Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sometimes Running Hurts

Tuesday evening I set out for my hill workout. I started the run feeling pretty good, excited to tackle this run that proves to be such a challenge each time I do it. The first repeat felt surprisingly good but I think I went a bit too hard. The second repeat reminded me why I love to hate this workout. By probably half way through the repeat my legs were quivering and my lungs were burning. At this moment I questioned my original thoughts that this workout wouldn't hurt as badly as last time. This workout more than any other reminds me of what I need to focus on most with my running.

Stay in the moment. Focus on the repeat (or mile) you are running.

To get there, you need to go there.

Nothing worth fighting for comes easy.

This week I also came to the very obvious realization that sometimes running hurts. This makes sense considering I've done a few hard workouts in my days. It really stuck with me running up those hills that running isn't always rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes it sucks. It hurts like hell. But it pushes you to challenge yourself and your limits and see what you're capable of when faced with something hard.

On Friday I had a tempo run on the schedule with 2x 15 minutes at 7:55 (10k) pace. My warm up didn't feel all that great but I figured it wasn't a big deal. The first interval started out great. I was holding a 7:52 pace and was surprised by how comfortable it felt. But after about ten minutes the sun started beating down on me and I started to feel out of energy. I fought my way to the end of the 15 minutes but struggled to break 8:00.

My first interval during tempo runs is usually slower and feels worse so I hoped I would nail my second one. Instead I just felt worse. I thought about quitting since I wasn't even hitting my paces but what would that get me? I was having a rough run and even if I wasn't going as fast as I would have liked I could still push myself. A hard run is still a hard run no matter how fast or slow you're running sometimes.

After this run I felt defeated. A 7:55 pace should have been challenging but doable since I have run at least one of my intervals faster than that for the past few weeks. Instead of it being a much needed confidence boosting run it only brought me down more. I let myself be upset for a little and then tried to move on. As my coach Mike told me, I have put in a lot of hard work the past few weeks. Not every workout is going to be perfect. If you're truly working hard some workouts will just plain suck.

How do you get over a hard or bad workout?


  1. I have had a few tough workouts like that. It's hard to say what is right for each runner. Usually I can push through a hard workout and finish even if it's not pretty. (I recently ran my own 10K a few weeks ago that did NOT go as planned and I totally positive split each mile.) I have had two specific workouts I can recall that I completely just quit. One I had not slept well the night before and a lot of stuff was going on in my personal life that was distracting me. I quit 1 1/2 miles into the tempo run and just re-did it a few days later. Then it was fine. This past fall when training for NYC marathon I got halfway through a track workout but was not hitting my 1K splits at all. I think I went to hard on the first part of the workout and had nothing left for the last part. So I just quit because it was only getting worse and getting me down. Those are the only two times I've just outright quit. So I guess I would just say finish when you can. But ultimately you know your body best. We all have those occasional days that leave us questioning our ability. If you've had several days or workouts that leave you exhausted you may just need a day off or some easy runs. Maybe your next hard workout will leave you feeling stronger and more confident. :-)

  2. I keep my head down and just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other then before I know it it's done. It may have hurt but another run in the books is better than none at all :-)