You have good days and you have bad days. We all do.
Now, speaking from the runner side of me today... On those bad days, for whatever reason, it can be a struggle to pull it all together and have a decent run. This can happen to a first time runner, or a person who eats, sleeps, and breathes running. It can happen across the board. There are so many factors that affect our running.
BUT - I am starting to realize: There is no such thing as a bad run.
Bold statement? Maybe. Trust me, if you were to ask me in high school when I was training for soccer and field hockey - I would have told you how much I hated running. If you were to ask me about running in college, when I was training with my Division 1 field hockey team, I would have told you that I hated running. I think the main reason I hated it back then was because running was treated as a form of punishment sometimes. Or you were being timed, and if you didn't hit the expected time, you had to run more. I just think when training during sports, running can be easily affiliated with some negative connotations.
When I started running again a year or two after college, it was mainly to lose a few pounds that I had gained. Then, it became more of me in search for the inner athlete that I once was. I almost lost her, and needed to become reacquainted.
Now, as I am training for my first half marathon, I do not hate running. Running has taught me some amazing things about myself - but I will save that for another post.
Last week, I ran outside for the first time in a few weeks. Temperatures have been hovering around 0 degrees and below in my neck of the woods. I am running a 5k on Feb. 1 and it will be outside, so I really wanted to get outside for a few runs before the race. I hated every bit of it, the hills, the cold, the wind. It was only 3 miles, but it was slow. It felt like it was never going to end. When it did end, I was so thankful, and all those negative feelings I had during the run disappeared. I was thrilled I finished it - and that I made it home without frostbite.
That run might not have gone as planned, but I completed it. Instead of dwelling on how slow my run was or how awful the weather was, I decided to let it go and look forward to the next run.
You can do everything right, and you will still have runs that go poorly. For every few runs that make me feel like I’m on the top of the world, another one will come around that tests my resolve and shatters my confidence.
While it may seem obvious, it bears repeating: You can’t feel great on every single run. You can’t set a personal best in every race. The upside? Toughing out the bad runs makes you really appreciate the days when you feel like you’re flying. All we can hope for is that the great runs outnumber the bad.
We learn something from every run we take on, and usually that lesson is the importance of perseverance – and other times, we learn about letting go and trying again. Accepting that not every day will be perfect – but we’re much better off than we would have been if we never tried at all.
What have you learned from running?