Bad runs happen to everyone!
This week, I’ve had one of those runs that it would be easy to ignore, forget, or deny. It didn’t go to plan. At all. Instead of dwelling on it though (although I appreciate the irony of making it the topic of a blog post!), I reflected on it for an hour or so and moved on.
It seems to me, following a couple of posts recently which have been very analytical, that running could easily become one extra thing for people to worry about. I don’t tend to do that. Usually, I spend quite a while thinking about where I want to run and trying to make sure I plan ahead so I can realise the run I was hoping to do. But as soon as I’m off, things tend to fall in to place pretty nicely.
That didn’t happen in the run I’m talking about today. What I’d planned to do was to run a 10k tempo at approximately 3:30 – 3:45/km pace which, on recent form, should test me enough without being unrealistic.
All was going well until I hit 7km. At this point, a painful stitch took hold of me. This is unexpected and not normal for me. I never get a stitch when I run! I think the last time I got one was when I was a child. Seriously!
Up to that point, my kilometre splits had been as follows:
Just after 7km, I suddenly got a stitch and I tried to run through it. This didn’t work, despite really focusing on my breathing and the pain got more intense on the right side of my stomach. I looked at my watch and I’d now run 7.54km. I gritted my teeth and resolved that I was going to make it to 8km, or 30 minutes, whichever was the latter. It hurt a lot by this point and I even started making effort noises to try and cope. This really wasn’t like me and that was when I knew I just had to cut my losses and accept that my body was telling me that I really should stop. You can view the 8km here.
I was so frustrated because I really felt that I was going to put down a competitive marker of a 37:xx or low 38:xx 10k time. Doing so this early in my marathon training would have been a great mental boost and motivation for things to come. It would have given me a target to aim to beat in future tempo sessions. Being stubborn, after getting fed up walking for a bit and once the pain had gone, I decided I was going to run 10k even if wasn’t the 10k I’d planned to do. I ran a much slower 2.6km to get back home, with my tail firmly between my legs. You can see this run here.
My target in my 10k tempo runs in future is now to beat 8km in 29:40 or better, or to reach 10k.
Factors / ‘Excuses’
In my hour of reflection, post-run, when I was a bit moody, I considered some of the things that could have led to my stitch. My food and drink choices of the day perhaps (too many Mochas, not enough water, a lot of sweets and chocolate)? The amount of exercise I’d already done that day (3 x 20 min Joe Wicks HIIT sessions in an afternoon)? The general end of term exhaustion combined with the above?
After pondering these possible factors for a few minutes, I realised that I was on a slippery slope to worry and over-analysis. You know what? I’d been on runs before and probably had the same possible factors/’excuses’ that I could have used. That’s when I stopped looking for reasons and decided that whilst my diet is something that I can struggle with sometimes, it really just came down to one thing; I just had a bad run.
We’re human, which means we can’t be perfect all the time. Therefore, sometimes, we might be found wanting on a run – for a discernible or undiscernible reason; for something in or out of our control. People better and more experienced than me have said before to focus on ‘controlling the controllables’ and not worrying or getting cross about things that don’t go my way if they are not within my power to control them.
It’s OK to have a bad ‘un
You know what else I decided? I decided that it was OK to have a bad run. I gave myself permission to accept that I can’t always have the awesome run I want. I’ve not had a bad one for a long time. I was probably due one and I’m glad it has taken a while for it to come along. And if nothing else, it has reminded me of my own fallibility. As a man (I’m in danger of stereotyping here), I’m generally of the view that I am completely invincible until I get struck by manflu or…a bad run, like this one. So, being put back in my place is a good thing, reminding me to respect my body, my diet and my sleep.
What will I do differently next time? I’ll be thinking that bit more clearly about what I put in my body perhaps and I will ensure I drink plenty of water. I’ve also resolved to limit the number of mochas I have each day. This run has given me a wake up call and made me more determined to have that bit more discipline prior to my runs in future. If I want the best result, I need to give myself the best chance (and minimise potential excuses) to perform to the level I want.
When have you had a bad run? What happened? More importantly, how did you deal with it?
DON’T LEAVE YET!
As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader, I’m super excited to have been nominated for my blog, Tim’s Running World, in The Running Awards 2018! Voting has now been extended until late January. I would love your vote! It takes just two minutes and you can vote at therunningawards.com.
ONE MORE SECOND!
I’ve also been privileged enough to be shortlisted in the running for the UK Blog Awards 2018 too! Tim’s Running World is listed in the Sports and Fitness category and the Lifestyle category. If you could spare two minutes to vote for Tim’s Running World, I would really appreciate it!