Not every run is a “good” run.
Over the years, I have learned three simple truths that I wish I knew before I began running:
Some runs will feel great,
Some runs will feel ok,
and some runs will feel crummy.
You may be thinking, “Who does not know that?” Surprisingly, many new runners don’t truly understand these ideas. They are under the impression that after they have run for a while, every run should feel good. They expect that they will always feel fast and strong, and that pain will no longer be a part of the running.
Boy, are they wrong!
Over the course of any given month, a runner will experience great runs, ok runs, and crummy runs. The breakdown will depend on what kind of run you are doing, as well as, how much running you’ve done lately.
You will never feel good all the time, nor will you feel crummy all of the time. Every run will be different, and the only thing you can expect is that you will often be surprised by how you feel.
Fortunately, there is some good news on this subject. It turns out that the longer you run, the more likely you will feel good on any particular run. It is also important to know that while you will occasionally feel crummy on your run, eventually you will start to understand that it is only for that particular run, and you can usually expect to feel stronger/better the next time you go out.
The important thing to remember is that your improvement as a runner will not be linear. You don’t just keep getting better. It goes in cycles. You will do the hard work to improve. Your body will be broken down. It will heal. You will get stronger and faster. Then you will start the cycle all over again, doing even harder work.
The runs you do when you are worn down, or healing, will not always feel great. This is ok. Accept it as a necessary part of running. There is no way to improve without feeling this way on some of your runs.
The next time you feel like your run stinks, do your best not to worry too much about it. On the opposite side of the coin, don’t get too excited the next time you feel like a gazelle on a run, as it won’t last forever. At the end of the day, you will need to understand that improving your running happens in cycles, with natural peaks and valleys. The sooner you learn to expect these ups and downs, the sooner you will be able to deal with them easily.