No matter what level you are training at, there has probably been a point in time where you have had a few weeks of great training—you’re hitting workouts, long runs and you feel confident and invincible. Then boom, out of “nowhere” you suffer one day whether it be a bad race, workout or long run.
All of a sudden that one run rocks your world upside down and you start questioning your abilities.
I am 100% guilty of this. I see my athletes guilty of this regularly and I’m sure you’ve been guilty of this. Why is it that we can let one bad run get us down? Why can’t we subjectively look at our training and know that everyone is bound to have a rough day and cut ourselves some slack?
In my experience, it is way easier for me talk my athletes through rough days and remind them of all the consistent and hard training they’ve been putting in but it is very difficult to wrap my own brain around this idea when it comes to my own training. Why are our internal thoughts always more critical?
Here are a few things I do with my athletes after a rough race, workout or long run.
Dissect the past few weeks of training with a teammate or coach.
I recently did this with one of my athletes after a rough long run. She had been killing workouts and long runs for about 3-4 weeks. We talked through how consistent and awesome her training had been going and how this one long run was a very tiny piece of the entire picture. This is a huge reason why I keep a training log and urge my athletes to do the same–it is easier to look back and see proof of your training rather than trying to just remember it all.
Point out how you improved from the experience.
Sure, it is easy to run fast when you feel great but salvaging a workout or long run when you aren’t feeling great forces you to work on mental toughness. The average runner starts transitioning to becoming a great runner when they overcome mental barriers on rough days. Take advantage of those days—control the controllable (you) and focus on being the best you possible.
Life goes on so don’t dwell on it. Easier said than done…I know. But the reality of it is, runners become great over months and years of consistent training; they don’t become great because of one workout.
Keep your chin up, smile and remember you get to wake up tomorrow to give it another shot.