New River State Park Trail Pulaski

Runners Tell All: Bad Races/Workouts

It’s that time of the month again! Time to join in on the Runners Tell All monthly link up. This month is all about sharing a bad race or training experience and what you learned from it. I had to give this one a bit of thought.

I’ve had some tough races and plenty of workouts that didn’t go as planned in the past. In order to answer this question, I turned to my running log. There was a particular training run from last May that stood out to me.

Runner's World Training Log

It was 88 degrees and humid outside as I headed down to the trail in town for a post-work 6 mile tempo run. The run did not go the way I wanted it to. I did run miles 2-5 faster than my first and last mile, but that’s as close as this run came to a tempo run.

New River State Park Trail Pulaski

I had to stop every single mile of the run to stretch my calves and Achilles, because they felt like they were on fire while I ran. I also got frustrated because after stopping to stretch at mile 1, I started running again without starting my watch. I didn’t notice this until about 0.3 miles into mile 2. Not the best thing when you’re looking for splits during a tempo run. Then during mile 5 my right foot went completely numb.

On top of all of that, the bugs were horrendous that evening. The trail runs parallel to a creek most of the way, which only made things worse. They were so heavy that at times I could only look at the ground while running, and ended up swallowing a bunch. I also got inexplicably sick during the final (cool down) mile.

Dora Trail Pulaski

You’re probably wondering why I still bother to run, after such a disastrous workout. It’s because I learned a lesson from that run. That lesson is the same reason I had to look in my running log to remember this run. I learned the importance of moving on from a bad run or race experience, and not dwelling on it. Because that will suck all of the fun out of running.

Sometimes it can be beneficial to look back on a bad run and think about the reasons behind it. Are you overtraining? Not getting enough rest? Eating junk? Not drinking enough water? But othertimes you just have to brush it off and move on.

Tell me about a time you had a bad race or workout, and how you learned from it/overcame it.


This is a monthly link-up for runners that poses a different topic each month. If you missed last month’s post, you can find that HERE. This link-up is hosted by Amanda @ The Lady Okie and Beka @Sunshine to the Square Inch. Click the icon below to get all of the details about these monthly link-up’s.


16 thoughts on “Runners Tell All: Bad Races/Workouts”

  1. I’ve had a few bad runs like this! I contribute a lot of it to heat and humidity (I live in Florida…). It will always drain me and make me feel like I’m moving backwards in my training. But I agree, you just have to move past it and put it behind you. The next run is always better!

    1. The heat combined with humidity will definitely suck the energy out of you! I can’t imagine running in Florida. It’s so humid there!

  2. I hate when runs turn bad like that. However, I do agree with you that sometimes we just have a bad run and we have to move on. I also think that the bad runs make us better. If we can get through them it makes us stronger both physically and mentally.

    Thanks for linking up with RTA this month!

    1. True! It definitely helps to think back to a “bad” run when the going gets tough during a race, and think “well, it’s not as bad as that day” or “I fought through then and I can fight through now.”

      Thanks for hosting!

  3. I really should have a regular training run. I use to keep track of my workouts, but I don’t include a lot of information. I think that’s a great idea to remind yourself why you run after such a bad one. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I love keeping a training log, and have done so since I started running in 2007. It’s a great way to track trends and can be good motivation, too. If I get in a running slump sometimes it helps to look back through old training logs.

  4. Great topic. I had a pretty awful trail run one day. I just started doing a trail near my work over lunch. It was a busy day at work and at the last minute decided to hit the trail. Did about two miles with pretty good elevation gain in about 85 degree heat. Well I didn’t have enough water that day and ended up dehydrated, sick to my stomach and head aches all night. Lesson learned, hydrate hydrate hydrate!

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