Most runners have had a run when they have wished they were doing anything other than lacing up their sneakers. It could be that you woke up sluggish after a bad night’s sleep, you can’t find your favourite piece of workout kit or you are anxious about taking the time out for your run.
You consider ducking out of the workout but manage to get yourself out the door. You then spend the beginning of your run annoyed that your top is wrong or anxious about getting back to work in time for your meeting. Perhaps you should just give it up, chalk this one up as a miss, thinking you’ll make it up on the next one.
First make sure you are well rested from your last workout and are not sick or injured. If you are sure you are fit to run, then try some of these tips and all might not be lost.
- Celebrate the fact that you are out the door rather than missing your run. Remember you would feel far worse if you didn’t run at all.
- ‘Smile’ research states that when you smile, feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins and serotonin are all released which act as pain relievers, stress release and work by lifting your mood. Try it out, it really does work.
- Slow down – moving slowly is better than not moving at all. If you record slower splits than normal, does it really matter? Starting slowly and building up speed through a run is still a great training run.
- Think about your technique – concentrate on shorter strides, relax your breathing, think about tall posture and light ground contact. Distracting yourself by concentrating on how you are running can help stop the negative self-talk.
- Break your run down into small goals. Set yourself a goal to run to the next street crossing, then to the next lamppost and then to the shop you can see up the road. Don’t forget that your willpower needs training as well. Working your way through difficult periods is great preparation for events.
- If you have an event as a goal, think about why you chose that goal and how hard you’re working to get there. Visualise yourself running the event and crossing the finish line.
- Concentrate on something you are enjoying in the moment – it could be the sunrise, the quiet time you are having on your own or a smile from a passing runner. Enjoying the moment will help concentrate your mind on the ‘here and now’ rather than ‘where I’d rather be’.
To really benefit from a bad run, work out what went wrong and try and learn from the experience.
Every run is an opportunity to learn something about yourself to make the next run a better experience.