Every Runner Struggles with Their Training, Even Elites!
As an elite runner, most people think that I run along….sorry, prance along, feeling great every single day, and that running is just as natural as walking to the mailbox.
This may come as a surprise, but this could not be further from truth.
Is running easy every day for any runner?
Absolutely not. I don’t care who you are, or how good you are, every single runner struggles on some of their runs. And if they say they do not, they are absolutely lying!
Is running enjoyable every day for any runner?
Absolutely not. I spend a lot of my runs struggling so much that I am counting down the distance and minutes until I am finished. Again, every single runner struggles, no matter what they say.
Still don’t believe me?
Think on race day as I am tapered, I am feeling good the whole time?
Nope, not always then either!
I spend a lot of the time in races battling back and forth in my mind. Constantly wondering why I do this to myself, and telling myself that this is the last race. I am retiring my running shoes after this…..yet here I am, race after race, back at it every day!
We forget that we are all out there together, as much as running is an individual sport, we all go through similar struggles, and that is something which we all have in common. If you take a second during a race to look around you, you will see the pain on every runners face. We aren’t the only ones feeling the struggle, but usually we are so preoccupied with how much we are hurting that we forget about that, not even noticing as it is all around us.
Which runs do I struggle the most with?
Well, the days following my long runs, while following my marathon training schedule, I find that I feel absolutely exhausted. Often times I feel like I am running in mud and can barely lift my legs.
And before you think that even though I may have been feeling bad, I was probably still running pretty fast.
Well, on the days following a long run or workout, I run about 3 minutes per mile slower than my marathon race pace. That is a significant difference!
I usually tell runners to run so slowly on their easy days. Go slow enough that you feel you could do that run all over again at the end.
That is the pace you should be running on those easy days, but even then, it is still expected that you might not enjoy the run. I know that I do not really enjoy those days.
That being said, those are the days when we feel the most accomplished afterwards, as we know how many mental demons we had to face during those runs.
What is the bottom line?
Hopefully I have changed some of the opinions out there, proving that every single runner, no matter their skill and endurance, has days where they do not want to run, where the motivation is at an all time low. Those are days that test the mental strength and drive of even the most elite runners.
Sometimes even elite runners have to convince themselves to go running, and it is our job!
Then we have to spend the entire run talking ourselves through it, reassuring ourselves that we are doing fine and will make it to the end of the run. Even for the best runners, the temptation to walk can be particularly strong on those days.
I cannot tell you when these runs will happen, and you may even find yourself going through weeks of that kind of struggle at a time, but hopefully now you will at least take a little comfort in knowing that everyone has them (misery loves company, right?).
These are the days when it is even more important to listen to your body, and go as slow as you need to go in order to properly recover. If you take it easy and maintain comfortable and reasonable pace, the easier it will be to get back to feeling good sooner, rather than delaying the process or even causing more pain.