Some Runs are Just Awful

I decided to link up with Brittany. She is cohosting a link up party. The theme is to take an old blog post and give it new life. I chose this one from about 2 years ago.  It’s funny to look back at old posts because my grammar was so terrible.   It’s still not great now but it’s a slow progression.

I think the post will always be important and relevant to runners. 


There is something about blogging and the unsaid need to “live perfectly”.  Most people share bits and pieces of their lives but never the full story.  

When we have a bad run or race, do we choose to share the bad?

When we fail a test or quiz do we choose to broadcast it? 

When do something incredibly stupid that ends up costing a lot, do we choose to share?

Here are a few preventable but costly mistakes I’ve made:  Locked my keys in my car several times,  slid on ice into a police car, lost my wallet with a few hundreds dollars as well as credit cards, dropped an expensive piece of equipment and had to pay for it (the list is endless believe me).  

While this post is mostly about bad runs and races, I believe it can be applied to multiple parts of life.

As runners we are going to have awful races.  There has to be a best race and there has to be a worst race.  Typing a post saying “a race was the worst race of my life” does not add the drama of finishing a race in hysterics and crying. While I’ve never finished a race in hysterics, reading text on a blog post removes emotion. 

As a runner I’ve had some seriously awful races. I could spend 500 words for each race whining and begging for attention.  Yet I don’t because I’ve learned from each race.  Each race has molded me into the runner I am today.

Here are a few that I categorize as awful races:

  • The Turning Stone half marathon in August of 2013
    • Cliff notes: stomach issues and heavy legs.
  • The Binghampton 5k in December 2013.
    • Cliff notes: heavy legs that felt like bricks.  This was my first goal race after injury and I failed miserably.
  • The Long Branch Half marathon in April of 2014.
    • Cliff notes: My stomach thought it might explode. Luckily my friends Heather and Laura made up for that and we had a great time.  I went into the race wanting to win and I definitely did not…but I finished and moved on. 


  • Haddon Hearts 5k in December 2014.
    • Cliff notes: I had a solid positive split and my lungs, legs and everything felt heavy.
  • The Phoenix Marathon.
    • Cliff notes: I finished the marathon and realized a few hours later you are in a lot of pain. It wasn’t worth it.

With all of these negative races I have had positive races too! I’m just using these as examples that every race doesn’t go as planned!

After going back and reading the race recaps and reading them, it’s hard to believe how awful they really were. At the time I was miserable.


As bloggers and athletes we may feel the need to report that every race and run was perfect.

Isn’t the goal of a training cycle to end with perfect race?

The reality is that a perfect race doesn’t always happen and not every run or race is great, good, mediocre or even fun.

Some just runs just flat out suck.

Your body will be in pain for no apparent reason.

You will be unable to hold a pace because it just isn’t your day. Not because you didn’t try but because it isn’t your day.

You might have stomach issues despite eating the exact same thing you eat before every race.

For every good race we have, there is always a bad race. If everything was easy we would all be Olympians.  If you let the bad races bother you your training will stay at a standstill.

Every week I have at least one run that I feel awful. With the summer heat and humidity that is more like 2…or 3…or 6…

I question if I’m going to even make it back to my house.

I question all of my running ability and if I will ever run fast again.

Every week I can guarantee you I have one of those runs.  Some weeks I have 2…3..or all the runs are like that…then I ask my legs wtf are you doing.

I hate running.
I hate running.

Each week I normally also have a run that I’m like wow this feels awesome.

I love running
I love running

Where is this energy coming from? I normally never expect it and I hope it lines up with a race.  Those are the good runs that make me forget about the bad runs.

If you get caught up in the bad runs, then you don’t have time or mental space for good runs.

What I’m trying to say is this…

There is no secret…you will have bad runs.

Being imperfect in life makes you a human.

Don’t dwell on a bad run.  In reality, none of these bad runs will effect you for long.  The bad runs make the good runs feel better. As I said, if every run was perfect we would all be Olympic World Champions in everything and even they have plenty of less than stellar runs.

Questions for you: 

What has been your worst race to date?  Your best? 

How do you deal with set backs? 


  1. My worst to date was this year’s George Sheehan Classic in June. It was hot and humid that day, and I wound up with a PW, despite having a goal of beating my time from 2012. I let myself feel bad about it for a bit, but now my sights are on the three I’m taking on in the fall!

