Tonight was my first “bad” workout in a while. I’ve had a string of successful “speed workouts” as we call them(distance runners) and tempos since the summer when I started post collegiate running. Minus the whole getting sick thing in late October-early November; I’ve been feeling great and feeling myself about to reach a new plateau in my fitness and speed.
Every race since I started running again after my collegiate career ended in May, I’ve ran faster each time and seen improvement every day.
However, as all true runners know..you cannot and will not ALWAYS nail every workout, split, run the way you want to and at the pace you want to. That’s okay and that needs to happen or else you’d never see a real improvement for yourself.
I realize that.
But, I am a perfectionist and extremely hard on myself and I overthink even the most minute detail if I don’t perform the way I expect myself to. This is especially true in my running. Which can be a great thing because it shows I actually care about getting better.
At the same time, it can be unhealthy because I can be a little too hard on myself when I don’t need to be. Like tonight:
I sat in my car and just looked at my splits. I was getting pretty pissed. Then I started getting pissed at myself for getting pissed!!
“It was just a tempo!”I told myself. Shake it off, you weren’t even off pace by that much and it won’t have any effect on your race this weekend. Seriously, Lauren what are you doing..
So, I had two options:
1. Continue to sit and sulk and feel sorry for myself and get pissed off
2. Asses the workout, evaluate my rational emotions about it, understand what I need to do to improve, realize the factors in my control and SUCK IT UP.
Forget about the run after it’s over. Tomorrow is a new day and a new run.
So I reluctantly sent my coach my splits and started the car and went home.
As I rolled across my foam roller and rolled my sore, annoyed body out, stretched and prepared for dinner, I called the one man I always call when something goes wrong or I’m feeling down- my Daddy.
Luckily, my dad happens to be a Marathon Runner(I know it’s pretty awesome and you’re probably jealous my Dad’s such a beast). But he “gets it” and he’s experienced just about every emotion and high and low associated with running.
I felt a lot better after talking to him, then my coach texted back and basically told me the same as my dad. And the same I told myself behind all the negative waste of energy I created after the tempo tonight.
“don’t sweat it!” ONE bad workout or even a few doesn’t define you as a runner. You are much more than what you do on a bad workout, whatever that means for you.
When you start to panic in any workout, like I did( I focused on all the stuff out of my control instead of what I could), you set yourself up for failure to begin with.
When I went through the two mile, I knew I was slowing down and I had a 15-16 second drop in pace coming up.
Instead of focusing on the fact that I knew I was fit enough to hit the pace and just switch gears and go,(don’t think about it just run!), I started to panic and think about “my hip flexor is tight, it’s really dark, it’s too cold and I’m not warmed up enough, my iron is low this week”..blah blah blah!!
Those are all great excuses but I failed to remember what I could control- my attitude and effort(as one of my great coaches instilled in me).
He would probably have shaken me by the shoulders after that workout and said, “come onn!!!! Don’t F*** it up like that!”
Bottom line- I know I am a good runner, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now if I wasn’t. But there are a lot of other “good” female runners my age like that. I’m not trying to be good, I want to be GREAT.
That’s why I work my ass off every day, relentlessly and I don’t give up- so I can become elite and reach the next level in my running. I won’t give up either even when I reach the goals I have for myself in running.
Running is so incredibly important to me and it’s a gift I don’t plan on wasting. That’s why I’m so hard on myself but tonight I remembered that to be a mature runner you have to take a step back and not let irrational emotions take over.
Workouts like tonight make us tougher. Without them, we wouldn’t appreciate or humbly accept our victories when they come.
So, next time you have a tough workout or a run doesn’t go the way you planned or hoped it would, shake it off!
Analyze the facts and move on! Don’t dwell on useless emotions or negative energy that distract you from how awesome you are!
Instead, focus on tomorrow. That run is over and gone. Nothing you can do about it and nothing good can come from obsessing!
“Suck it up butter cup”, a phrase I like to tell myself and others often when I see a tendency for a pitty party coming on.
You’re a lot stronger than you realize too, but being mentally strong as a runner is what will make you great. I’m still working at that part every single day.