So many factors contribute to how you feel – and how well you perform – during a run.
Adequate rest, hydration and nutrition are obvious ways to strengthen a run, but sometimes, I am baffled by the mysterious ways my body reacts to life in general.
Last Thursday, I ate very healthily all day – lots of fruit and vegetables, no sweets, no fatty foods. Maybe a bit too much coffee, but I was a ball of stress and very tired. The result? The most horrible, nauseous, 5K treadmill run I’ve ever experienced. It was so strange though, because usually stress goes away when I run, and usually a little fatigue doesn’t bother me. Not that day.
Then there was last night, which was just crazy. I ran a lovely 9.5K, testing out my new Garmin (yay!)
The run was slow, smooth and relaxing. Not too strenuous… felt like I could keep going forever. It rained, got dark, I was jumping puddles and slush and moving between road and sidewalk, but it was OK. In fact, the kind of “great run” I strive for.
But I was very unhealthy during the 24 hours leading up to that run. Saturday night was a girls’ night and we had some treats, including some drinks* and we danced and stayed out until 3 a.m.
I got maybe six hours of sleep, and woke up and mowed down some eggs and an English muffin, drank loads of coffee, then went out for a big lunch of FRENCH FRIES and a black bean burger. I had no vegetables. My stomach was iffy all day, but at 5:30 p.m. I decided I wanted to take out my new toy, the Garmin Forerunner 10.
I thought, even if I got out around the neighbourhood and did a 4K loop, that would be good… and I could do my weekly long run Monday night. But once I got out and warmed up, I just wanted to keep going. I felt fresh and alive.
The human body is weird and wonderful… you can really put yourself through the wringer and come out feeling, well, pretty good. This is not to say that staying out late and eating bad is the key to success, of course. But maybe when you’re not feeling your best, it’s still worth it to at least try to find that great run.