Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Just One Bad Run

Sunday I had a bad run. I had planned to run really easy for about 24 miles. I ended up running just a bit over 21 miles, though much of the last few miles included walking and moving at a very relaxed pace. One bad run. It’s generally a thing to just throw out and never worry about again. Bad runs happen. But I’m left wondering about that one bad run. 

It really hasn’t been just one bad run. Over the past couple months, the Sunday long run has frequently been a not great run. I’ve quit really early a couple of times...something I haven’t ever done in the past. I’ve had several long runs that I finished, but that didn’t feel great at all. And there have been a smattering of long runs that I’ve been happy with. 

But the Sunday long run has been my training keystone for the past few years. 20 or so miles on Sunday morning was a weekly ritual that was completed without much thought and almost always with joy. And that’s suddenly no longer the case for me. So, it doesn’t feel like one bad run at all. And I’m left wondering why.

Maybe it’s my new training plan for Ouray 100. I may have layered in too much difficult work while not reducing the difficulty elsewhere. I feel like a weighted pack hike a couple times a week shouldn’t be a dramatic thing in my training, and that running over a small Florida bridge isn’t a huge stress increase. But perhaps those bits of new training stimulus added to the tough track session I run on Tuesdays and tempo session I run on Thursdays is just a touch too much. Maybe mix these all together, and I arrive on Sunday just a bit too fatigued to be happy with the long run. It’s certainly a possibility. I am considering adjustments to my training plan, though haven’t made a decision to do so yet.

Maybe it’s the impact of COVID and having no races on my calendar to look forward to and to use for motivation. Yes, I’m training for Ouray, but that’s 10 months away assuming I get into the race at all, and the Sunday long run really isn’t specific to Ouray. Maybe I need more race motivation than I realized. Maybe I was wrong that I enjoy the long run just for itself.

It may simply be that I have changed my training and it’s a bit of a shock to the system. My body is revolting while it adapts. And perhaps in a few weeks I’ll pop out the other side even stronger and the Sunday long run will again be joyful and not the mental grind it is at the moment. This might be the case physically, but it doesn’t explain why the simple joy of running the long run has disappeared.

I have no definitive answers. I don’t know that any of the above items capture why I’ve had several bad long runs recently. Or maybe it’s a bit of all of them. Irrespective of the reason, I sit here frustrated by that one bad run. And I sit here wondering what to change, or if anything should even change, to find the joy in the long run again.

Or maybe it really just was one bad run.