Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Run

Ok, maybe it wasn't quite as bad as the above title suggests, but Saturday's run was ROUGH.

I was looking forward to an easy-paced 10 mile run with Josh that morning, and when I got up my body didn't give me any clues (that I noticed) that I was going to be in for a very rare rough run. We took off, and right away I just felt off. I thought maybe things would get better as we went along and I warmed up, and they did for a couple of miles, but I was feeling SO tired. And even though we were going nice and slow and easy, it felt hard. (It was cold, snowing, and windy, but I have run in MUCH worse).

It was hard like, "Why is my house so far away?". It was hard like, I would have given up and called it a day if we hadn't been on a loop (and I have never once given up and called it a day on a run). It was hard like, I stopped and walked for little bit when we passed the eight mile mark. I never walk on a run.

And after walking for a little bit, I asked Josh if he thought he could piggy-back me the last two miles home, and I was only sort of kidding. He said he would (and he loves me enough that he probably would have tried if I had been serious!). I grunted and started back to running. I actually felt better those last two miles than I did most of the run, but when I got home I collapsed and felt like I had run much further and much faster than I had.

I wondered if I had fueled well enough after Friday's long run. I wondered if I hadn't gotten enough sleep last week (probably didn't, but probably never do). I wondered if I was getting sick, as a few of the kids have had a cold. I wondered if I wasn't hydrated well enough. I worried!

But I did everything I could to take care of myself. I drank water all day long. I ate well and made sure I got enough calories. I took it easy as much as possible and went to bed nice and early. I did not set my alarm for 4am like I usually do, but let myself "sleep in" a bit until I woke up on my own (and got EIGHT full hours of sleep).

When I woke up on Sunday morning I did have a bit of the sniffles but nothing terrible. I didn't feel overly tired or bad in any way. My resting heart rate was normal. I got up and got ready to run, still toying with the idea of a rest day. I looked outside at the beautiful sunshine, realized I felt great, I decided to go for it, knowing that I could pull back and take it easy/call it off if my body felt tired or off at all.

The plan was for 12 miles broken up like this - 1 mile @8:30 pace to warm up, then 2 miles @8:00, 3 miles @7:30, 4 miles @7:15 and 2 miles @8:30 to cool down, then 5x100m strides.  Nothing too fast, but not an easy run either.

I knew within the first half of a mile that it was going to be a great run. My legs felt fast, my body felt strong, my breathing was calm, and I felt great the whole way. Yay!

My actual splits ended up being 8:15, 7:59, 7:52, 7:27, 7:20, 7:30, 7:10, 7:07, 7:05, 6:59, 8:17, 8:16 plus 5x100m strides. I can't say it was effortless, but the paces came easily and it was a super fun run. I was extra happy to have such a great run.

Yesterday was an easy paced 10 miler and once again I started off feeling good and finished feeling good (despite still being sniffly).

And today the plan was for 10 miles with one mile @8:30 to warm up, then 8 miles @7:30, then 1 mile @8:30 to cool down. Actual splits were 8:14, 7:22, 7:20, 7:21, 7:13, 7:15, 7:16, 7:17, 7:12, 8:20. It was FUN and I felt great. I felt comfortable and strong the whole way and really enjoyed myself.

So yeah. On Saturday I had a bad run. I did my best to baby my body afterwards and look for a culprit, and then got out there and went after it again the next day (without letting the bad run mess with my head). And I am glad I did. While I do focus on the big picture and am very mindful of taking care of myself and watching out for signs of injury or over-training, I also think it's important to get my runs and workouts in. I know that not every day is going to be a perfect run and that some days will be harder than others. If I were to see a pattern of hard runs then it would be time to reassess what I am doing, but for now, one rough run out of many weeks of training isn't anything I am going to stress over. Especially since I have now had three days of really great runs and am feeling as good as ever.

On this topic, a quote jumped out at me in the June 2012 Runner's World. In the "Follow the Leader - Advice from the world's best runners" column, Andrew Carlson (a 30 year old Brooks runner who placed 6th in his first marathon - the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2012 - with a time of 2:11:24) said, "Sometimes it's okay to not listen to your body, like when you're sore or tired. Unless you're sick or injured, listening too hard can cause you to miss too much of your training."

I get what he saying here. He isn't saying DON'T listen to your body, or don't rest when you are sick or injured. But he is saying that some days we are just going to feel more tired or sore than usual, and sometimes it's ok to train through it.

What do you think? What do you when you have a bad run?


"Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or little, has its stages of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle and a victory." - Ghandi 

"The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand." - Vince Lombardi

"It takes a little courage, and a little self-control. And some grim determination, If you want to reach the goal. It takes a great deal of striving, and a firm and stern-set chin. No matter what the battle, if you really want to win, there's no easy path to glory. There is no road to fame. Life, however we may view it, Is no simple parlor game; But its prizes call for fighting, For endurance and for grit; For a rugged disposition that will not quit." - Navy SEAL Masterchief

"Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." - Michael Jordon  

"The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win." -
Roger Bannister  


Kris @ www.kris-lawrence.com said...

Everyone had a bad day sometimes! That is perfectly normal and I wouldn't worry about it. I believe McMillan says you are allowed 2-3 unexplained bad days per marathon training cycle. I bet you will feel back to your old self tomorrow!

Kathy said...

I always feel that there is a message behind the bad runs. I'm happy to say that the more I run the less I have, but I certainly experience my share.
If anything, it takes a bad run to reinforce how great a good run can be!
I'm glad to hear that you bounced right back - this is hardly surprising! :)

Penny said...

I know we all have bad runs. Boy did I have on one sat to. I was suppose to do a 20 miler. It was hot and humid even in the early morning. The first 10 werent so bad.

I've been playing with different gels for my next marathon in June. I know you love HAMMER Gel, but I took a hammer gel at mile 10. From 10 to 15 I just didnt feel right. I was so exhausted I had know more energy to give to running. Between mile 14 and 15 I told my running partner I'm done I have no more to give. Go get the car. Luckily she didnt listen to me. At 15 miles I told her I was so darn hungry I could eat a horse. Than I remembered I had put some chew in the pocket of my shirt. I couldnt eat them fast enough i was just so hungry. About 5 - 10 min after I ate them I started thinking better and I felt like I had alittle bit more energy. The run sucked, but I finished. So yes it was VERY VERY BAD RUN. It can affect you mentally. I'm trying to let it go. Thanks for sharing. So happy you got back out there and are RUNNING HAPPY AGAIN.

brg said...

An Ironman friend told me some of the people that he trains don't want to train when they are tired. But he says that's part of the deal - you are training, you are gonna be tired, you have to learn to run when you aren't feeling your best. That's not to say if you are feeling injured you should run, use common sense.

I think the biggest example I have experienced working through soreness/fatigue was Day 3 of a 6 day mtn bike race. When I woke up I could barely stand up and walk my legs were so sore - I just wanted to sit there and cry. I wondered how in the heck was I going to be able to race 6+ hours - but I made myself move and as the day went on, I felt ok and was able to push through. The body can handle as much as your brain says it can!

Jen@runfortheboys said...

Amen sister! I know when I push through I always am glad I did. I haven't had to deal with real injury, but when I do, I hope I learn to distinguish the real need for a rest day from me playing mind games with myself. There is still that whiny evil voice that wants to quit when it isn't warranted and my goal is to silence her forever.

Getting back to work now. I know. I KNOW! ;)

Julia said...

your thoughts during your run were exactly what i was thinking to myself and feeling during the race on saturday. when i first finished i was terrified. it felt like i had been fairly prepared going into the race and i was really discouraged. but i have been lucky thus far to have great marathon experiences and i know that the marathon is definitely a distance where anything could happen...so i just told myself that if that was the "bad" for now...I am glad I still made it and can learn from it for next time. Before the race I had planned out my recovery but then after I wanted to scratch all of it and not run for 2 weeks. But yesterday I woke up in a great mood feeling refreshed and just ready to refocus. Saturday is in the past...it didnt feel like my best but it was an experience I don't regret...so I headed out today for recovery like normal and felt great to be out there and back at it:) im so excited for you to run UVM! it will be so great to hopefully meet you as well!

Jen@runfortheboys said...

And P.S. There's no such thing as a bad run. :)

Becky at Prairie Runner said...

I have bad runs every once in a while, too. The thing that has really helped me get those out of my head is to think that the ENTIRE run was not bad - just parts of it. I believe that my body cycles during a run, so what I am feeling right now may not be there in ten minutes! You have such a great attitude and I love that you and your coach already have such a good relationship!

Jessica (Pace of Me) said...

