I was having a drink with my Addapp coworkers after work when I felt a sudden energy rush. It might have been the cocktail I was sipping, but I told them “I can’t stay. I have to go for another run, I feel like this is a good time,” and I left. I biked home, quickly changed into my running gear to capitalize on the energy rush. It was foggy outside, and the cold could only help me have a better run.
Before lifting off, full of enthusiasm:
I hate this
It was the second time I went running after being injured. I started out slowly, giving my knees time to get used to running again. I kept running at a slow pace for 10 minutes, and I felt my knees struggling with the run.
I was running so slow, but still, my body wasn’t able to feel comfortable. “God I hate this,” I thought. “I REALLY hate this.”
After injuring my knees, I brought down my training from four weekly runs to three. I started to run slower and avoided hills.
So on this run, I reduced my pace drastically. When Runkeeper announced halfway through my run that it was taking me 7 minutes to run one kilometer, I felt my stomach tighten. The farther I ran, the more time I would need to run that one kilometer. I felt like a turtle.
I am a failure
The first week I started running, I felt very proud after each run. But during the two runs I took after injuring my knees, I realized I am not seeing any progress in my training, but in fact the contrary. I felt like I am doing worse than without training, and I started doubting whether running the San Francisco Half Marathon is actually a good idea.
“No progress, slow pace, only being able to run for 30 min. without injuring myself…God, I am a loser. Maybe I should just quit now and abandon this whole plan.”
Thinking this actually made me sad. The experience and training should be an adventure and should make me happy and proud; it shouldn’t demotivate me and make me feel like a failure.
The fascinating thing about running is, that there is always something pulling you through. On every run. Whenever your light goes off, there is a little light at the end of the tunnel that makes sure you keep moving those legs.
On this run, I ran straight to a park with an amazing view of the city. The perfect picnic spot on bright(er) days. It was exactly this discovery that kept me running that night regardless of my pace and performance.
Alta Plaza Park in San Francisco:
I was close to giving up, but finding this little gem gave me the strength to run home, even if I was like a turtle.
4 things I’ve learned from my ‘bad’ runs
Things WILL get rocky
I wrote it before, and I will repeat it: You’re not the running hero you think you are, so things will get rocky. Your body will fail you. Your mind will fail you. Your supporters will fail you. Accept that not all days will be good days, and move on.
Don’t give up until next week
Bad performance and feeling like a failure are temporary. Don’t give up until a week later. Another run will pull you through.
Look for the light
Look for those little moments on your run that pull you through the ‘dark period’. It can be that moment that you find a hidden gem in your city, or the moment you feel like your legs are carrying you and you don’t have to think about it, or it can be the strangers on the road encouraging you. Focus on that light rather than the pain and the negative feelings.
There is no such thing as a “bad run”
There is only disappointment in your performance. Setting expectations too high and sticking too rigorously to your trainings plan. Let it go, run YOUR run and let your body lead the way.
Half Marathon Training: I Am A FailureHalf Marathon Training: I Am A Failure
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Half Marathon Training: I Am A Failure, I Should Quit