Saturday, April 16, 2005

Ever Had a Bad Run Day?

Ever had a bad run day? I mean where somehow nothing comes together? Well this morning was mine, and it had to be a long run. I was going to run 30K/18.7Mi, but by the 24K point I started falling apart, no energy, legs like lead. I started taking walk breaks, this got me a little further, but somewhere between KM 28 and 29 I just couldn't get myself to run anymore. Shoulders sagging I walked/jogged the last 1-2K's.

So what happened? Well, I made a lot of mistakes, the sum of which probably resulted in my "hitting the wall".

1. I have been dieting this week, my energy level was low.
2. I skipped breakfast and hit the trail after only drinking water.
3. I waited until the 21KM point before I had an energy bar (last long run at 10K).
4. I ran way too fast for the first 22K - 6:00/K (9:39/Mi) - last long run I averaged 6:41/K (10:46).
5. I didn't take any walking breaks until it was too late.
6. I started doing 30 minute walks during lunch this week.
7. I was on my feet for three hours last night weeding in the garden.
8. It rained through the night, it was almost 90% humidity when I ran.
9. I was almost an hour into the run before I started drinking water from my CamelBak.

Even with my crawling home I still averaged 6:19K/10:10Mi. Somehow the speed demons got hold of me and I got carried away, right up until my body reminded me that I am mere mortal. But I think I made the right decision to take it really slow the last couple K's, at least I didn't get any injuries.

Now a couple hours later, after a warm shower, food, drink, and a nap - I am feeling pretty good. A little tired, my legs are a little sore, but otherwise no problem.

I'm feeling kind of stupid in the moment, I should have known better than to try a faster pace at this point in my training. Dumb dumb dumb - I was actually running close to my projected marathon race pace for the first 22K.

The high humidity was also a factor. The air was thick and heavy, a lot of pollen in the air. I remember actually pouring water (from my sweat) out of the sleeves of my running wind breaker. Makes me wonder if I was starting to get dehydrated...

It looks like it's going to rain any minute, so I guess I have some time today to think about whether to sign up for the Mannheim Marathon on May 21. I'm not one to let a bad day throw me, particularily when it is obvious to me the mistakes that I made. Yesterday I was feeling very confident, almost overconfident - today I reminded that I have a difficult task ahead of me and that I need to proceed with care.

p.s. I appreciate my long distant cheerleaders, I can not express how much it means to me that you guys take the time to listen to me, maybe send a tip or word of encouragement. Gets me all choked up!

If I can offer any advice, it's only that everyone has off days. And you seem to have identified the problems. Try another before you change your mind--everything has been going so well for you!
I am thinking the same thing, everything has been going so well up to now that I think today was just a bit of over confidence and lack of concentration. My body is feeling really great in the moment, despite this morning's run. I have the urge to go out and run some more (don't worry - I'm restraining myself).
Jack, having trained and run 6 marathons, I must say I am in awe of your level of self-awareness. You have identified pretty much the entire checklist I'd go through if I had a so-called bad run. That said, "yes" you made mistakes but look at the result. You still had a good run if you factor in all those mistakes.

So, the lesson is, "don't do those things next time" but you already know that don't you?!

In other words, learn from it, put it behind you and CARRY ON.

Good job Jack. :)
One more thing! Please remember that you can do everything right and STILL have a bad run. The thing to focus on is two-fold: 1) It is only one run which means the next one is likely to be better, and 2) It gives you perspective to know the difference between a good and bad run!!!
Jack - I have no (meaningful) advice - you're way beyond my meager capabilities - but I can say, even for us mid-packers, some runs are just worse than others. Sometimes, everything just feels wrong. Sometimes, everything - inexplicably - just feels right. Run another day! - Mia
Bad run day? Oh yes, I have them ALL the time! Well, not when I'm running as far as you, because I don't run that far. This was probably a good thing for you because helped to warn you of missing the little things that can add up to a problem. Sounds like there was alot of unexpected stuff that added onto other things.

But the good part is that you finished the run and your time was still quite good, so be happy you walked away learning something and got a great workout too. Sounds like you are making a good recovery too.

And I'm putting all this to memory for when I'm training this summer when its hot and humid and the mileage begins to build.
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