“The best thing about [a] painful/difficult/generally sucky run during training is that when you’re in a race and you feel tired, it becomes mental strength, [and you can say] “I’ve felt this way before, I’m fine.” – Natty Light

This was a friend’s comment after I posted on my Facebook profile about how terrible I felt during this weekend’s 11 mile training run.

Now that I’ve had a few days to replay the run in my head, Natty couldn’t be more right. Of course, that won’t stop me for thinking about some of the missteps I took leading into the run:

  • Forgetting the carbs – Generally speaking, I tend to eat carb heavy meals the evening before a long run. Not the case this time, as I opted for a turkey burger, fries, and a buffalo chicken app. Hey, when dinner is across the street from Fenway Park, sometimes you just gotta live in the moment.
  • Mmmm, a frosty beverage – Training for this half marathon has taught me discipline; even when it comes to social treats. I haven’t eliminated frosty beverages completely, but have cut back significantly. This was the first time I went on a run after having a few the night before. I can honestly say I felt it after mile 1. Lesson learned.
  • Empty stomach, empty results –  Since my long runs are usually in the morning, I rarely eat anything before hitting the trail. Now that these runs are getting even longer, I am learning that it’s a lot harder to keep your energy up. On this particular run, it’s a good thing I didn’t come across anyone with food in their hands. I probably would have grabbed it, ran, and been on the front page of a local “Patch.com” article.
  • Pay attention to the weather – Sleeping with the windows open this weekend was awesome. Unfortunately, the chilly morning temperatures made me re-consider my wardrobe. Sadly, a long sleeve (though dry wick) shirt was not the right shirt for this run. Around mile six, the sun really came out in full force.  Fortunately, I remembered the promise I made to myself a few months ago, when I swore I would not run shirtless!
  • That’s a wrap – From time-to-time I experience some discomfort in my right heel and ankle on long runs. To combat the discomfort, I wrap the area with an ACE bandage, which generally provides the cushion and support I need. Unfortunately, in my rush to run, I made the bandage a little too tight. Around mile seven or eight, I could feel my foot throbbing. After stopping to loosen the clip, I felt much better. However, as you know, stopping mid-run can really hinder any groove you may have.

All this said, I am embracing some of these missteps. After all, learning from mistakes and understanding how your body reacts to them, can only help strengthen this training program.

In the words of Natty Light, “I’m fine.”

Have you had missteps in your training program? Definitely feel free to share them!