What Makes a Run Good (or Bad)?

Yesterday I had one of those mornings where I just did not want to run. I got up, snoozed the alarm, let the dog jump into bed with me, then let him drag me all over the neighborhood while I procrastinated. I did eventually get in my 9-miler, and the first 3 miles were just me being whiney, tortured, etc. Then it turned into a good run and I finished strong. I wondered afterward why some runs are “good” runs and some are “bad” runs, and why some runs turn around in the middle. Here’s some of what makes a run work (or not) for me.

1. Rest

Last week was a weird week for me. I felt bored with running and tried to switch up days/distances, had an incident on Wednesday where a driver almost hit me and it cut my run short, and then I did Friday’s run in the evening and faster than I should have, which left me not well rested for my weekend run. I could feel the soreness in my knees and thighs on Sunday when I got up, and I felt it through the first part of my run until I hit my stride.

2. Stress

Stress can be a reason to run, when you need to pound the pavement, gain confidence, or get an endorphin burst, but as Meghan Rabbit over at Runner’s World warns, it can also make us too tense or make us run too hard. This goes hand-in-hand with item 1, but I’ve definitely been channeling some other frustrations into my running which results in doing too much and making me tired.

3. Fueling

I do pretty well with nutrition and with fueling along the way, but cramming down a greasy veggie and bean burrito at 9PM the night before waking up to do a long run may not have done me any favors.

4. Goals (and getting them met)

Getting my pace faster but keeping it controlled has got to be a goal for me. This is a tough balancing act on long runs. I’ve managed to keep the overall pace under 10:00/mi on my long runs since the Arizona Half Marathon, and that was the goal that kept me going necessary. But sometimes I race a bit unnecessarily. For instance, charging up a hill at 9:30/pace yesterday after I’d already run 8.8 miles was not smart, and my knee is not happy about it today. Speed and hills and distance do not need to happen all at the same time–no matter how awesome I feel in the moment. I’m hoping that a swim and limiting time on my feet today will have me back up and running tomorrow!

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2 thoughts on “What Makes a Run Good (or Bad)?

  1. Pingback: Gloomy Sunday « 31 to Life

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