Bad Runs (or Workouts)

May 13, 2016

When I first started running a little over a year ago, every run was a bad run. Or at least, it felt that way. It was painful, and I was tired. I felt pushed to my limits and disappointed in how little I could achieve in such a short amount of time.

But slowly…

Things got better.

I found that I actually started to have moments where running didn’t just ‘suck.’ Or even if the run was bad, the feeling I felt when I was done was fantastic.

I think it was on one of my earlier long runs that I finally felt the ‘runners high’ and I felt like I could keep running forever! Of course, that was short lived, but it felt great in the moment.

Nowadays, most of my runs range in the decent to good. I love the feeling of accomplishment that I have with a run, or seeing my speed increase. I love knowing that I beasted a hill or that I ran further than before without feeling like it was impossible.

I have friends who are convinced that every run for me at this point is ‘easy peasy’ or no big deal. As much as I wish that I was the case, I still totally have bad running experiences from time to time. Those runs where you just have to convince yourself to keep going.


Post bad run selfie. Boo.

The other morning was such a run. I decided to forgo my normal gym workout and do a morning run so that I could get prepped and into the office for an earlier meeting. I set out to run on a beautiful, early morning. About a mile in, I got a stitch in my side.

That’s when the mental games began.

I couldn’t shake it. I kept having to walk from the pain, and then I kept thinking about how long I wanted to run (my goal when I started was 5 miles). Then it got me thinking about how slow I was going, and would I be able to keep up my pace goals for future races, etc, etc.

It was a battle and I struggled through it. Each mile took convincing that I could keep going and when I ran my final loop just past my house, I was totally tempted to cut it short and end at 4.5. But I couldn’t and I knew I could easily get that extra half mile by running just a few minutes more.

So, it wasn’t pleasant, and I was SO very glad when it was done. But that was it. It was done. I did my 5 miles and then I could move on with my day. I didn’t enjoy it, but I sectioned it off to that space of ‘runs I just hope to not relive for a while.’ I’m grateful that at this point, I’m able to have so many good runs, but I also know that there will be days where I’m not in the mood, or I have to push a little harder to make it happen.

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Not a bad run, but definitely a painful one! Hit a new PR but really had to push myself. Photo by Jagg Photography

If you’re still stuck in the bad run trend, there’s hope! It can get better! It may be a matter of your current mood or mindset, or it may just be that you need to re-evaluate your runs. When I started concentrating on enjoying the time to myself or setting different running goals (maybe instead of speed, think about your form on your run, or slowing down and trying for a different distance), my running actually became an enjoyable experience.

This can apply to your regular workouts, too. Some days, you may not be in the mood for a workout, or it’s an instructor/trainer you’re not normally crazy about, you’re tired, etc, etc. Just because you have a bad workout, doesn’t mean you should write that workout off forever! Try it again another day. Try a different instructor, time, format… mix things up! But give it a chance.  Some days you’re just off or it may just be that the workout isn’t the right fit.

And now, here’s a link to 35 runner excuses when you just can’t (but you do anyways).


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