In an increasingly fair-weathered society, we are conditioned to want quick results and instant gratification in whatever we do. Food has gotten faster, messages fly back and forth instantly in cyberspace and cars have practically become hotel rooms on wheels.
But running does not conform to this mold. Not only does it demand patience and long suffering from its athletes, it cultivates those values in them over time.
Learning to give up comfort in exchange for the rewards of running, which take root and bloom over time, isn't always easy, and there are plenty of days that bring the temptation to hit the snooze rather than the pavement.
Keeping your motivation high is an important part of bouncing back from tough days and rough runs. Learn how to reset your mentality, keep your confidence high and fight negative self-talk when the ugly days come along.
Hit the Reset Button
Bad days happen to every runner. Think of the worst run you've ever had. A few probably come to mind. Miserable, wet, cold runs that leave you shivering for 10 miles; blistering 100-degree runs that fry your skin and parch your throat; or races that aren't nearly as fast as you'd hoped--these all serve to build character. But to keep them from destroying your love for running, it is a good idea to give yourself an outlined "reset button" to put the bad day behind you and move on with a fresh outlook toward the next.
At the end of a rough running day, choose to view the night's sleep as a mental recharge that wipes out all of the misery and frustration of the day's run. Actively put the bad day behind you and vow to wake up with a blank slate, open to a good run and a great day.
Keep Your Confidence High
One of the hardest things about running is trying to keep your confidence high when a string of bad runs or races threatens to tear it apart. All athletes have periods where things aren't going right, but the athletes who manage to overcome this and keep going to see future breakthroughs are the ones who remember that one race does not define a season, and one season does not define a career.
One way to tell beginning runners from seasoned veterans is how much they allow a bad performance to affect the way they view their running or themselves. Runners who have survived years of ups and downs in the sport are able to move on from a bad race without it damaging them beyond disappointment of a lost opportunity. A new runner's confidence is often so fragile that one bad race or even one bad training day can tempt him or her to give up altogether.
Even 10, 20 or 100 bad runs in a row should not be enough to shake your confidence if you run because you truly love it. Remind yourself of why you started running in the first place and that should be enough to keep you going.