A Butt Kicking Run

Sometimes a run just takes it out of you.  You don’t know when, where, why or how but occasionally you have a run that just significantly zaps the energy right out of you.  Last Saturday I ran a 15 miler that did just that.  The last few miles I wasn’t sure if I was in the twilight zone or not.  I went to bed around 8:00 pm on a Saturday night.  I had planned to run another 12 on Sunday but waking up I felt tired, not rested and running at that point was laughable.

Let’s rewind a bit. 

When Tim and I started the run on Saturday morning I felt good.  I felt like my normal runs had the previous few days.  I felt strong, nothing ached and it felt nice to actually be running with someone.  Running the week prior had been done very early and solo which made for a boring week of runs.  (It reminded me a lot of last year running early mornings in Oswego).

Long story short, we started and I felt fine.  He felt fine.  The park was beautiful as it always is.  Everything was normal. 

By mile 7 I still felt fine.  I felt strong and we were maintaining around an 8 min per mile pace.  Since we were running on trails, it was a bit more challenging but it didn’t seem unmanigable.  It did not feel as if I was pushing the pace and we were just talking.  I was at a good pace (for me).  It wasn’t as if I was going significantly faster or pushing harder.

By mile 10, I found myself overheating so I delayered.  (This almost never happens and I’d rather sweat through ten layers then take them off).  After delayering gloves, armwarmers and a jacket at mile 11 (the car) we continued.  I still felt rather fine.   We just went out two miles and came back.  While going out two miles I felt great.

Then at the 13 mile point it hit me.  I was completely exhausted…at the least convenient time.  (If I had been exhausted at mile 11 I could have potentially stopped at the car).  The last two miles back to the car went by rather quickly though.  I was tired but I didn’t feel like I might peel over.  Once we got back to the car it felt like I had been hit by a ton of bricks.  I felt like I had all energy zapped out of me.  I just sat there.

Why was that?  It was “only” 2-3 miles longer than my normal runs.  It wasn’t faster.  I had properly fueled beforehand.  I felt fine.  My legs felt fine.  I hadn’t done any speed workouts since the Shamrock half marathon a week prior.  Was it super delayed DOMS?  Was DOMS just sitting, festering in my legs waiting for the most inoppertune time to appear?

Why really knows but once I got home the only thing I wanted to do was eat and sit on my butt.  The one day I had a mile long to do list and I couldn’t muster up energy to do any of it.  (Except if I could sit and do it or it didn’t take much thinking).

One thing I love about running is that you never know what will happen in every single run.  I’ve had runs at a much faster pace that I have bounced back from in a second.  I’ve had runs at a much slower pace that seemed to have taken more out of me.  Running is a great and beautiful thing that way.  Each run cannot be perfect or feel amazing but enjoying them keeps you enjoying running.  Fast or slow I will never complain about injury free miles.  Even though taking a rest day the following day was not what I wanted it was better for my long term goals.

Questions for you:

Have you had a run that completely wipes you out?  (training run)

What is your favorite run ever? 


34 responses

  1. Two weeks ago, my long run was like that. Had to do 30km, but at 15km I was done. I struggled mightly through it, since I was with a group and in the middle of nowhere. I finished, but I was useless the rest of the day.

    Contrast that to this past Sunday, where I did 32km in the cold, and felt great throughout. Lots of gas, finished strong, and managed to do a bunch of stuff the rest of the day. There was some fuelling differences between them, but other than that, not much. Sometimes you just don’t know how it will pan out.

  2. It’s so strange how that happens but it’s normal. I had one a few days ago that was hardly anything, a 5 mile easy run just to be moving and it felt awful. Not soreness, I just felt like I was shuffling and it made no sense, I couldn’t seem to push to go faster and I wasn’t sore at all, I was just miserably shuffling along at a ridiculously slow pace and it felt HARD. Two days later, I had one of the easiest long runs of my life. I try to just accept that that’s how running is sometimes but it’s hard not to be cranky when I’m in the middle of a bad one 😉

  3. I felt the same way during my 15 miler on Saturday! Had cramps by mile 5, wanted to quit by mile 8, and generally just felt like crap. Even though I felt good during the week after Shamrock, I have a feeling that by Saturday my body was just like, “nope.” I’m hoping this weekend’s 15 is better!

  4. Been there done that Hollie! Most recent butt kicking run came around 2 months ago during my buildup to Gasparilla. It was only a 5 mile run during a cut back week but it hurt like 26.2 for some reason. Most favorite run ever I’d have to say came November 2010 when I ran my fastest 5K ever, I was just completely dailed in and in the zone that day. I don’t know what got into me but it just felt so effortless.

  5. Honestly, lately, all of my runs hurt. My lungs burn and I am just exhausted by the end. Gah, I’m totally not a runner. Your worst run probably kills my best. I am glad you recognize when your runs don’t go so well though. Always have to take the bad to make the good.

  6. I have those types of runs all the time…haha.

    My favorite run ever was the first time I ran 5 miles straight on the treadmill at the gym. Felt so good!

