Anyway, today I have a guest post from one of my favorite bloggers out there….I am sure you have heard of her, if not, you need to check her out NOW! I am honored to have Amanda Loudin, aka Miss Zippy. We have become great friends over the last year, and she is someone I really look up to for running advice. She is also a writer for Runners Connect, which I love!
I was scared to put this post up before any races for people, but there is some really good advice in here, and even though London was a good one for me, back in the day, I have definitely had more bad races than good over these last few years, so listen to Amanda 🙂 Over to you, friend!
Hi everyone—I’m thrilled to be over here pinch hitting for Tina today because she is one of my all-time favorite bloggers. An elite who is as down-to-earth as they come and who doesn’t mind pulling back the curtains and sharing the good with the bad with us. What’s not to love?
I want to talk to you all about having a BAD race…and getting over it. I’ve been racing for about 17 years now and as you can imagine, in that amount of time I’ve had more than my share of bad races. They used to really pull me down, but I’ve learned to get over a bad day and move on and I’m hoping that some of my tips help you should you ever find yourself in that situation.
And the truth is that if you race long enough, sooner or later, you probably will have an off day. This could be due to poor pacing, fueling mistakes, running on tired legs, or just an “off” day. While disappointing, especially if you’ve put in months of dedicated training, I’m here to tell you that you can—and should—move on.
But before you move on, I DO think you should spend a couple of days wallowing, especially if this was a big goal race. After all, you poured countless hours into gunning for a certain goal time—you were invested in it. Disappointment is only natural and you should take some time to acknowledge it and feel a bit blue. Share your feelings with your loved ones, too, because they know how much the day meant to you and will want you to lean on them.
After your “mourning period,” however, it’s time to do some reflection on the race. What do you think went wrong? Was it something you could have controlled? Is it something you can change for the next time? Find the lessons in the day, learn them, and put them to work for future races.
I also recommend taking a week or two of very easy, non-goal paced running following the race, even longer if it was a marathon. Your legs will be no good to you if you turn right around and start trying to pound improvements into them with hard speedwork. Instead, leave the watch at home and just run for the love of it. This will help you hit the reset button before starting to train again.
Somewhere in this first week or two post-race is a good time to start focusing on a new goal race if you don’t already have one on the schedule. Disappointment can be a powerful fuel for improvement, so put that to good use when you return to training.
Side note on this: if it was a marathon that went wrong, I’m not a big believer in an immediate “redemption” race. This is a distance that takes a lot out of your body and the odds don’t really favor that running another shortly thereafter will turn out in your favor.
More importantly than anything, however, I want you to have perspective when it comes to a bad race. Few of us are elites like Tina, so we need to remember why we run and race in the first place. The answer, usually, is because it’s something we love and that brings us joy.
If you get too caught up in the disappointment of a bad race, or if you obsess over bettering your results next go around, I can guarantee you this: it will eventually suck the joy right out of the experience.
Instead, remember that healthy and happy running/racing is only one facet of our lives. Yes, it’s important to us, but so too are many other things, from family and friends to careers and other past-times. Keep a healthy perspective on a bad day because in the end, it was just that: a bad day. You have the ability to control what you do with it and how you move forward.
You will have more chances down the road to go after that goal. In the meantime, enjoy the steps that you take to get there.
How do you overcome a bad race? How did you move past your biggest setback race? Are you wanting to find a way out of the rut of having bad races? Check out my course Mile 20 Mental Training to Win Your Race.