Think back to all your great races, horrible races, so so races, good training runs, very bad training runs, even your injuries... Would you do any of them over if you could? I'm going to start off right now by telling you my answer. NO, absolutely not!
I wouldn't re-do anything in my running past, and let me tell you why.
If you run for a while, years or most your life you are going to have good days and bad days. Sure every runner hopes for a great race day, but no matter how great we train and plan sometimes that isn't always the case.
Every run can teach us, there are lessons to learn, skills to acquire, new levels that need to be pushed and experiences that have to be experienced. We have to build our character as much as we need to build our fitness levels, teach and train our bodies and minds correctly.
If you take away any of those moments the good or bad, you take away the learning we gain from them.
Great runs teach us that hard work really does pay off, they teach us how to love the moment, love each mile. They remind us that life is meant to be enjoyed and running is not only great for our bodies but great for our minds. They help us to love the sport, and love ourselves.
However, bad runs teach us even more. They help us locate problems in our training. They help teach us what we can or shouldn't eat in the days leading to a race. They teach us to reflect on the aspects that went wrong so we can improve on them in the future. They can even be the way our bodies are telling us something is wrong and to change it before something worse happens. They help us to know if we are resting too much or too little. The bad runs are one of our best chances to listen to our body. They also help remind us that nothing lasts forever, this too shall pass.
Most importantly they teach us, to enjoy and appreciate the work we put in for those great runs even more.
In the life of a runner there are always going to be those days where you don't want to get out of bed, but you do anyway. Or the days that you don't want to get out and you hit the snooze and don't. Next time either of these happens, take a minute to reflect on why you make the choices you do. There are lesson's to be learned from all our actions.
Tough workout days. Maybe it's the days our legs feel like lead and we have barely begun, or maybe it's the days we know we are pushing it, but we make the choice to push it more.
The mind is a powerful tool, and the decisions we make to run, or run harder and how we react to each circumstance thrown our way, helps teach us a lot about ourselves. It helps teach us what we are really made of.
Not just for running, but we can take these lessons into our daily lives, to help us work harder, smarter and become more efficient in all things.
Sometimes we get injured, and of course none of us want to be injured. No one wants to have to take time off, whether that be days, months or years. But things happen, even to those who train as perfect as possible.
Injuries teach us valuable lessons too, in fact some of the greatest lessons I have learned have come from when I have had to go through injuries. They not only teach us to buck up and quit our whining and get through it and how important rest really is. But they teach us how to correct things in the future so we don't have to repeat or have something worse happen. They make us more aware about all the running we do, how we are treating our bodies. Having one injury if taken the time to learn from it, may help you prevent many future injuries.
The fact is, if we traded any our bad runs for good runs. We would miss out on all of the valuable lessons and training that come from them. We would be weaker, more prone to injury. We wouldn't have our stronger muscles and most important our strengthened confidence levels. We would be half the runner we could be, we might never know what we really can or could push ourselves to do.
The confidence we achieve in a great run is pretty insignificant when you compare it to the confidence you can receive from a bad run, or one you had to dig down and deep and force each step. Great runs are awesome! But good and easy doesn't have the ability to teach us what we are really made of. Nothing beats walking away from a crazy hard run, and the massive confidence builder that can prepare us for the future.
Taking the easy way or short cuts rarely get us what we really want. If we want to really learn, its the bad runs, the hard runs that really make us who we are, and teach us who we can be.
So next time you are out for a run and things aren't going your way. Remember to embrace the pain , embrace the difficult moments. This bad day, is a key day, this is a day you can learn far more about yourself, about your running about what you want and what you are made of. Because bad days really are GREAT learning days!