  2. Great timing on this post. I’ve had lots of bad races with way slow times, but the worst race experience (and it wasn’t even my worst time ever) was my run at the Lost Dutchman Marathon a few months ago. It was going to be my first try at cracking 3 hours in a marathon, but I ended up with some Achilles issues. I ignored them, and went out at suicide pace (my first mile was 6:30 – it’s never necessary to run a 6:30 if you are simply shooting for a 2:59 – that’s a 6:52 pace) -I was stubborn and my ego needed a reality check. My body felt awful from the start – I ignored it. By mile 10, my legs felt like I had bricks strapped to them. I hung on to a decent pace until mile 16. By mile 16, I began to run at a glacial pace. At mile 20, I started cursing and straight up sat on the side of the road crying – yes, I did that – and then proceeded to walk the marathon in. It was a huge (but much needed) blow to my ego. But honestly, all of the training and preparation in the world can’t help you if one of the uncontrollable variables is just “off”. Like you said – you might just feel awful or your stomach might just feel crappy. Sometimes you start a race and just never feel good from the start. It happened to Shalane in Boston this year. It happens to me more often than not. But then you have that one race where you PR and it makes it all worth it… 🙂

  3. I’m so glad you shared this today because last night i had one of those runs… I had a stressful and busy day and didn’t get out the door to run until 8:30. I ran about a quarter mile and my feet started cramping, I was out of breath and literally on the verge of crying because I was so frustrated. I turned around and went home and went to bed. I have a feeling I’ll have a much better day today…. Sometimes you just gotta accept that it’s not your day and move on!

  4. It’s hard to find those great runs in this humidity but fighting through will pay off in the end and that will be awesome. Bring on the fall!

  5. We have to take the good with the bad, and the not-so-great runs make the effortless ones feel even better. As you have experienced, the humidity here has been killer lately, and most of my runs have fell under the “not-so-great” umbrella. BUT I’m trying to be positive. That means when fall half-marathon training starts up, we’ll have zero humidity to deal with, right? 😉

  6. I’ve come to the realization that I’m just not a good racer. I get really bad race day anxiety and I just crash and burn during races. I usually have pretty decent training and I know I’m in better shape than my races show, so I’ve just accepted that I suck at racing! It’s not like I would win the races anyway, so doing it is just my way of getting a medal for all my hard work. Maybe one of these days I’ll be better and actually have a good race!

  7. This post is so relevant to what I’ve been working through for the last two months! Bad runs suck! But they’re unavailable.

    We all know what my worst race ever was, 2014 NJ Marathon! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  8. Hi! I found you through the link up! 🙂 I’ve had PLENTY of terrible races and runs. And yes, while there are times when you just physically don’t have it in you on the day, I can also look back at a few and realize it was my mental attitude that needed adjusting. I love the “I hate running” “I love running” photos you used. Pretty sure the dude behind you in the I hate running shot is having a bad day, too! 😉

    1. Thank you for stopping by Carly! Sometimes our mental attitude is what needs adjusting the most!

  9. Worst Race – Philadelphia Marathon 2012… totally undertrained
    Best Race – Boston Marathon 2015… although not a PR, it was a great race to show me just how mentally strong I am

  10. Yep, this post definitely hits the nail on the head for me. Sunday was probably the worst race I’ve ever had, and it was my first goal race in years. Disappointment (and slight embarrassment) were definitely emotions that I went through until I reminded myself that not every race or run is going to feel good. Sometimes you have an off day, or there are uncontrollable factors. Those bad runs and races (and life events) make the good ones even better.

  11. I can’t believe you slid into a cop car! Omg! I totally agree with you that keeping it real, reflecting on the bad runs and learning from them is just as important as talking about the good runs! And substitute runs for just about anything in life!

  12. I tend to overthink the bad runs and wonder what the heck is wrong, or catastrophize about something like a blooming injury. Some runs just suck, just like some days suck and the stars are out of whack! That said, my worst race was entirely my fault because I ran it with an injury and refused to back out, as you read today in my post! Bad move, sometimes accepting defeat is necessary.

  13. I love the “I Hate Running” picture… I think we’ve all been there..

    I had a bad long distance run this week, but I have learned from it. Next week, instead of increasing the distance, I’m going to repeat the same run and just try and finish it a bit stronger. The bad runs make the good runs even better.. 🙂

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