So you had a bad race. Weeks or months of hard training, all wasted, because your race sucked.
You feel bad, depressed, worthless, mad at yourself and at the world. Your significant other is considering hiding under the kitchen sink.
You worry you’ll never recover from the disappointment, you worry you’ll never get the PR you dream of.
1) The course was too hard: What a classic. Those hills, of course, are the perfect excuse for a bad race.
2) The weather was less than ideal: You know when it’s so hot you just can’t run fast? You know when it’s too cold you can’t get into the groove? Exactly.
3) I tapered wrong: Maybe 5 days of no running ruined my fitness? Maybe 12 hours of no running just wasn’t enough?
4) I ate too much the night before: Those extra 200 calories? Totally weighed me down!
5) I didn’t rest properly: Two weeks ago I had to get up and pee in the middle of the night, somehow that must have affected my race performance.
6) The music on my playlist wasn’t right: The songs weren’t sorted properly so BPMs would go up as the race advanced, how can I PR running to the wrong BPMs?!?!?
7) My training was off: I trained too hard, too little, not enough speed work, too much speed work, too many miles, too much of this, too little of that… as long as there’s something to blame for my bad race..
8) I didn’t drink enough apple cider vinegar, eat enough chia seeds, or whatever else could have helped me run better: This is no joke people! There are magic substances out there that’ll improve our performance by 200%! No need to run hills! No need to do speed work! No need for long boring runs! Just drink this or eat that and go try out for the Olympics.
9) I have too much on my mind: Of course no one else at the race has to deal with all I deal with: kids, the house, a job, painting my nails… come on, they had a clear advantage on me.
10) The stars weren’t aligned right: OK I can’t really explain this one, but I’m sure it’s valid.
11) I didn’t fuel properly on race morning: My usual breakfast of coffee and a granola bar that works like a charm just didn’t cut it this time. It’s science. A different breakfast for sure would have worked better than my tried and true.
12) I couldn’t poop: Just the thought of having to use the bathroom in the middle of the race was enough to slow me down to a crawl.
13) My Garmin was acting up: For some reason I couldn’t get something on the display right, and of course my race was ruined.
14) Those guys with the black tight tights (or those girls in the matching hot pink short shorts) distracted me: OK this one is true! And worth every second lost.
15) I didn’t warm up properly: 2K warm up for a 10K? 3K warm up for a 5K? 1K warm up for a half marathon? I don’t even know anymore. But I’m sure I did it wrong.
16) That sign someone was holding messed with my head: I couldn’t really read it, but it was something about running fast, or farting, or frosting?
17) I didn’t choose my shoes wisely: The Brooks were slippery, the Mizunos weren’t flat enough, the Adidas are not for distances over 7.1K and I was running a 10K… wrong, wrong, wrong choice!
18) My foot/knee/calf/brain/nipple hurt: Come on, something is always hurting a little when you are a runner, why not use it to our advantage for once?
Now on a bit more serious note, as much as I enjoy racing, running is something I do for FUN.
Sure there are added benefits to it that make it a bit more of a serious business, like staying in shape, heart health, avoiding gain weight, etc.
Running is fun, and good, and something I’m thankful I get to do.
A bad race shouldn’t let me or any of us forget that, lose perspective, feel down for longer than 2 minutes.
Now let’s keep on running, and let’s enjoy every second of it.
What was your excuse for a race that didn’t go as well as you wished?