Sometimes, for whatever reason, things don’t quite work out the way we anticipate. It can often be a mental state we can break through once we’re out there and battle through but then we do get the occasional run where you might as well rip up the plan and start again. I experienced that this morning.

I love the way a good run can clear the head and the great feeling of clarity once I’ve finished. I didn’t get that today. I got a couple of miles in before the demons struck. I felt really sluggish whilst running up Necessity Brae in Perth, a long and winding climb, actually more sluggish than normal doing that run. My body felt heavy and lacked the energy to get to the top of the hill. Usually when I feel like that, I dig a little deeper and push myself knowing I’ll feel good when I get to the top but that energy seemed to be non-existent. I decided to change direction, run a different route and hope for inspiration along the way. That didn’t seem to make things any better and when my favourite running tracks on my iPod failed to make any difference, I decided to quit and head across to my studio and collect my car.

They all say never give up and I agree with that to an extent but the quality of a run is important to me and so when I don’t feel I’m getting that, I find it better to stop. Once I made the decision to cut the run short, I started to feel a bit better. The 2 mile run to get my car helped me consider what had gone wrong.

I teach a class at 10.15 and need to finish my run at around 9.30 to give me time to drive to the venue without having to rush. When I decide how far I plan to run, I set my alarm accordingly to give me time to have breakfast, take on some fluids etc before heading out the door. I had some porridge but by the time I sat down to eat it, it was an hour before I needed to get out. I think this had a lot to do with how I felt. I also had a luxury hot chocolate yesterday afternoon and ate some caramels last night so I think I had too much sugar. I know that sugar can help as fuel for longer distances but I have found in the last year that fat is a much more efficient fuel source for me.

The outcome? I stand by my belief that there is no such thing as a bad run as that’s where you learn the most about yourself. While running to get my car, I was able to review what happened to make me feel sluggish like that today and what needs to change to make things better. I was able to come up with solutions to improve my preparations for my big runs and I feel so much better as a result.

If you have a bad run like this, the key is not to let it get to you but to learn from it, consider what needs to change to get a better run next time then make it happen.

Happy running!


2 thoughts on “When things don’t go according to plan

  1. I completely agree with your thoughts here – although it’s a rare event for me, I will also stop a run if I don’t feel right. There’s a fundamental difference between pushing though mental fatigue and digging a little deeper (which makes us stronger) and pushing through physical distress (which only breaks us down). I think it was the great Amby Burfoot who said that when it comes to running, there’s a fine line between being a badass and being a dumbass. 😉 We have to give ourselves permission to get it wrong sometimes, and we can learn the most from the failures, not the successes. It’s nice to hear that it happens even to pros such as yourself!


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