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Tips for getting over a bad workout

Not every run is going to be perfect, so don't let the bad ones get you down

You can be the most consistent runner alive, but everyone’s bound to have a crummy training session from time to time. You might bonk on a long run and have to walk the rest of the way home, your times during a speed session at the track might be slower than you planned, or maybe you just feel flat right from the second you walk out your door. Regardless of how or when it happens, a bad run is inevitable every once in a while, but you don’t have to let it get you down.

Pinpoint the issue

There are many reasons a bad workout might occur. Maybe you didn’t eat enough before your run, or maybe you went overboard and ate too much. You could be low on energy because of a poor sleep the night before, or perhaps you’re still recovering from a previous workout. If you can figure out what the issue is, you can work to fix it ahead of your next run to avoid another bad session. You might not find an explanation, though, and you’ll have to accept it was just an off day.

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There’s always tomorrow


You could let a bad workout bother you, but if there’s no obvious reason as to why things didn’t go your way, it might be better to let it go. Just leave it in the past and look forward to having a better run tomorrow.

Talk to someone about it

Stewing over a bad training session won’t make things better. Actually, it’ll probably end up upsetting you more. Talking to someone who can relate to how you’re feeling (your coach or a running buddy) could help. They’ll show you that this happens to everyone, that they’ve overcome bad workouts and they might even be able to suggest ways to fix whatever issues you faced.

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Do your best on the day

Since you’re going to have a bad workout every now and then, all you can do is give your best effort on the day. If that means you have to run a few seconds slower per lap in a track workout or take walking breaks on your long run, so be it. Knowing you did all that you could will make it easier to accept the workout and move on.