Why You Need to Experience Bad Runs + Week 8 Boston Training

This week I learned why you need to experience bad runs.

On Monday, I was supposed to do a tempo run- 10 miles with 6 at half marathon pace.  My most recent half marathon was a 6:50 pace, so I thought, “Ok no problem, it’ll be 2 easy warm-up miles, my tempo set, and then 2 easy cool down.”



Ha. HA.

That didn’t happen!  I mean, the two easy miles were fine, 8:15 and 8:12, I got that down pat.


The first mile was fine, 6:47, right where I was supposed to be.  But then the next one was 6:55 and I knew I had nothing in the tank.  The voice in my head was yelling “Come one, Becca, get it together,” but my legs didn’t respond.  I set my teeth and dug in, but the pace inched to 7:01…. and then 7:04… and then 7:12.  I was feeling so nauseous and dizzy and I just wanted it to be over.  The last tempo mile was 7:23 and as soon as my Garmin beeped I hit the pause and stopped.  I bent over to catch my breath and was so upset with my body.  Why couldn’t I manage to hold the pace?


Of course, typical runner problem, for the rest of the day I was in a grumpy mood.  The nagging voice in my head was questioning whether or not I was really on track to be in shape for Boston or if I would crumble and fail like I did that morning in my tempo.

However, come Tuesday, with a fresh new perspective, I was able to analyze what went wrong.

  1. Nutrition- the day before, my schedule had been thrown off and I didn’t get enough quality meals in.  A big no-no for the middle of marathon training.  As a result, Monday when I headed out the door I didn’t have enough fuel in the tank.  Lesson learned:  Eat a little something before a morning run, even if it means waking up 15 minutes earlier.
  2. Poor sleep- Saturday night I only got about 5 hours of sleep due to being out late with friends, and Sunday night was only around 6.  Two nights of poor sleep in a row left me feeling sluggish and achy.  Lesson learned: I need at least 7.5-8 hours of sleep to feel good, so I need to make sure to plan accordingly.
  3. Negative self-talk- As soon as that second mile beeped and I saw how much time I had dropped I entered into a downward spiral of negative self-talk.  I kept harping on myself for not being able to go faster and that only served to exacerbate the problem. Lesson learned: Well, this isn’t really a lesson learned, it’s more of a personal goal for myself.  I can’t allow myself to be dragged down by the numbers and analyze every twinge and pain and step of a run or else it will feel like it’s going on forever.



Going into the long run Saturday, I thought about what I could do to make it a good one.  I went in with a plan for the run- start slow for the first two miles, pick it up to pace during the third mile, and then run 5 solid miles at marathon pace, before backing off and doing it all over again.  I went to bed earlier on Friday so that I could get up a bit earlier on Saturday morning to eat.  Made sure to have a piece toast with almond butter and strawberries/bananas, and some tea.  I rolled out and did a lunging matrix and then headed out to pick up some other runners before heading out to Barrington.


Talk about a GREAT run!  With fuel in my tank, rolled out legs, and a clear head I dominated the hills.  My average pace for the first set of 5 miles was 7:26 and for the second set it was 7:12! I had so much energy left in the tank when I finished that I almost didn’t want to stop!  Having a terrible run on Monday made me so appreciative for Saturday’s stellar run- my success made the donuts afterward even that much better 🙂






Bad runs are just as important, if not more important than the good runs.  They are rich learning experiences, and often humbling moments.  If you only ever experienced good runs, you would not learn to how to persevere in the face of obstacles, and you would never recognize the truly good runs.  Learn from your mistakes so you can enjoy your successes, that’s why you need to experience bad runs.


Happy running,




Week 8 Boston Training


Monday: Tempo (10 with 6@HMP).  Day’s total: 10.04

  • AM: Tempo Run.  What a terrible run! I started this run with nothing in my tank but I thought I’d be able to push through.  My splits started fast and just went downhill: 6:47, 6:55, 7:01, 7:04, 7:12, 7:23.  Woof.


Tuesday: EZ 7. Day’s total: 7.16mi, 7:45 pace

  • AM:  Much better run today.  Initially thought that I should try my tempo again, but instead opted for an easy run.  Kate joined me again this morning for a beautiful couple of sunrise miles.



  • PM:  Barre Class.  We did lots of inner thighs today plus abs which was much needed!


Wednesday: Speed (2x15min @HMP).  Day’s total: 8.25

  • With the threat of a storm in the evening, I was afraid speed would be canceled so I opted for a treadmill workout.  After a two-mile warmup, I covered 2.25 miles in my first set (6:40 avg), then a brief break, before going for 2.35 miles for the second set (6:23 avg) and a nice cool down.


Thursday: XT/Rest. Day’s total = 0 mi.

  • AM: Went back to Buddha Burn for another great class!


Friday: EZ 7 + November Project.  Day’s total = 9.21, 7:49 pace

  • AM: November Project.  A burpee and tricep dip pyramid: start with 1 dip, run to the other side, do 1 burpee, run back and now do 2 dips… etc.  I got up to 12 before they told us to start counting back down.
  • AM #2: Run home.  Started slow and picked it up, just needed to shake off the burpees I guess.


Saturday: 18 w 2×5 mi @MP.  Day’s total: 18.18, 7:34 pace

  • What a great run!  First set: 7:32, 7:38, 7:17, 7:18, 7:24. Took a break for a few miles and dropped it to the 7:40s-7:50s before hitting the second set. I felt GREAT and flew through the others: 7:03, 7:25, 7:06, 7:15, 7:09.  Went out for some vegan donuts after with the Wegan Crew



Sunday: EZ 6.  Day’s total: 5.27, 8:16 pace

  • AM:  Forced myself to be slow and only went 5ish because I knew I was going to be over mileage for the week.
  • PM: Was going to do yoga, but since the day was so beautiful I ended up being out all day walking/biking/patio-ing.  Ended up going with a friend to get a massage at an Asian Foot Spa place instead.


Week’s total:  Planned: 56. Actual 58.11

Up and down week in terms of my feelings about my training, but it ended on a high note with a kick-ass long run.

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Pete B

You have a good perspective on “bad” runs. By using them as a learning experience we can hopefully avoid the things that lead to them in the first place so that on race day we are primed for success. Also, I’ve found it’s not always essential to nail training splits perfectly. Even if I’m running an 8:30/mile pace but for some reason it feels like a 7:30/mile effort it gets me to pretty much same place fitness-wise on race day as if my Garmin had shown 7:30.