1. We are not robots. Daily stresses, hormones, infections, stress, lack of sleep, exhaustion, dehydration, low blood sugars, mineral deficiencies, nutrient deficiencies and more can all cause you to have a bad run. Don't expect to be at the top of your game every day.
Even if your training calendar tells
Don't over think it.
2. There are real benefits to getting through a bad run and not giving up. It makes you mentally tougher and let's face it that is our most important attribute as runners. It teaches you to keep going when the going is tough and when you push through you get that little bit harder psychologically.Learning to deal with pain or sluggishness is exactly what you will have to do during an ultramarathon or a long distance race or short races run at speed for that matter. So if it's been a hell run think "It was tough but I go through, strength comes from struggle .. so my training today was about honing my mental strength and that is the most valuable form of training of them all."
3. Appreciate it when you have a good run. Having a bad day out on the road or on the trails make you appreciate those wonderful times when its flowing where everything comes together. Having an appreciation and enjoying it when it is good is what comes out of having the odd bad run.
4. Analyse - Why was your run bad? Are you overtrained? Perhaps you are coming down with something? Are you dehydrated, hungry or perhaps overstressed at work or home? Is there something you can change or improve to stop it happening next time.
5. Don't let it put you off running. Beginners especially can be totally put off by a bad run and think they have gone backward. Perhaps there first few runs or weeks went great and they could see improvements then wham out of the blue they have a bad run and think it was all for nothing, that all that past success wasn't real.. "no it's just a bad day"
6. Don't think you have lost your fitness because the run went bad or was harder than usual. Your fitness doesn't just up and go like that. Something was just not on target today. Just see it for what it is and don't over dramatise it and get back out there again soon. Don't let that bad run put you off for days thinking the next one will be the same.
7. Do your overtraining checklist. Check your morning resting pulse is it higher than usual, do you feel generally not good, lethargic, exhausted, grumpy, hormonal, have you been overdoing the training or had high levels of stress. Rest for a bit and recover if you have. Improvement comes from the recovery part of your programme. Training actually tears the body down remember, it's the quality recovery and rest is where the improvement comes. Your training programme is not only the actual running part but the recovery as well.
8. Forget it as quickly as possible. Move on. Mentally tick it off and get on with the job of the next run or training session. Perhaps change something for a day or two. Go for a swim or cycle instead, an aerobics class perhaps or pilates. Challenge your body in a different way and see if it comes right.
I just came back from a limit end aerobic speed session (15 min warm up jog, then 20 minutes at running at a level when I am getting out of breath, then 15 warm down) it was horrid and every minute of the speed work was hell. My lungs just wouldn't work and my legs felt like lead. Last weeks limit end session was empowering, this week was a painful experience but that's ok.. tomorrow will be different.