Erin, this is such a great post. And I love the quotes - all of them - at the end!
I had a ROUGH run on Friday morning. I still cannot explain why, and I am not going to dwell. I stuck it out and made my last mile the fastest and strongest, but there were these moments when I just questioned everything about why I was even out there to begin with. right now, I'm not training for a marathon. I'm training for shorter distances and my goal race is a half marathon on June 2. I am running a lot of 50 mile weeks and doing tempo runs and I really want to PR in these shorter races (so far during this "season" i have set two PRs - in the 10 miler and the 10k) and my long runs are topping out around 14-16 miles. Anyway, I think this is solid training and it is really working my mental muscles SO much. Those rough runs are important - they make us stronger in so many ways. I will run when I'm tired and sore-ish, but if I have a feeling injury is on the horizon I always pull back.
You are amazing! I'm so impressed with your runs these days - the paces and the mileage are totally incredible. You are going to rock your marathon and I can't wait to cheer you on!!

Bill Fine said...

Hi Erin,

I had a really bad one yesterday.......and I'm going to get right back on the "horse" today and run again. If my body isn't letting me have the kind of run I want, then at least I'm going to work on my mental toughness by NOT GIVING UP!!! :>)

And another quote from Vince Lombardi for your collection....one that I like to use on my 8th graders:

"The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. You can accomplish anything if you're willing to pay the price"

Anonymous said...

Hey I have the answer to your bad run! It was running with Josh! I have found that sometimes when I run with my husband- I find it hard to run- I run slower-I feel like I can't go more than 3 miles- my legs feel so heavy- when the next day I run 8 or more with no problems. I don't know why- but I blame my husband. But I was glad for my husband for my 21 mile run this past hot Sunday! He road his bike along the route and found me 3 times to give me water and a cold towel:) wv-carol

Nicole @nmh1970 said...

I mean this in the nicest way... I'm glad to hear that you are human like the rest of us . I've been reading your blog for a while, and your running is almost always great for you. No injuries, meeting tour time/distance goals. It's good to have an "off" day sometimes on order to appreciate the good ones. At the schedule you've been maintaining, it is no surprise that your body may occasionally say " whoa, slow down just a little". What you've accomplished in the last couple of years is unheard of, yet so inspiring for the rest of us that have been running longer, and haven't seen the kind of improvement that you have achieved.

Laura @ Mommy run fast said...

Yep- those bad runs come. It's so much harder to deal with mentally when you don't see it coming, and I do the same thing- I over-analyze everything to figure out what caused it! But it only makes us stronger, and more appreciative of those strong runs! Glad to hear you felt so much better the next day. A good night's sleep is powerful!

Mark Matthews said...

Yes, sometimes I wonder if listening to my body means giving in to laziness somehow. Some of my greatest runs were after a slight injury or twinge had been whispering in my ear 'dont' run today.' I get tired and my calfs start to hurt just reading about your training.

Canuck Mom said...

Love this post!! Just plain love it!!!

Terzah said...

"Mom says some [runs] are like that."

I had a post with that very title last September, and you are exactly right. I'm glad you got back on the horse and found he was still a fast horse!

Raina said...

Your Roger Bannister quote is great. :) He and Pre must have had similar mindsets.

Sorry about the bad run. I have had plenty of them, but i am always glad I went afterwards...almost always. :)
There have been a couple of bad runs that have led to injury, but the trick is to learn from them and start to recognize the warning signs- and train to the right paces.
I like that you are monitoring your heart rate. I think i might have trouble staying in even if it were over 10 points too high. ha. Unless I felt really bad too.

Great training too, BTW.

Gracie said...

What's great is that you still did it. You're practicing running tired, that's all! And you followed your rough run by some great miles.

L.A. Runner said...

One of my favorite children's books is Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Goood, Very Bad Day. "Some days are like that... even in Australia."

:) Keep up the good work!

Mom's Home Run said...

I've had runs like that! The hit you unexpectedly, and there's really nothing you can do about it. I always console myself with the fact that after a run like that, the next one is sure to be better.

Christina said...

I've had those runs as well, a bonk or nausea or just plain tired. I've noticed that on any of those runs, it is usually attributed to fueling issues. My sports chiro said (and Jeff Galloway also recently mentioned on a Twitter chat) that what we eat 2 days before a run is most important, not necessarily the day before. I usually think that with proper rest and spot on fueling, a trained body can keep going (obviously providing the right levels of progress are met, ie 10% increase). Unless perhaps a little bug/virus set in, my vote is maybe just something related to fueling and how your body processed. Glad to read that it only affected you one day and you are back to normal! :-)

Jill said...

I'm a pretty firm believer that our bodies are telling us something if we have a bad run and it's better to not push it and get injured than to push through the bad days. It's great you trusted your coach enough to tell him, he can't help if he doesn't know all the details. Glad things improved after. You are just awesome :).