If you’ve been a runner for any length of time, you’ll know this one thing for sure – some days, for no reason at all, running is just way harder than normal. While you may be able to easily smash 10-15km on a good day, on a bad day you may only get through your first kilometre before feeling like you want to fall over.
According to Nike+ Run Club Coach Joe Holder, you are not alone. In fact having terrible running days is actually very common and while it may seem completely random, Holder spoke to Women’s Health and shed some light on why some days are such a struggle.
1. You haven’t warmed up
“A lot of people don’t take into consideration the need to warm up,” says Holder. “You need a lot of, especially for running, proper nervous system activation, get your body and brain ready to run. If you just go out and run—you’ll get into a bit of a funk.” To warm up properly, try taking a short walk, followed by some active stretches.
2. You’re doing too much of the same thing
“If you just constantly work the same thing, not only will your improvements diminish, but you won’t get recovery as well,” says Holder. “If you just constantly do base aerobic runs, your body has adapted officially. It’s time to incorporate that speed, whether you realise it or not, you’ll be working a different energy system. You’ll see a better improvement, including your aerobic efficiency improve too as you incorporate speed into your workouts.”
3. You need more time to recover
In case you haven’t heard, the most important part of your workout is your recovery. “A lot of the adaptations and improvement come in recovery, which a lot of people don’t take seriously enough,” says Holder. “They think the workout as just a vignette and they try to close it off, not realising how the other hours of the day impact the recovery process.” Studies suggest taking 48 hours to recover between workouts, ensuring that you are consuming a good source of protein to aid muscle recovery. If you can’t bare to take a day off, try an active recovery routine such as yoga or a gentle walk.
4. You need to shift your perspective
If all else fails, Holder says that you simply need to listen to your body and take it easy on days when your body can’t go as far as it normally would. “Realise it for what it is and shift your perspective,” says Holder. “Say you’re out there already and you’re in a funk, treat it as a recovery run, treat it as a form run, treat it as something where you’re getting some work out of it. Often times if you push through when you’re not really feeling it, it can be detrimental. [Remember] you’re getting some activity done, that’s better than none. Let it happen, treat it for what it is.”