Bad Training Runs are Good For You!

Bad Training Runs are Good for You!


Sounds strange doesn’t it, “Bad Training Runs are Good for You.”  I had one last Saturday and although it was bad, it still was good. Seven miles of ease and then seven miles of hell.  Fatigue, soreness, pain and my mind just saying, “let’s get this over quickly.”  Why was my run so bad?  Our running club coach warned us that the first half of the run was downhill but on the way back, it’d be a 5% hill upgrade… and it was going to get warm.  Amnesia–did I forget what he said?  I guess so since I hammered it on the first seven and paid dearly on the way back. I knew eventually I would have a bad long run since I have had several great long runs recently. Maybe spring fever got the best of me.

This is not uncommon and, with several marathons under my belt, you’d think I would be smarter.  Nope, dumb as a rock.  But, runners continually learn, succeed and fail, no matter how long they’ve been at this game.  You never know how your body is going to feel or react day-to-day.  It always amazes me that one day you can have the worst run ever, and the next, an incredible, empowering run.  I have no explanation; it’s a mystery to me.  In my last blog I mentioned the mantra, “my mind controls my body, my body does not control my mind.”  Well, that mantra played in my head for seven long, painful miles, but it worked! I finished, though it was not pretty!

The very good news:  bad training runs really are good for you.  If every run was easy, you would never properly condition yourself for a race.  You would never face the obstacles you most likely will experience during your race, and you would be clueless how to react if something negative actually happened on race day.  Don’t feel bummed or depressed when you have a bad run.  Embrace the experience as a good (great) experience.  Embrace the fatigue, pain, exhaustion and the rest of the day on the couch and learn from it.  File the experience away in your mind’s hard drive.  If you can recall that bad run on race day and how you felt, your mind will be much more prepared to push your body through it, bringing you success.

So, I wish you all a “bad” training run sometime during your race training!  It will build a better you.  Seriously!

I’d love to hear your comments about a bad training run you’ve had, and how that experience helped you in a race.  Your story may help others!


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  • March 23, 2012 8:18 AM

    It’s funny that you posted this subject. I had a very BAD run last Sunday. I would write it all down here but you can read it on my blog. Suffice it to say that I know that this will give me the strength that I need to get to the end of anything I do. The Joy of what we do as runners is that the struggles that we face in training carries over to our everyday life as well. “A Positive Action for a Positive Re-Action Leads to a Positive Conclusion.”

    • Jim Lynch says:
      March 23, 2012 3:27 PM

      Hey Steven…I read your blog and that is exactly how you become stronger. Good job! Very good job!

  • @daddyash9 says:
    March 24, 2012 12:22 AM

    Hiya I seem to be having quite a few lately & never understand it for instants. Wednesday on my 6 mile run I felt I could run all day …. But in Thursday during my 18 mile run at mile 8 I could have stopped & got a taxi …. Strange this running …

  • March 24, 2012 7:09 AM

    I like the mantra and will try it today. I sometimes use the “inner monkey” idea to get through tough runs. It’s the idea of letting the insticts of your inner primate take over allowing your brain to relax and stop over thinking the run- which I tend to do. You see any glaring downfalls with that line of thinking?

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