Have you ever had a terrible, no good, very bad run? What made it “bad”?

No one asks you at the start line if you have trained for that event. There is no required coach to report to before the event to explain your readiness.  What’s the point to invest time into preparing for months, for free?  Simple, even though running is with your feet, it has the power to influence the mind… almost in that order!

5. SPIRIT: Find joy in executing a strategy

4. HEAD: Challenge Your Quitting Range

3: HEART: Seek Strength in new Types of Discomfort

2. STOMACH: Learn about your nutrition & digestion

1. LEGS/FEET: Practice the physical effort

While one or all of these levels can go wrong, its up to you to decide if you’ll analyze and make the adjustments to nail each of these.  The goal of frequent mileage is to develop steps 1-5; notice most are psychological preparation. If one of the steps in a run has gone wrong, focus on another of these 5 steps to twit the situation into a positive one. If you feel that you’re plateauing, look at which of these steps have you not tapped into yet.

Let me confess, as our body changes and matures its necessary to revisit these steps to make sure that we are still in tune with reality. A bad run can be the best thing to happen in my training because it helps me tap into a level I don’t reach on perfect day.

A series of unfortunate eating choices, timing, lack of hydration can create drastic changes in the performance of your run.  The following recap will seem false because ladies don’t poop, but see it as a figure of speech for any discomfort.  Regardless of how many layers of TP, I squat on porta-potties and do not sit on the seat for hygiene reasons.  Unfortunately, when sitting like this, the bowels can’t really fully release since so many core muscles are engaged to hold you up. On this particular day I also learned that with diarrhea, until you actually sit down relaxed, your misery will not end.

To finish a 20-miler goal, I had 5 miles left when my intestines woke up.  I had used the porta-potty twice in 1 mile, and when starting to jog again, my intestines were not having it. I had to walk, breathe and get to a real bathroom ASAP.  I started thinking of calling an Uber but realized that would be worse – sitting in a moving car, needing to diarrhea being 20 miles from home… ugh. I decided to keep walking as I was 1 mile from the South Shores bathrooms.

Since Roger runs faster than me, we run the mileage we can, we set a meeting place for brunch and a time to arrive.  Choosing to quit on the days goal has little to do with the circumstances, and all to do with you.  Clearly if you need medical attention, care for that. But the prescription for discomfort is HTFU.  I was very discouraged, so I text him back and forth about giving up & going home.  I still had over an 1 hour until our brunch date that was 3 miles away. He said, take my time but to call him in 30 minutes to tell him where I was.

After 45 minutes of toilet relaxed quality time, I finally felt solid again. I drank water. I started to jog and went from 23-min miles to 10min-mile! Being able TO WORK WITH MY BODY’S NEEDS, RESPECT THOSE LIMITATIONS, AND DIG MYSELF UP FROM DESPAIR made this an incredibly important run for me!  I can read, work with, and challenge my body and mind in order to attempt things I’ve never done. In order to believe I can face what scares me, I can focus on the 5 steps of training, instead of the one thing going wrong.

The only bad run is the one I did not learn anything from.


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