Sunday, February 28, 2010

Define a "good run."

A month ago, I ran 6 miles in 54 minutes and felt great about it. I wasn't trying for a specific time or anything--I was just running to recover from the ING half, and I felt good the whole time. It did feel "fast" as I was running; my whole body felt in synch, almost like I was dancing.

Today, I ran 6 miles (tapering for next week's Miami Beach 13.1) and felt lousy about it. It felt like I was pushing through mud and I thought unpleasant things the entire time. My iPhone armband kept slipping; I was overdressed in fleece-lined leggings for 45 degree weather; I nauseated by the road kill and angry at the motorists who seemed to be driving as close as possible to the runners, rather than steering away from us.

My time for the run? 2 minutes and 23 seconds slower than the run a month ago. I was shocked by this. I was expecting to have been a good 10 minutes slower, given how much of a struggle it was for me to complete.

Which leads me to conclude that a good run doesn't have very much to do with speed. A good time might be an ego boost, but I think that's all there is to it.

I think a good run is 100% in the brain. I've run with blisters and still enjoyed it. I've run with a shooting pain in my left calf and soreness in my right heel and still felt good about it. Today I had no such injuries, but had only run once this week--and I think I went into the run assuming it would be a slow, bad one. And so it wasn't exactly a triumph.

I have to say there's no better cure for a bad run than a good one. I'm looking forward to lacing up tomorrow morning and getting all traces of today's 6 miles out of my system.

What do you think makes a run good rather than bad?


  1. I agree, it is 100% mental. At the height of my running I used to run twice a day (I totally relate to the term "runners high"), and it there were times when I would have a good morning run, and a lousy evening run (same day/temp/conditions). It was like I had 10 pound weights attached to my wrists and ankles. Other days I felt like I was just bouncing along on a cloud of air. I wish I knew sometimes how to get out of my own head, but some days I just cannot seem to convince myself that I am not tired.

  2. I think it's 98% mental and 2% actual tired. Somedays I am all ready to run and just can't keep moving. It may be that no one is sleeping well in my house or I've just had a bunch of long days at work. I do know if I have convinced myself it's not going to go well, it usualy doesn't.

  3. I so know what you mean about the ankle weights. Amazing how a body can remain the same weight and feel so much "heavier" when your mind is heavier! The brain can be a strange thing.