Not “bad” meaning “bad but “bad” meaning “good”. ~ Run-D.M.C.
During my training for Leadville (the second time), I learned to appreciate any run and after a run that was less than stellar, to tell myself, “There is no such thing as a bad run.” Now this isn’t 100% accurate (Rach even pointed out, “What about the runs where people get hit by cars… or eaten by bears?”), sometimes hitting your targets is incredibly important, the sentiment itself is something which I have really taken to heart. Every run has merit and something from which you can learn and grow as an athlete. So in that regard, every time you drag your ass off the couch to log some miles, there is something to be gained.
Today’s run was a bit of a bust. I had hoped to get in 7-8 miles on the treadmill and, if I was feeling up to it, log some faster paced repeats in there as well. Yesterday’s run in the woods was fantastic. Post-run, however, I noticed a twinge in my left ankle. Running on snow packed trails can cause some irritation and ankle-twisting and apparently I had fallen prey to a minor tweak of some sort. So I tested the waters and after a mile, decided a day of rest would do me (and my ankle) some good. So I shut things down and chalked this one up in the “less-than-perfect” column.
Even on the worst of days, there is much to be learned:
- Listen to your body: If things seem “off” there is no shame in taking a bit extra rest. If I have learned anything over my years of regular training, it’s that there is always going to be another opportunity to get out there. And the sooner you can heal an injury, the quicker you will return to full form. Too many runners jump back into the fray too soon and end up losing WAY more time to injury than had they simply taken a couple of rest days earlier vs. later.
- Be happy with what you get: People get wrapped up in the “all or nothing” approach to life. Where, if it can’t be done 100%, then it shouldn’t be done at all. Needless to say, I don’t subscribe to this point of view and feel that though that may be a way to keep oneself motivated, it isn’t really practical. Life happens and some days one just can’t get the scheduled workout on the books. Be happy with whatever time you get to spend doing the activities you enjoy most. And don’t get down on yourself if things don’t go exactly to plan.
- Look for the lessons & stay positive: In virtually any run, there are opportunities to learn from your experience. If your legs felt “dead”, relish in the understanding that you have now experienced what it feels like to run on dead legs so it won’t phase you as much if it happens in the later stages of a race. If you just weren’t feeling it on that particular workout, take pleasure in knowing you got out there and put in some effort, even if it wasn’t your best day.
So get off the couch, get out there, and enjoy the small things if the bigger ones aren’t working for you.