Anyone who is or has ever spoken to a runner will have heard people complaining about their “bad run.” They check their watches and can’t help but let out a disappointed sigh. Perhaps they didn’t get the time they were aiming for. Maybe they lost to a rival or got a lower position than they had hoped. It could be that they messed up their km splits or that they just weren’t feeling their finest. Whatever it was that went wrong, most runners cannot avoid this negative mind trap. However, it is almost certain that the run was not bad by any standards – except their own. It’s the idea of what they think they should be achieving which makes runners label certain runs as “bad”. I am admittedly guilty of this way of thinking. As a very competitive person, I commonly set myself goals (sometimes unrealistic) and if I don’t succeed, I wallow in a very disappointed aftermath- constantly repeated how “bad” the run was. It is only natural to expect certain things of yourself but this is a somewhat irrational way of thinking in running. There are so many factors that can affect your run on the day that it is almost impossible to predict how you should do. Maybe the weather was bad or the course was harder than you expected or -most likely- you just weren’t feeling your best. The best tip for this is to just live in the moment! See how you feel when you start. If you are feeling strong, push it; if not, take it as an easy run. Despite this -on the slight contrary-, it is of course important to set yourself goals or you will lose motivation but just make sure that you can bounce back and not feel too deflated if you don’t achieve them. In my case, I find it works better to play it by ear as I tend to get too fixated on my ambitions and it ends up stressing me out.
In order to maintain a good mentality, it is very important to be an optimist. Every time you run, try to focus on the positives. Whenever you feel like your running isn’t quite up to speed (pun intended) just think about what went well -and yes, there is always something, no matter how hard you deny it. For example, you certainly lapped everyone who wasn’t running!
If you really can’t think of anything good, just remind yourself of the benefits of running. How can a run ever actually be bad? Sure, you may not have achieved what you wanted but you still did it! Every time you get out there, you are improving your mental and physical well-being. You are becoming fitter, stronger and more confident every single run. Runners are much less likely to get diseases such as cancer, heart-disease and diabetes. They also live, on average, quite a bit longer than non-runners! Running is proven to make you happier, less stressed and can help you sleep and concentrate better. How can that ever be bad? One of my favourite running quotes -once told to me by my wise running partner of a dad- is “I regret that – said no one ever.” It is completely true. No one should ever regret a run (unless they get injured or ill but you get the idea). Surely it shouldn’t matter how fast you were going, if you ran, it was good!
Furthermore, I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a bad run. To be fair, I should probably practice what I preach because I do still often get demoralised by the idea of bad runs and “failure” so I definitely understand that it is often quite hard to banish from your mind but I am working towards having a more positive mindset in running and hope to become more relaxed in the near future. After all, there is not much point in doing anything if you don’t allow yourself to have fun with it. I hope this post has helped you with your mentality. I am thinking of writing more posts about the psychology in running because it really interests me and I really enjoy writing about it. Leave me a comment if you’d like that.
On another note, I this Saturday was my first time back at parkrun for over a month. It was a pretty decent, run and I am hopefully planning another PB soon (watch this space)! I also went to Margate for a wedding this weekend and managed to squeeze in a trip to Margate Junior Parkrun. This I found hard: not only had I ran the day before and I had been on my feet all day, running around Dreamland with friends but the course was also on grass and hilly. My legs absolutely hated me. Despite this, I still managed third and a kind of ok time…(not what I was aiming for but alright considering the circumstances). I did, however, find out that I had broken the girls record by 55 seconds!! Quite pleased with that!
I hope you enjoyed today’s blog post! I wrote this one a while ago as a back-up as I didn’t really had anything to post today! I am vowing to try and make time to come up with more creative ideas so I can keep providing good content!