needs to be, but often what happens is, in the midst of all that, we forget why we run in the first place. What is it you enjoy about it? How does it make you feel? Why do you keep doing it? Go for a run without your watch. Run just for the love of running and get back in touch with why you started.
Take a break
Training is tough and many people are guilty of overtraining. It's highly likely often with crappy runs that you're just overtired, over trained and worn out. Take a few days off to recharge. You won't lose your ability to run in the space of a few days. It is allowed.
Run at a different time of day
Switch up your routine. If you're a morning runner, go for a run at night instead and watch how your environment and your reaction to it changes. You notice all sorts of different things and it makes your routes a bit more exciting again.
So there you have it. Mainly, just chill out, regroup and come back fighting. There's no need to let one bad run throw off your entire routine. It's all about how you deal with it. Much like life in general. When life gives you lemons and all that.
That's it for this week, catch you back here next week. Happy running y'all!