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How to Recover from a Bad Run

Move Past a Disastrous Run and Keep Running

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Updated March 27, 2014

All runners have runs when we just don't feel great. You feel like you're trudging through the run, just going through the motions, and counting down the seconds and steps until the run is over. While it's tough to get through those types of runs, it's sometimes even harder to deal with the disappointment and frustration you feel after the run is over. Follow these tips to get over a bad run:

1. Figure out what went wrong.

Runner resting
Stewart Charles Cohen
When you have a bad run, it's helpful to understand why it happened. Are you sluggish from overtraining? Did you eat and hydrate properly? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you bored with your routine? Figuring out the reason behind your bad run can help you avoid a repeat experience and can also help you make necessary adjustments to your training.

2. Focus on the health benefits.

Even if you have a bad run, you're still getting lots of benefits, such as stress relief, calories burned, and other health benefits.

3. Don't forget the mental training, too.

preracerunner.jpg
Michael Blann/Allsport/Getty
Getting through a tough run makes you stronger mentally. If you're training for an event, such as a marathon, these tough runs will help teach you how to deal with rough patches during your race.

4. Write about it.

It may seem like writing about your terrible run will only prolong the agony, but expressing your thoughts about it in your training journal or blog can help you work through it. Having a record of what you think went wrong will also help you prevent you from making the same mistake in the future.

5. Try something different next time.

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Once you figure out what went wrong, try to change something that may have caused that problem. Get more sleep if you need it. Try warming-up a little longer next time. Run a different route if you're bored. Go with a group rather than by yourself. Even if you can't pinpoint what went wrong in your run, making a change will help you distance yourself psychologically from that bad run and help you feel more confident when you start your next run.

6. Talk to other runners.

All runners, from beginners to elites, have days when it's tough it get through a run. Comparing bad run stories with other runners will make you feel better about your own experience because you'll know you're not alone.
More: How to Find a Running Group

7. Appreciate your good runs.

Runner smiling
Matthew Leete

The silver lining of having a bad run is that it helps you better appreciate your great runs. After a terrible run, try to push the bad run out of your mind by thinking back to the runs when you felt incredible and experienced that intoxicating runner's high at the end. Another great run is not too far away.

8. Don't wait too long to run again.

Bad runs are usually pretty rare, so don't assume that you'll feel the same way the next time you run. So don't get discouraged and stop running for a week because you're afraid you'll have another tough run.

Also see:

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