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All Your Bad Days Will End

24 February 2012

One bad run does not make you a bad runner.

It had all been going so well. I had kept up with my training plan with borderline obsessive-compulsive accuracy. I was feeling stronger, fitter and more confident. Yes, I was tired. Yes, I had a fleeting and mysterious pain in my left foot, but nothing to stop me training.

I was late leaving work on Thursday, but headed out to run at around 7pm. 7pm is not a good time to run around my neighbourhood unless you love terrifying dogs. I passed four bull terriers, without leads, out on their evening lurch. I’m sure they’re lovely dogs with the right owner, but I did a lot of crossing the road.

The dogs were the least of my worries. This run was one of the worst of my life. It was 5.8 miles of hell and it took every ounce of will power in my body not to stop, walk, or cut the run short. I slowed to a plod, I tried to think positively, I told myself it would get better in the next ten minutes. It did not. From start to finish, this was painful and unenjoyable. It was the kind of run that makes you question not just your training plan, but why you are even running in the first place.

On Thursday morning everything hurt, from my finger joints to my chest muscles. Holding on to the rail on the tube train on the way to work, I could barely stay upright. Even my eyelids were tired. Was I overtraining? Should I have a rest week? I felt really low.

At lunchtime the sun came out over London. Temperatures pushed the high teens. I went out for lunch and bought brownies on the way back to the office. As 5pm approached the sky faded from blue to orange on the horizon. A perfect evening. I had my kit in the office. Dare I use it?

Thursday’s run was everything Wednesday’s was not. I ran intervals and enjoyed them. I felt fresh and strong. I ran an extra mile without meaning to.

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