My sixteen mile long run this weekend went horribly. I felt as if I was running in slow motion the entire time. I came back home dejected, and, thankfully, saw my wife. “Don’t worry about. It’s one run, and you had a long week.”
She was right, and I’m fortunate I had her to rescue me with an impending funk. I didn’t sleep well the night before (including a few beers) because we had friends unexpectedly over. My pre-run meal was skimpy. The weather conditions were horrendous. I ran in pouring rain and darkness. I was soaked, chafed, and in a foul mood.
Training for a long-distance race is no easy feat. It takes months of dedication, discipline, and hard work to prepare for the big day. Unfortunately, not every training run will go as planned. Some days you might feel like you're running on clouds, while others can feel like you're dragging a boulder behind you. But, don't worry; a bad long training run doesn't have to derail your progress. In this blog post, I'll discuss how to bounce back after a bad long training run.
1. Evaluate what went wrong
Before you start to dwell on the run and beat yourself up, it's essential to take a step back and evaluate what went wrong. Was it your nutrition, hydration, or pacing? Did you get enough rest the night before? Did you start too fast or too slow? By figuring out what went wrong, you can identify areas to work on for future runs.
2. Reframe your mindset
It's easy to fall into the trap of negative self-talk after a bad run. Instead of focusing on what went wrong, reframe your mindset and focus on what you learned from the experience. Every bad run is an opportunity to grow and become a better runner.
3. Get back on track with your training plan
It's essential to stay consistent with your training plan, even after a bad run. Don't let one setback derail your progress. Get back on track with your training plan and focus on the next run. Remember that every training run is essential in preparing you for race day.
4. Take care of your body
After a long training run, your body needs time to recover. Make sure you're taking care of your body by stretching, foam rolling, and staying hydrated. You might also consider taking an ice bath or using a foam roller to help your muscles recover faster.
5. Refuel properly
Nutrition plays a crucial role in your training and recovery. After a long training run, make sure you're refueling your body with the proper nutrients. Focus on replenishing your glycogen stores with carbohydrates and repairing your muscles with protein.
6. Learn from the experience
Every bad long training run is an opportunity to learn and grow as a runner. Take the lessons you learned from the experience and apply them to your future training runs. Remember, the most successful runners aren't the ones who never have a bad run. They're the ones who learn from their mistakes and keep pushing forward.
I have a twenty-mile, up-tempo run scheduled this weekend. I am nervous about the effort, but are choosing to focus on what I can control. Come Saturday, it is pasta and early bed time.
Remember, running is a journey, and every step forward is progress, no matter how small.