We have all had a run that did not go exactly to plan. Our pace was off or we could not complete the desired mileage or we experience more than usual pain or we encounter any myriad of obstacles to the run. The point is that we all have had a run that falls short of expectation. It is a part of running and should not be too discouraging. After all, we are still out there, logging miles, and putting forth the effort to get better. As long ass we are running smart and prepping well, we will get something out of the run. Sunday’s long run provided me with some teachable moments from one of the worst runs of my life. Well, it probably was not the worst run of my life. That distinction would certainly go to elementary school gym class, when I was a fat little kid that got winded checking the mail. But this run is definitely the worst that I have had since I started my running hobby. Even the run that caused my injury was not bad since I did not feel the wrath of the injury until the following day at the office. What made this run so bad was that it could have been avoided.
Knowing your body and what you need to have a successful run is quite important. Ignoring what it takes to have a successful run is not wise, and is what causes so many people to become jaded about the sport in general. My run on Sunday was scheduled to be 20 miles, but I did not reach this goal for a multitude of reasons. I was not mentally or physically ready for this run, which was to be the longest that I have done up to this point, and vital to my WDW Marathon training plan. Let’s look at the ways that I failed on this run.
1. I was hungover. Susan and I went to a fundraiser for the Streetdog Foundation here in Memphis the night prior to my run. They had bourbon. I like bourbon. I drank bourbon, a lot of bourbon. Thus, I was dehydrated and not well rested for the 20 mile run. I have drunk in moderation the night before runs, but never runs of this magnitude and never to the excess that I did on this evening.
2. I did not properly fuel. Since I was hungover and dehydrated, I was also starving. I did not have my usual prerun foods at the house, and decided to postpone my run until the afternoon. This would have been fine if I would have gone to the store, bought some bananas, maybe a Gatorade, and spent the morning prepping for the run. I did not. Instead, we went to one of our favorite breakfast places where I ate a large breakfast, and did very little re-hydrating, though the latter was due to our waitress, not me.
3. My head was not into this run. From step one, I knew that I was not 100%, and this negative energy was not helping once I hit the double-digit miles. Running is as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport, so when you get off balanced mentally, it can be just as disastrous as a physical imbalance.
4. I did not allow for a proper recovery from last weekend’s races. Last weekend was a huge accomplishment for my running goals and physical well-being. I ran races on three consecutive days, exceeding my projected times in all three events, and I felt great afterwards as well. The problem is that I logged over 19 hard miles last weekend, and then asked my body to go longer than it ever had on a single run this weekend. I probably should have kept my mileage down this weekend and bumped it up to 20 next weekend.
I ended up running 16.10 miles at a pace that was recorded via a sundial. My legs ached and all I wanted to do was stop running. I did, however, force myself to run further than my previous long of 15 miles, so there is that. Sunday’s run is definitely going to serve as a reminder for future runs that I need to stay focused on the entire process.