Every runner experiences it. We dread it but we anticipate it because no one is immune. We pray fervently that it doesn’t happen on race day or the days leading up to it because we need all the help we can get to make our legs, lungs and brains get us from point A to point B as quickly as humanly possible (aka while there are still decent cookies on the snack tables….priorities.)
Simply put…every runner fears…
the crappy run.
Maybe you don’t have the pep in your step that you usually do (but I’ll warn you, if your “I could only manage a slow 8min/mile” counts as a bad run, I’ll punch you. Hard.), or maybe last night’s burrito buffet is giving you the wrong kind of turbo fire if you know what I mean (wink, wink, pass the immodium please).
Sunday, I had one of those run. Not “the runs” (no pre-run burritos for this gal) but a wholly craptastic, why-the-heck-do-I-run, run. It was really doomed from the start. I’d made a plan to train a bit on tired legs. The idea is simple and one that I used when I trained for Ragnar Relay 3 years ago. Put back-to-back workouts together at a higher physical stress to somewhat mimic how I will likely be feeling at Spartan next month. I went hard in my workout on Saturday and planned 6 miles (which is a long distance for me) for Sunday. I expected my legs to feel a bit heavy but not everything else that came with it.
I simply could not find a pace I could maintain other than walking. My heart rate was unusually high for how much effort I felt I was putting out and for the life of me, I felt like I was running through pudding. I didn’t feel like my lungs were going to explode or even that my legs were that tired (though they did feel heavy), but I seriously felt like I was in one of those dreams where you try to run as fast as you can but all you can manage is super slow-motion.
2 miles in, I was done. Mentally, I’d already checked out. I was frustrated and a bit panicked. I decided to continue on my loop and see if I could shake off whatever it was that was getting to me. No such luck. You know your run is not going as planned when the part that usually kills you (in my case, running up the foot bridge overpass…no judging from those who live in a place with actual hills…), ends up being the easiest part of the run.
I ended up turning around early and throwing in the towel at 4 miles. Less than half the distance I need to own at Spartan. Arg.
And to top it all off…for the first time ever, I experienced thigh friction. Like…I chaffed my legs raw. I know this is common for runners but I have never experienced it while running. Ever. (I haven’t experienced purple or lost toe nails either…does that make me a running unicorn?) Let me tell you, raw skin rubbing is as pleasant a feeling as the visual you likely have of raw skin rubbing right now (anyone else gagging?).
So that’s my ho-hum running story. What have I learned? Well for starters, there was likely something else at play, either nutrition-related or something else because I really don’t think I should have felt that bad. But it was still a training run and if nothing else, it gave me some mental prep for the summer ahead.
Here’s hoping the next one is a bit better!