  7. I have had a few of those runs. Lots of times it’s because I’m not recovered from a race (I had a rough run last week, I really should have run easy that day bc my 10K was my 3 days before). But… most of the time my butt-kicking runs come from the heat here in the summer! It can get brutal with humidity. Sometimes the spring ones are tough too, because it’s like I want to maintain my faster pace but it’s hard to do during the humidity, especially the first humid run or two.

    My favorite thing to remember is that my success rate on tough runs is 100%, hehe. I saw that quote somewhere so it’s like a mantra I say to myself when it gets really hard.

  8. Those runs are the worst! Last Wednesday I had an 8-miler that was probably my hardest of the training cycle, other than the first 31-miler. It came out of the blue and I had no idea what caused it. All I know is the last mile felt impossible.

    I do know that even a two mile increase sometimes wreaks havoc with me though – like the increase from 18 to 20 was really hard, so maybe our bodies just have these invisible walls for each training year we have to push back? I don’t know…

    My favorite non-race run was definitely the 32-miler I live blogged a few weeks ago. It was seriously so fun!

  9. Happens to me randomly too! There are so many factors that go into how you feel on a run, there’s no way you can predict how you’re going to feel. Stress, diet, fatigue, etc… It’s good to keep it in perspective!

  10. Two weeks ago I could barely make it through a 4 mile run and last week I easily did 8 miles of speedwork. Sometimes runs just don’t make sense. I’m an overthinker so sometimes I’ll worry and fret, but I’ve realized it’s better if I just take each run as they come and don’t worry too much. It’s definitely easier said than done!

  11. When I run trails I generally run them a minute or so slower than I run on the road, at the same amount of effort, so don’t forget you were probably working a lot harder than you thought you were! When I have a hard run, I always tell myself that that means my next one will be awesome. Not always true, but it helps!! 😉

    • Thanks Sarah but these trails weren’t as rough as some! I’m not upset by any means I just think it’s funny how running works like that! Thank you for stopping by. 🙂

  12. This is kind of how I felt this morning actually. Got up to run an easy 6, and by 4 my legs were spent as was my head. I don’t know why, and at this point it doesn’t matter, but it is one of the things I love about running. Always keeps you guessing. And since I had a rough run today and an ehh 12 miler a week and a half ago, I’m taking that as a sign that my half this weekend is going to be kick ass. Positive thinking haha

  13. Sometimes our bodies can’t preform as usual, be it being tired, undernourished, under hydrated, about to get sick, who knows. Eventually you might figure out what did it, or not. The thing is those bad runs happen every now and then, and afterwards you are back to normal, so let it pass, I’m sure one of your coming runs will be great.

  14. This just happened to me this past weekend. Two weeks ago I did a 22 miler and I felt GREAT after! I wasn’t tired, wasn’t extra hungry, no more soreness than normal… but then this past Saturday I did a 17 miler and was dead tire afterwards! So strange…

  15. Definitely. I think we all have those runs. I have them especially right before my “monthly visit”. Tired legs, tired body, etc. etc. Boo.

  16. Two words: “Recovery days”
    There is one particular route my running group runs that kicks my butt every time. Last time we ran it (last summer) it was warm and sunny, and I was going long. I went out (uphill) too fast and was fried for the return trip home. That’s happened three times on that route.

    It’s hard to say if I have favorite run. I can think of several favorite moments, though…

  17. Oh yucky, sorry to hear that Hollie; not fun! Sometimes we all have those runs, and you are so right about running and never knowing whether you will have a good or a bad day, but that is what makes it exciting 🙂

    I actually listened to my gut this week, I was meant to have two workouts; one long hard tempo yesterday, and one fartlek or track workout friday, but my gut was telling me that I am on thin ice with overdoing it, so I backed off and am only going to workout tomorrow. Hoping I made the right choice, sometimes we just know something is wrong.

  18. I guess I can relate on a REALLY small scale 😉 Like I go a couple of miles and feel like I’m going to die. And then other days I feel like I could run forever (forever in my book being like 5 miles… hahaha)

    I hope you rock it next time!

  19. not weird at all. We all have those days! The week before my 1/2 i ran last weekend, I barely could run 13 miles. Literally felt like death. Realized I needed more sleep, so I focused on that the week of the 1/2 and killed my PR by 8 minutes! sooo, all that to say, I’m like you, I need lots of sleep 😉

  20. Whenever a workout totally zaps me, I look to the past 24 hours: have I done anything different than usual? Did I get enough sleep/time to recover? Did I eat anything strange? Sometimes, a tougher-than-normal workout can be attributed to these things, but some days, running (or swimming or biking) is just harder.

  21. Obviously I’ve had plenty of runs that felt ridiculously difficult, but aside from races, I am not sure that one has ever left me feeling un-duly drained.
    I kind of like having a mix of hard and good runs 9once the hard ones are over of course) because it makes me feel like a runner. I know that sounds odd but when you have a ton of really great runs, when running goes back to a more normal mix, it’s a let down.

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