If people say, "I love running", they're probably telling the truth.
If they say, "I love running ALL THE TIME", they're lying.
If I only ran on "good run days", I'd never run.
Thursday, I returned home 13 hours after I left. I spent the day lugging my camera around North Georgia hunting cicadas. The shoot went well, but it was a long ride and a late day. And I had an hour of running ahead of me.
This is pretty typical for my mid-week runs. I'm tired, not hydrated, and not motivated. There was a time in my life, I would have said, "Not today. Tomorrow will be better."
But then, tomorrow turns into next week, next month, next year. Then, we're fat and out of shape.
I have a phone cover that reads: "Run or Die. Singletrack mind." I see it all day long, and it's supposed to guilt me into running. It works. But it's not true. I won't die if I miss a run, and my mind is filled with paying the bills, planning a wedding, doing my job, getting enough sleep. We all have lives and they often get in the way of running.
But if you're a runner, you have to make it work. So, here's my guide on how to make a bad run good:
Just do it: Yes, I'm quoting an old Nike commercial. But it's true. Just start the run. Don't worry about the time or distance. Any run is better than no run.
Leave the watch: This isn't the day you'll log great times or great distances. Let it go. Just feel successful you're out there when you don't want to be.
Remember your awesomeness: Think about all of the great things you've accomplished. I call up how much pain I was in at mile 29 in the NorthFace 50K. If I did that, I can do this, I chant to myself. If you're a new runner, think about where you used to be compared to where you are today. Every run is a log of your accomplishments.
Look sexy: Nothing makes you feel good like looking good. I have a favorite running skirt that lifts my mood. It makes me feel fast. Feeling fast feels awesome on a bad day.
Say hi: Wave at fellow runners. Not a handshake, just a quick 'go runner' wave (similar to the wave Jeep owners give each other). Don't expect a wave in return. In all of my running waves, I've only had return waves or nods of the head a handful of times (except on trail runs where the "wave ratio" is much higher). Still, the wave always make me feel better. It's the same race day effect of returning the high fives of kids lining the course.
It's clear we're headed for a few months of hot, sweaty, humid runs between now and the Peachtree. You will have bad days, but that doesn't mean you have to have a bad run.
Do you have other tips on how to get through a tough run? Let me know!
You can follow Julie Wolfe on Twitter @JulieWolfe and on her blog http://atlantarunningreporter.blogspot.com/.