Why do we have bad runs?: My last 2 runs were... - Bridge to 10K

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Why do we have bad runs?

telford_mike profile image

My last 2 runs were awful - a 10k that was my slowest ever, and a 4k that turned into a 3k because I just lost the will to run somehow. Then this morning I hit a hilly mountain trail and absolutely romped along, completing 5k within 2 seconds of my parkrun PB! Mrs t_m almost missed getting a pic as she wasn’t expecting me so soon.

It makes no sense - nothing has changed. One day I can't run for toffee and a couple of days later I'm doing my best Mo Farah impression. Any ideas?

30 Replies
Whatsapp profile image

Best not to spend too much time analysing it, as it will drive you round the bend.

Some days I go out really not feeling up for a run and have a belter; other times, when I feel really excited and up for it turn into a disaster.

I think the bad runs are there to make the good ones all the more rewarding. And I always tell myself after a bad run that I should feel more rpoud of those runs, because those are the days I have had to dig deep and work hard.

I wonder whether (in theory) keep a diary would help? I'm not suggesting you specifically do this Mike, but I guess it a run could be affected by quality of sleep the night before, perhaps how stressful work is proving, maybe even extra carbs the previous night's dinner helps or hinders?! As long as you/we keep going that's the main thing :)

telford_mike profile image
telford_mikeGraduate10 in reply to southlundon

Yes I did wonder about that. My life is pretty simple - retired, live in the mountains. If anything today should have been a bad one as I had a few beers last night whilst watching the footie in the pub. Weird.

Perhaps a lack of beer caused the others to be bad runs ;)

telford_mike profile image
telford_mikeGraduate10 in reply to southlundon

Loving that logic!

No idea - just glad I’m not the only one it happens to!!

mrrun profile image

Unless your primary concern is how to better your own 10K world record and what to wear at post Olympic medal party, you should simply be happy that you're out there running. Every elite athlete has off days when they are not 'feeling' it. And they have teams of people looking after them and making sure they feel everything alright. I noticed the same with me but I also noticed that I would waste my time thinking and analysing it. Just run and enjoy!

Ang33333 profile image

I think it is how we all feel! Some days my legs just don't want to run. On Saturday went out to do a slow 5k and ended up running my fastest! No clue how! 😁

BaddieThePirate profile image
BaddieThePirateGraduate10 in reply to Ang33333

Well done!

Slow_Rob profile image

If I knew the answer to that I would be well sorted...there can be a myriad of reasons .. best not to dwell to much on it .. 10K and a 2K are still runs.. all learning and making us better than we were

Flyingred profile image

I'm pretty sure the answer is in our mental state and less to do with the physical things like food, drink, etc. I've noticed that on the days when I could have had an excuse (short of sleep, wine the night before, big meal, etc) the runs went well. Common denominator? I was feeling happy and relaxed.

pinkaardvark profile image

No idea why, but the experience seems largely universal. Hydration, sleep, fuel, testosterone level, nitrates, mood, weather, light levels.. there's too many factors lol

UpTheStanley profile image

Having carefully considered all the evidence from your original and subsequent posts, the answer would seem to be “because you haven’t drunk enough 🍺 “

I completely agree

Lordi profile image

I'm noticing a strong correlation between a "night out with the boys" or even a quite night in (with a rather exquisite bottle of plonk for a handsome dinner for two) and rubbish runs for upto 2 days aftewards. However, I'm convinced it's nothing to do with dehydration and borderline kidkey failure but just one of those things that happens with us runner types!

Lordi profile image
LordiGraduate10 in reply to Lordi

Should have said "I'm on a delta in northern Egypt"...

Oldfloss profile image

...Like mrrun ..I am just grateful I can run...however long it takes..or not...but I still get a little buzz when I move at a little more than snail speed..😉

Bazza1234 profile image

All runs that we do ( except when we enter an official race) are essentially training runs and training runs are/should be done at different paces and different lengths for different reasons. Races are the times when we should be worrying about our pace - whether it was our best or worse ever. Just about all training runs should be done at slower than race pace - except for short sprint type intervals

Fabulous450 profile image

A recovery run (go slow!) is what my App recommends at least twice per week. Perhaps the “go slow runs” actually prepare you better for the runs ahead? You’re probably running smarter than you’re giving yourself credit for! Hey...10k is fantastic no matter the pace. 🤩❤️

Equi-geek profile image

In my opinion: all of the above Mike 🤣 I’ve been looking more closely at HR variability and overtraining / environmental stress recently (horse thing - but applies to humans too) so I am looking back at my HRV post-runs and there does seem to be a dip after a longer run and sometimes it takes a few days to get back up again. A stressful week also holds it down. My resting HR is also elevated today after last nights tough 8k. It’s interesting stuff but I am trying not to get too geeky about it - like I usually do 🤣

Lordi profile image
LordiGraduate10 in reply to Equi-geek

I think you are right about HR. My resting/night time HR is usually 53/4 bpm but after I do a long run or have few shandies my HR is 65+ even while asleep!

Equi-geek profile image
Equi-geekGraduate10 in reply to Lordi

Weirdly, after a big effort on Tuesday and subsequent plummet in HRV, this morning it was over 100, more than 25ms higher than the previous best since I got the watch in June. My resting HR has dropped by 10bpm but 10% above my 53bpm fully-rested state. Be interesting to see how the 4K feels today. (Sorry, Mike, I’m hijacking your thread!!!🤐)

mountaindreamer profile image

Not sure, but well done! 😃🏃‍♂️💥❤️

Were you perhaps overtired? 🤔

I’m also not sure what altitude the valleys are now you’re back. A bit of altitude soon makes a difference. Have you perhaps acclimatised again now?

telford_mike profile image
telford_mikeGraduate10 in reply to mountaindreamer

Good point, but more weirdness - the good run yesterday was up at 5500 feet, and both the bad ones were much lower, down in the valley. Does not compute!

ArthurJG profile image

Could be that without knowing it you hadn’t slept well and finally were tired enough to (a) not finish a 4k and (b) sleep like a log especially with the, er, anaesthetic . Or that your expectations were lower for the hilly run so you were more relaxed. Or something less penetrable like a change in atmospheric humidity or a muscle that had repaired or ... who knows but I’m glad your most recent run was a good one because that’s always a nice place to be!

Agelesslass profile image

I have lead legs some days on my runs and other times I have fairy like wings and can fly, goodness knows why. Keep running Telford-mike

Beachcomber66 profile image

No idea! Today I had both in the same run! I set out to do 5.5k as the last run in week 1 of Ju-ju's plan and at 4.5 to 5k I was feeling really heavy legged. The suddenly it was like a gear change and I breezed on to 5.7k and could have gone a lot further. My heart rate was even throughout. So no explanation! I think enjoy the good ones and forget the bad ones is the way forward....and I know..there is no such thing as a bad run!!

FlickM3 profile image

I agree, no rhyme or reason. Wonderful photo and lovey surroundings though.

Thx for this question, Mike. Reassuring to read all the very similar replies. Helps keep the ‘bad runs’ in their box and releases the need for understanding why it happened!

telford_mike profile image
telford_mikeGraduate10 in reply to CarolineLou71

Absolutely. It just seems to be part of the process.

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