Why It’s OK To Have A Bad Workout
Bad workouts are an unavoidable reality for runners. No matter how talented you are or how much you try to control every variable in your training, you will have a bad workout on occasion. Sometimes the reason you struggle is out of your control or not something you can pinpoint specifically, and other days the cause is quite apparent – bad weather, allergies or a stressful day at work.
In the last six to eight weeks of marathon training, the likelihood of a bad workout increases exponentially as your training reaches its peak and you push your body further and faster. In essence, you’re walking a tight rope each day, just hoping to maintain that optimal ratio of recovery with getting in the most miles you can handle. When you spend six weeks walking a tight rope, odds are, you’re going to fall off at least once or twice.
Understanding this reality is something that separates elite runners from the mere mortals. Many elites, particularly the powerful Easy African runners, generally have the mentality that they are always as good as their best day and that a bad workout is just a bad workout. They shake off bad runs and understand that the performance was not indicative of their potential or fitness.
On the contrary, many non-elite runners will dwell on the bad workout and question whether they’ve lost all their fitness. It sounds extreme, but after coaching hundreds of runners over the last 5 years, I can attest that this reaction is very accurate and more common than you might think.
Moreover, some of America’s best marathoners and coaches even expect to have one or two bad workouts during a marathon training segment. Nate Jenkins, a 2:14 marathoner, admits that he’s “never had a marathon cycle where I didn’t have one or two bad workouts.” If you adopt this mindset from the beginning, you’ll bounce back quickly from the bad days and keep your confidence high.