Okay, perhaps that is a tad dramatic. Musical stylings of Kelly Clarkson aside, yesterday’s speed work session seriously kicked my butt.
I had four miles on my training plan yesterday, with 2 miles at 8:27 pace and 1/2 mile recovery jogs. Since I’ve consistently been throwing down some 8:30ish miles during my outdoor runs, I figured the 8:27 pace would be a challenge, but not too challenging. Boy, was I wrong.
I did a warm up mile at 9:40 pace, then bumped up the speed to 8:27 pace and tried to settle into the pace. By the end of the first mile repeat, I had a stitch in my left side and actually walked the first minute of the recovery to try to work it out. As soon as I picked the pace back up for the second mile repeat, the stitch reared its ugly head again. I knew I wouldn’t make it through the whole mile with this stitch, so I slowed to a walk for about a minute. This seemed to help and I was able to pick my speed up for the rest of the mile. After finishing the second 1/2 mile recovery, I did a short cool down and called it a day.
After weeks of good to great runs, the best word for this run would be humbling. My first reaction was to beat myself up for taking that walk break during the second mile repeat. I hate taking breaks during interval workouts. It didn’t matter that I’ve never attempted speed work at these paces before, that walk break meant I was a failure. Fortunately, this feeling only lasted as long as it took me to drive home and make breakfast (although it briefly reappeared later in the day when my legs started to feel sore). Yes, this run was hard. The workout was designed to be hard.
(Yes, I know I’ve used this quote before. But it’s totally appropriate here).
To keep improving as a runner, I need to continue to push myself. That sub 2:10 half marathon isn’t going to just happen on its own, I need to put in the work (and pick a race). Sometimes, I will have less than stellar runs, sometimes they will flat-out suck, and sometimes I’ll have runs that are absolutely amazing. That’s just the nature of the sport, and it’s why I keep coming back. The bad runs make the great runs taste that much sweeter. And the next time mile repeats pop up on my schedule, I’ll be ready for some payback.
Now it’s your turn! How do you keep perspective after a sub-par run/workout?