Brick Walls

When running feels good, it feels really good. When it feels bad, it feels really bad. 

The order of things in running, the reason behind these good and bad feelings, can be difficult to fathom.

Why did that run feel good?

How can I capture that feeling every time I go out the door? 

You might reason that it was factors beyond your control which influenced the ungraspable goodness and ease of an excellent run; the weather, or lack of traffic on your usual roads, for instance. Yet, you might reflect, you’ve also had unfathomably bad runs in good weather, no traffic scenarios.

What was the deal on those days? Perhaps if you can locate the deep reasoning behind the bad then you can set out a series of known facts and deduce your way to what makes good runs good: poor digestion from running too soon after eating, low energy from not eating enough, not resting, not sleeping, getting absolutely smashed, etc. They all serve for piss poor preparation, and your running will likely suffer because of them. 

But, sometimes, even when you haven’t done any of those things, made any of those mistakes…a run just sucks. And sometimes when you do those things, it just works out anyway. 

You’re no closer to an answer. 

There are controllable factors in running: diet, rest, sleep, not getting super drunk before a big session, these are things within our control, but they do not wholly dictate how a run will feel. Running is a chaotic sport, and sometimes things will feel beyond us. Sometimes there will be good days where you expected bad days, and vice versa.

You’re no closer to an answer because there is no answer. 

All we have is what little is in our control, and our mindset. 

If we know bad days are inevitable, we should embrace them. 

I say all this because I’m trying not to fight the bad days, I’m trying to float them, work them out. When they come I ask myself: why do I feel like this? And then realise that there probably isn’t an easy answer. I try not to blindly batter onwards, crushing myself against a brick wall of my own design, I slow down, hydrate, stop, do what I have to do to feel good.

Understand that the bad days are part of it, an unavoidable chapter in our books. I don’t think you can look forward to the bad days, but what you can do is relish the challenge of getting through them, of working them out, of taking the time to listen to body and mind and doing what needs to be done. 

No two days in this sport are the same, and I love that. Embrace the chaos. Embrace the fact that after the best run of your season, you might have a whole week of shit. Embrace the fact that you might feel like you’re teetering on the brink of exhaustion, only to wake up after a few days rest refreshed, reset, and ready to go again.

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