Should’a, Could’a, Would’a

I read a lot of blogs, Tweets, Facebook and Google + updates and one of things that I have noticed a lot of lately is:

  • runners beating themselves up over what they consider a crappy run or race.

I understand that we have trained hard all summer to whip our bodies into the best shape we possibly can and chase after those elusive PR’s, want to do great at a destination race or that “one” person that we really want to “kick ass” against are so important to us. That when we don’t live up to our own expectations or “dreams” that we can be devastated disappointed about the results, 

  • A bad run – stop…it ain’t a big deal.
  • A bad day – okay…it happens to everyone.
  • A bad race – so what…we ALL have them.
  • “That” person…kicked your ass…it happens.

I understand being disappointed been there done that – too many times to count.

Yes, we need to reflect on a race or a run, identify what went wrong, the need to bitch about it and get it out of your system. That is pretty normal and we all do it at some point or other.

We also need to think about the things we did right (because there are always things that we do right), then come up with a plan to correct or change those things that need to or can be fixed and accept some things can’t be fixed.

Then we  need move on, get back to being positive and do the hard work that needs to be done.

What I am seeing that bothers me is when runners continue to keep talking about how bad their performance was, how disappointed they are with their run/race, etc., on different social media channels and just don’t let go of that “bad” performance and then have a repeat the bad whatever again and then start a downward spiral that negatively affects their confidence, psyche and running.

An Opportunity

Personally, as much as those kind of days/races DO SUCK! I attempt to see those bad, suck-it-up, shitty days, runs and races (however you want to describe them) – as opportunities to learn more about myself, build character, pick my ass up off the ground, look at what happened, identify what I can do to change things so it doesn’t happen next time (training, fueling, equipment, etc.), and ALSO find the things that I did well.

It is important to make sure that you look for the positive things that happen, even more than the negatives, you build off the positives and correct the negatives as much as you can.

The reality is that

continuing to beat yourself up over a bad race or run, really does not serve any purpose, all it is destroy your enjoyment of running and can allow the negativity to spill over into your life beyond running.

I know – been there, done that. I used to beat myself up over a bad run or race and had the subsequent downward spiral. This was a HUGE contributing factor to my developing Race Day Anxiety back in 1986, so badly that I did not want to run in many races for almost 25 years.

From personal experience, you don’t want to go down that road, it just isn’t worth it – because it SUCKS!

Step back for minute, look at your running, your motivations, all the good things you are doing, then improve what you can, change what you need to, but most of all get back to enjoying the run.

Accept the bad days for what they are, learn from them and then let them go.

Enjoy the run and keep smiling, isn’t that what running is about.

4 thoughts on “Should’a, Could’a, Would’a

  1. I look at it this way – whether at home, work, or on a run, bad things can happen. Then we have a few choices – we can ignore, deny (or place blame elsewhere), wallow, or learn. Ignoring or denying dooms us to repeat the mistake again until we learn. Wallowing, as you note, is self-defeating.

    But learning means accepting who we are and how/why we made the mistake. For some that is easy, for others not so much. I have always had the attitude that there are others smarter and more talented than me, and those who are less talented and not as smart as me.

    It took me until last year to believe that I wasn’t the slowest runner in the universe and that everyone wouldn’t just laugh at me. But once I leaned that I could get serious about my goals. I have made mistakes along the way – too conservative, too aggressive, and so on. But I learn and improve each time – and I have also learned that I would rather not qualify for Boston but still be running marathons in 10 years than wrack myself getting those last minutes out of my pace. A big part of everything in life is acceptance – accepting that we are everything that makes us up, our successes and our mistakes.

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