Ask even the most dedicated of runners and they will tell you the same thing, not every run is a good run. In fact, most runs aren’t good runs. Maybe you didn’t sleep well the night before and every mile feels like an eternity, or maybe you didn’t hydrate and eat properly before taking off on a 10 miler, and stomach cramps hit you by mile 3. Maybe it was too hot, or too cold, or too humid. When it comes to having a good run, there are a million things that could work against you, and deprive you of that “runners high” you strive for with each workout. But, when that one good run finally happens and you’re feeling on top of the world, suddenly however many bad runs it took to get there don’t matter anymore.


Going into my second marathon training season, I’ve had more bad runs than I can count. After training for my first last year, and discovering that running 26.2 miles is even possible, this year I’ve set a new goal for myself – to run those same 26.2 miles faster. Shifting my focus from endurance to speed has been quite the challenge on both my body and my mindset, but has also allowed me to figure out ways to end the (what feels like) never-ending bad runs…

1. Take a rest day

Listen to your body. Are your short runs feeling just as hard as your long ones? Are you more sore than usual? This is your body’s way of telling you it needs a break. While it can be disheartening to miss a training day, it’s more important to give your body the break it needs to recover. You’re putting in the miles; don’t forget to put in the rest.

2. Leave the GPS at home

Whether it’s your GPS watch or an app on your phone, every now and then leave the technology at home. Striving to meet a specific pace is a great thing and can do wonders for your mindset when you’re meeting it, but when you’re not? It leaves you in a negative slump. This is when the “I can’t do this. Why am I so slow?” thoughts start to pop up, and these are the thoughts that can make you not enjoy what you’re doing. Head out for a run or two technology free and just run at a pace and for a distance that feels good to your body, and find that drive to push yourself faster again.


3. Get a running partner

Finding it difficult to get the motivation to even lace up your sneakers and head out the door for a run? What better motivation than the possibility of letting down a friend who you promised to run 8 miles with. If you don’t show up, now that friend has to run 8 miles all alone, and you look like the bad guy. Running with a partner has so many benefits. You push each other to keep up the pace, you have someone to talk with to make the miles fly by, and you have someone rooting for you when you want to give up. Running may be an individual sport, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a team effort. 

4. Switch things up

Sometimes a day off of running can do the body good, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit at home all day. Cross training is one of the most overlooked and important parts of running. It allows you to work out muscles that you don’t normally in your runs, and it gives you a break from the same old same old while keeping up your fitness level. Whether it’s a dance class, weight lifting, yoga, or whatever kind of moving gets you going, make sure your routine consists of more than just running.

5. Set a goal

When you’re just running to run, your workouts can start to feel tedious. And tedious runs are bad runs. Set a goal for yourself, make a training plan to reach that goal, and crush it. Want to run 7 minute miles for your next 5k, or sign up for a marathon? Do it. Set the goal and get there. When you have an end goal in mind to focus on, you’ll have something behind those bad runs to get you through them.

Running is a challenge. Everyone can do it, but not everyone chooses to do it. It’s easy to feel crushed under your bad runs, but just remember, when that good run finally comes, all the bad ones disappear.

About The Author

I'm a finance major with a passion for fitness! I've always been a relatively active person, having been a competitive dancer for 10 years growing up, but really fell in love with trying to live a fit lifestyle my sophomore year at Northeastern. That January I decided I would run a marathon, having never been much of a runner before, and nine months later I crossed the finish line in Philadelphia, and was completely hooked on running. Training for my first marathon changed my life way more than I would ever have imagined and I'm already looking forward to a handful of races in the coming year. When I'm not running, I love cooking, weight lifting, and playing around with new makeup looks. I love being a Fit University ambassador and hope I can show people how rewarding a fit lifestyle can be!

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