There will be days when your run doesn't go well. So, you need a way to deal with that situation.
Even before I'd run a few yards I knew I was in trouble this morning.
My legs felt heavy and my body was trying to drag me back home - The early start wasn't appreciated.
I pushed on to get the first mile in. I figured after that, I'd feel better. It was a decent morning for running today, not too cold.
My plan was to run some faster sections and take it easy between. That wasn't likely today, I could tell as the first mile marker passed by.
So, I decided to reduce how far I was going. And I also decided to try and work on form instead of pace.
Mile 2 passed by and I still felt like I was labouring. I was getting close to an off-road section. That wouldn't bother me, but this morning, it was pitch dark.
That meant it would slow me down. I made a mistake at that point. When I realised my pace could drop off further, I started to worry about it.
My pace did drop off further.
So, here's what I did. I stopped and walked a few yards. Took some nice big breaths and then ran hard again.
I've done this before to sort out a bad run. It's a bit hit and miss - sometimes, it can have the desired effect. Other times, you still feel like you are running in fast-drying concrete.
Worse than that, my result was inconclusive. I began to improve the pace, but by how much was marginal.
It was taking ages for sunrise to happen. I was glad to get off the dark trail and back on to the road.
All I wanted at this point was to feel like there was some quality in this run.
I took another deep breath and surged again.
Better, not groundbreaking but definitely better. So, I did it again - in effect, turning the run into a surges session.
That one was better too. The only problem was, the cold air was making me gasp and my legs were burning.
I figured I was close enough to home to go again. So I did. Blimey, that hurt. It's a good job it was still dark. The expression on my face would have scared the locals.
I arrived home feeling knackered and knowing I hadn't done enough to turn the run into a good one.
here's the thing...
I checked my stats and found that I'd been in my peak performance zone for over 30 minutes.
It started to feel like a better run already. Sometimes, a run can feel bad because of the struggle to keep going. These runs are good workouts.
I say that because even though it feels like a bad run, all that effort to turn in some quality doesn't go to waste.
The bottom line is this: even though a run can feel like it isn't going well, keep pushing. You might surprise yourself.
And if you can't turn it around, at least check your run data. Your effort still counts.