Unfortunatly, this isn’t me. Terefe Maregu had a good run on July 4, 2008 winning the AJC Peachtree Road Race. JOHNNY CRAWFORD/ AJC
Just about anyone that has run more than a few times knows a big part of a good run is mental. I can’t put a number on it – say running is 65 or 75 percent in your head and the rest your legs – but I know my psyche plays a big part in my runs. More than half the total thought/effort when I run is in my head.
There is no way I could have run the entire Publix half-marathon earlier this year just on how my legs were working. From about five or six miles in until the end, I was in pain; from Georgia Tech until the finish, a lot of pain. But I told myself I was going to finish the thing (my first half-marathon in three-plus years), so I did in a pretty decent time.
Wednesday, in the crazy pre-severe weather winds that felt like they were also blowing against me, I had a very good run. Despite the weather – wind plus the beginnings of the heat and humidity – I felt good and ran quick. It was my fastest run on my three-mile training loop in the four months I’ve been back in Atlanta. Two days ago, I attempted the same run, and it was miserable. I couldn’t finish it without stopping to catch my breath. One of the worst, if not the worst, runs since I’ve been back.
Here’s my theory (call me crazy below, if you like): Monday, I was nervous before a meeting and awaiting some news. Today, I had just received that news and it was all very positive. I was in a great mood when I left my house, and I figure that carried on throughout the run.
There will be the days you’re feeling great (like me today). There will be the miserable training runs where every step is awful, and you can’t wait to be done. Your grand plan for a solid five-mile outing becomes a two-mile effort to go out and make it back home. Is my theory wrong? How do you make it through the bad days to get back to the good ones?