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Why “Bad” Runs Are Good And 3 Ways To Use Them

Every Bad Run Shows You A “Better” You ~

Some runners love running. Some runners love what running does for them. Some runners love both.

But all runners suffer through what might be called “bad” runs.

We all have an off day or an off week of running and then a lot of us will start getting down on ourselves for not running “well.”

It seems silly to judge ourselves for feeling like we should “feel better” on a run, but we do it anyway.

The thing to remember as a runner is that having a “bad” run is to be expected. “Bad” runs are just part of the sport of running.

But smart runners use bad runs to guide them to become even better runners.

Here’s how.

Running Is Guaranteed To Expose Your “Weak” Spots

Running is a tough and challenging activity. The very nature of it asks us to persevere through physical and sometimes mental discomfort to reach a goal, whether it’s a one mile run or a long race.

There’s a reason why not everyone runs. It’s a sport that toughens you in many ways.

Any run you do will locate your current “weak” spots and expose them to you.  But seeing a “weak” spot –where things may be out of balance– is actually a good thing.  A very good thing.

Instead of judging ourselves for not being perfect and having a “great” run, we can just objectively look at what we can tweak and adjust to get back into balance.

When you get back into balance, you feel better, your runs feel better and life feels better.

So let a “bad” run be good by allowing it to inform you of areas where you can feel better, healthier, stronger, starting now.

Here are three main reasons we have bad runs and how we can use them to become a better runner:

(1) Overtraining, Undertraining, Physical Imbalance

Ever have a bad run where your legs felt like wooden planks that weren’t connected to your body?  We have, many times.

Physical training issues or body imbalances are usually the most obvious reason why we’re having a bad run.

Use this bad run as a chance to look at and tweak what you’re doing with your training.

Your gut instinct will usually tell you the answer to whether you’re overtrained (legs feel like bricks), undertrained (legs feel tired and weak) or if there is some other issue.

If you have back or neck strain, check your running form, do some neck stretches or back stretches or see a chiropractor or doctor.

(2) Body Stress, Including Bad Nutrition And Bad Sleep

Ever have a run where you felt okay before the run, but then during the run you felt kind of sick, weak, nauseated, dizzy, lightheaded or like there was just no more gas left in the tank?

This is a good indicator of feeling too much body stress.

Body stress comes in various forms:

–You may be pushing too hard in life right now, trying to cram too much into too little time, or you’re worrying too much.

This takes its toll on your all of your body systems, especially your adrenal and nervous systems. Back off, step back, take a breath in your life. See what’s really important and what’s not important and act accordingly.

–You aren’t getting enough sleep or bad sleep. (Lack of good sleep is now linked to heart disease no matter how good your diet or how much you exercise.

Be smart and take your sleep seriously. Get your 7-9 hours.

–You aren’t eating well, with enough protein, vegetables and good fats.

You can’t put junk in your trunk and expect diamonds to come out. We tried. Doesn’t work.

Take care of yourself and eat better: you’ll feel more relaxed, calm and in the moment. Besides, you’re worth the time and effort to make good, healthy meals. Yes, you are.

You know yourself. You know what you need to do to back off of the excess stress. Do it even just a little bit and you’ll feel a relaxed difference.

(3) Non-Helpful Mental Habits

Ever have a run where it was hard getting yourself out the door, it was a chore to get through the run and you couldn’t wait to be done with it?

This is a sign that you’re in the midst of some thought pattern that isn’t helping you.

There are a couple ways to handle this.

One way is this: Next time you notice you’re having a crummy run that doesn’t seem tied to anything physical, pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. Get curious about your thoughts and explore where they lead and how you feel. Notice your thoughts and feelings as you run and be objective about what you notice, instead of being judgmental.

For example, you might notice that you’re hard on yourself for running what you think is a “slow”pace, and that thought leads to another thought of other things you judge yourself for.

This is a pattern: when you notice that something in your present experience is like other things you’ve experienced in the past.

When you notice this pattern, see if you can have compassion for the judgments (or whatever you notice) about yourself the same way you might have compassion if your favorite friend or relative told you they thought that same thing about themselves.

See if you can be kind with yourself in regard to finding this pattern and then let the thought go, look around you and enjoy the scenery and the run.

Try this every time you notice yourself having a bad run or a negative thought pattern and eventually you may notice they don’t happen as often.

Bottom line: Allow a bad run to guide you to decisions and actions you can make to get stronger and healthier, both physically and mentally.  This will allow you to more quickly achieve your bigger running goals –and life goals– ahead.

Check out these other posts you might like:

The Truly Secret Benefits Of Running

5 Tips To Make Your Long Run Easier

Running Only 6 Miles A Week Can Add 6 Years To Your Lifespan

10 Things Women Runners Shouldn’t Be Ashamed Of

Turn Off The Runner’s Self-Judgment

11 Best Funny Signs At Running Races