I had a bad long run yesterday–one of those really bad ones that only seem to happen two or three times a year. If you’ve never had one, consider yourself lucky.
Bad runs are a lot like those really good runs you get every now and then, only different. The difference is that everything that makes your good run so great doesn’t happen in a bad run. You probably could have figured that out on your own, but I felt the need to drive the point home.
Because I spent much of the rest of the day trying to stay off my feet and doing nothing, I had time to reflect and figure out what happened. From what I can tell, these re the most important elements in creating a really bad run for yourself–useful if you want to be prepared for every situation on race day.
- Eat like crap the night before. I’ve been eating so good for so long that my body is now sensitive to what used to be normal food for me. We went out on Saturday night and, being the hogs we are, encouraged each other to eat stuff we wouldn’t feed the kids since they weren’t there. “Don’t need dessert–I’ll fill up on bread, thanks. On second thought..bring the bread pudding.”
- Don’t sleep enough. This one is tricky. Sometimes six hours is enough to squeak by on, but in this case it wasn’t. A key indicator is that I wanted to go to bed a couple of hours earlier than I did, but it wasn’t in the cards.
- Start tired. Not sleepy tired, but tired-tired. I did a bike ride the day before…not a super tough ride, although there was a on-the-edge-of-LT 40k time trial in there. The problem is that I did it in the afternoon and not the morning, so I only had 12 hours to recover. This ride also contributed to the feeding choices at dinner, since we left right after the ride to eat.
- Get smashed the night before. Didn’t do this one, but I thought I’d throw it in there because it’s a sure-fire way to mess up your run.
- Leave the house 30 minutes late. Yeah, I felt like dookie for most of the run, but the heat wasn’t doing many any favors at all at the finish. Replacing those last 30 minutes with some relatively cool weather at the beginning of the run would have helped.
One of my neighbors was finishing up his bike ride as I was finishing and was nice enough to give me what was left in one of his water bottles. He made the comment, “You look like you’re cooked. It feels so hot out here, but it’s only 87.” Right. 87 isn’t nearly as bad with a 20 mph wind in your face and some sweat evaporation taking place. I’d have pushed him off that bike if he hadn’t just given me water.