What I’ve Learned from My Worst Runs

I’m sure that if you talk to most runners, they will gush about how wonderful running is, and how much they love it. I would probably say the same thing if you asked me. I love the fresh air, and I love the feeling of running to escape the stresses of everyday life. I love the feeling of accomplishment after I finish a run, and I love the exhilaration of finishing a race. Just because I love running doesn’t mean that I love every single run I go on. As I’ve said before, everyone has off days, and having an off day only means that you are experiencing all aspects of running.

I still remember two of my worst runs. One would have to be when I first joined the team at my high school, and I was sent out for a run with a bunch of fast upperclassmen (all of whom were very nice and welcoming). I remember that the run was one of the farthest distances I had ever run, and I started to give up at the end. Even though I had been training with the team for a little while, I still did not believe I was capable of keeping up with the upperclassmen. I didn’t have much of a choice, as I was told to run with them, and I didn’t know the route we were taking. Instead of thinking positively, I kept telling myself that I wasn’t going to be able to run all the way back to the school, and that I wasn’t going to be able to run up the giant hill at the end. However, I made it. I completed the entire run, with the rest of the team. And when I finished, although it felt like one of the most painful runs I had ever done, I was so proud of myself. This run gave me confidence, because it was then that I knew I was capable of much more than I thought I was.

Even worse than that run was one that I did in the middle of winter, outside. I was not dressed for the weather at all, and I was freezing cold from the moment I stepped out the door. Again, it was at practice, so I had no choice but to complete the workout that we were doing for the day. I let the cold get to my head, and I could not think about anything except how cold I was. After I thawed out from the cold weather, I realized the importance of preparation. It is so much easier to think positively when you are prepared for your run, mentally and physically.

Although I consider these my worst runs ever, I am grateful for them. Obviously, I survived them both, and I truly believe that I am a stronger runner because of all the bad runs I have had. I have learned that no matter how bad my run is, I will survive it, and I will be a better runner because of it. Seeing the value in all types of runs is important to the mental aspect of running, because you will not always have good runs, and it is important to learn from the mistakes you have made. From my mistakes, I have learned to dress appropriately for the weather, I have learned the meals that are good to eat right before a run, and I have learned to never give up, because I am so much stronger than I think.

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These runners are very prepared for their “Ice Marathon.”

Photo credit: http://www.icemarathon.com/site/press-2010/41.html, http://www.running4thereason.com/2012/03/12/13-reasons-why-i-love-running/

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