Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Focusing on the Positive

Today's run was caught on film. Relative happened to see
me running through town.
It's easy to dwell on the negative. It's easy to pile on. To whine. Complain.

When we hit rocky times, we all too often become 'Debbie Downers."

Problem is when we do so we take our focus off our goals and make the task at hand even more difficult. We become our worst enemy, and we can find victory because we're defeating ourselves.

Look, bad runs happen. They're going to happen whether we want them to or not. We're not also going to be at our best when we head out for a run, and from time to time, an "easy 6" quickly turns into a "sadistic 6."

Instead, find the positives out of the run. There's always some good to pull out of a 'bad' run.

Today was a prime example of this for me. When I set out for my run, I initially felt great and thought I was going to have a run like I did yesterday when I posted a 6-mile run at a 9:36 pace without really trying.

But as I progressed in my run, things started to become difficult ... in a hurry.

I should've known this run was not going to be as easy-breezy as yesterday's because this was my fourth day in a row of running, and I posted 26.3 miles during that time. This fact didn't hit me until halfway through my round.

It was also hot. I ran later in the morning than usual, and it was already in the upper 70s/low 80s.

Realizing this, I turned this into a good training session for my upcoming marathon - the 7 Bridges Marathon on Oct. 21.

My goal for the final 10K of the marathon is 1:15, and the conditions and situation I was in today was as good as I could come up with to test myself for this. I understand running 26.3 miles during the 3 days prior is not exactly likely running 20 miles right before a 10K, but it's a good situation. I actually started hitting the wall around mile 3 today and considering quitting and just walking home from there. But I didn't.

The temps are similar to what it could be like during the final hour of the marathon. Yes, the race is in October, but in Tennessee, it could be 80 degrees in October or it might snow. Or it could be a perfect 50-60 degree autumn day.

So, I pushed on, focusing on my goal of completing today's 6.4-mile run in under 1:15. It wasn't easy, but I did it. Final time: 1:09:08.

By my normal standards, this was a bad run. But in the light of preparing for my marathon, it was a success.

It's all about focusing on the positive and keeping things in perspective.

What about you? How do you keep a bad run run getting you down? How do you find the positive?

Happy running!


  1. I use all my bad runs as mental training runs. Each of my 20 mi runs leading up to my spring marathon were tough. One the headwind was 40mph for 10 mi straight; one I almost shit my pants the last 5 mi; one was 85 degrees and I didn't bring enough water; and one was a downpour--they all make you more prepared for a race day.

    And you know what? My spring marathon was HOT. 85 degrees, humid, and they officially cancelled it when I got to mi 18. But I finished and was able to be smart because I had trained in all the crappy conditions and knew how to adjust myself and gut it out.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Karen. As the song goes, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger." :)

  2. A bad run (or race) is nothing but a learning experience and a character building experience to me. Rarely will I dwell on them because it'll just make the next time out even worse.