Marathon Update: Bad Days

Motivation-catOne of the things about a long-term, difficult to achieve goal like a marathon is that it leaves ample opportunities to have bad days.  For me and this marathon that can mean days when I don’t meet my goals for speed or duration, days when my motivation flags,  days when I think maybe I don’t want to do this and days when I think maybe I can’t.

There are lots of different ways that I deal with bad days:

If I was slower than I wanted to be, I remind myself that improvement is more of a roller coaster than an escalator that goes straight up and I review my longer term progress to remind myself that I’m still on track.

If I have to cut a session short, or miss a session, I remind myself that it’s a long road and that things happen sometimes and that’s ok.

If I find my motivation waning I go full-on cheesy – inspirational songs, stuff on pinterest, the rah rah sayings on the walls of my gym, whatever it takes to get myself back into a good, positive, optimistic place.

When it comes to marathon training the truth is that it’s a long term commitment to doing something that I don’t really like to do,  for a goal that I really want to achieve.  I chose that, I accept it, and part of that for me is not just doing the training but also doing the work to keep myself in a good place mentally.

So, in the selfish interest of having more good stuff for my bad days, please feel free to post your favorite inspirational songs/pictures/things to get over a bad day etc. in the comments!

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18 thoughts on “Marathon Update: Bad Days

  1. At the worst of my mental health breakdown a few years ago, We Decide It by Dr Steel gave me the strength to keep going on days when I felt like I couldn’t. I felt like my entire life was slipping out of my control, so this song helped me feel like I could maintain control of at least some of it. I’d play it on my headphones and sing along whenever I had to do something that my entire brain was sceaming NOPE at.

  2. Here’s a favorite quote of mine by Hemingway that often reminds me of you, Ragen.

    “The world breaks everyone and afterwards many are strong at the broken places.”

  3. One of my favorite things to listen to when I need a kick in the pants is “Defying Gravity” from the Wicked soundtrack. Elphaba is such a strong female character and she won’t be held down by a society that shuns her for being different. 🙂

  4. I have spent the last hour looking for a picture or video of the character whose only name / title was “Trailer Girl / Trailer Slayer” (actress Jenna Edwards) from that montage of women at the end of Buffy’s “Chosen”.
    Because that scene always makes me cry, and she looks a little bit like one of us. I am sorry to have failed.

    I guess they made YouTube take the plain video clips 8P

    That whole speech is probably on your list already, huh? 8)

  5. “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” Weird Al.
    “A Talk With George” Jonathon Coulton
    “We Are the Champions” Queen
    “My Story Is Not Done” Seanan McGuire
    “The Bitch is Back” Elton John

  6. I find quite a bit of inspiration in movies about oddballs winning out in some way. Some personal faves include: Accepted, The Princess Bride, Bottle Shock (which happens to feature that Hemmingway quote Mairi mentioned earlier as well as a lot of great, classic music by The Doobie Brothers and a heaping helping of Alan Rickman), The Adventures of Robin Hood with Errol Flynn, and Galaxy Quest.

    I also rely on the philosophy of Buckaroo Banzai. To my mind, few wiser words have ever been spoken than ‘wherever you go, there you are.’ It reminds me to do my best to be the sort of company I want.

    Oh, yes, I have this funny way of coming here and reading your back columns. Hey, it works for me.

    And when all else fails, my inspiration of choice is to get completely away from what’s frustrating me and do something that always works for me. In my case, that’s usually getting my hands into some dough and baking something.

  7. Yeah this happens. I usually remind myself that I am not defined by what I can or cannot do. And then I tell myself that I am enough. That exactly how and who I am at that moment is enough.

  8. I have a scrapbook filled with quotes,images, and art that validate and inspire me. I keep it near a pile of stuffed animals and a comfy blanket. I cuddle my animals, wrap up in the blanket, do some deep breathing, and read through the scrapbook. Then I get up and get at it!

  9. I think of you training for this marathon all the time and I appreciate you talking about the good and the bad. Thank you for training for this marathon, thank you for your activism, and thank you for this blog.

  10. Good post as always! Some thoughts that serve me: -Someone who sold phone services in a Scott Ingram group told us one day when asked if he worked out that day “if the sun comes up I work out.” The certainty was absolute and startling -I am using a bike riding partner on a regular schedule currently and used to have a partner to run the Rice Stadium steps (yes, I am or was insane) and the fact that the partners I chose didn’t cut me any slack is very powerful when my want happened to be wimpy. I once arrived to run at the stadium without my shoes and I silently shouted “YES” I don’t have to run — not so slippery Stan, we ran bare footed on the grass all around the stadium. – When I ran my first marathon I asked a fellow runner what he was listening to on his ear phones and he said it was nothing but applause and when his energy waned he would turn it on. – Last one, I promise, I would cheer and applaud for the folks lining the race and they blew me away with how much energy came back – mucho win win! Hugs to my awesome friend……… Stan

  11. I like to watch Man on Wire when I need motivation. It’s a great documentary about planning a surreptitious tight-rope walk between the Twin Towers. Nowhere do we see the central figure wonder whether this would be a good idea, or if he would die, even as his collaborators became uneasy. Maybe he kept his concerns to himself, or maybe he didn’t have any? But it’s incredible that his desire to do this one thing was so powerful that any and all impediments–and pretty big ones at that!–became insignificant by comparison.

  12. Listen to Queen’s We are the Champions?
    Not just cause it’d be fun to walk to that beat, but also to those words.

    I’ve paid my dues
    Time after time
    I’ve done my sentence
    But committed no crime
    And bad mistakes
    I’ve made a few
    I’ve had my share of sand
    Kicked in my face
    But I’ve come through

    And we mean to go on and on and on and on

    We are the champions – my friends
    And we’ll keep on fighting
    Till the end
    We are the champions
    We are the champions
    No time for losers
    ‘Cause we are the champions of the World

    I’ve taken my bows
    And my curtain calls
    You brought me fame and fortune
    And everything that goes with it
    I thank you all
    But it’s been no bed of roses
    No pleasure cruise
    I consider it a challenge before
    The whole human race
    And I ain’t gonna lose

    And we mean to go on and on and on and on

    We are the champions – my friends
    And we’ll keep on fighting
    Till the end
    We are the champions
    We are the champions
    No time for losers
    ‘Cause we are the champions of the World

    We are the champions – my friends
    And we’ll keep on fighting
    Till the end
    We are the champions
    We are the champions
    No time for losers
    ‘Cause we are the champions

  13. Inner geek showing, but I am motivated by dinosaurs. Not pretending to be chased by one, but pretending to be one myself, running through a Triassic forest on two strong back legs.

    Thanks for sharing this post. As one who trains for distance runs herself, I know just what you mean about good days and bad days. You just gotta take care of you body’s needs on the bad runs, and relish the great one.

  14. I love reading your marathon training updates. I’ve struggled with raging plantar fasciitis for more than a year now, having done myriad forms of therapy to try and heal it, everything from shockwave treatments at physiotherapy to acupuncture and chiropractic. Then I decided that the best way for me to maintain a long-term relationship with running (since it’s not my forte and I only do it because I enjoy triathlon and every so often, I’ll be in the mood to go for a run) was to take a break from competing and give my body time to rest and really heal. I didn’t renew my membership with my local triathlon club; I stopped incorporating running/jogging in my daily activity; and I didn’t register for any tris or charity runs for an entire year. Now, I’m not 100% but I can run once a week without inflaming my heels, worsening my condition or making my chronic injury more acute. My running playlist includes songs like Uprising by Muse, which makes me think of you:

    They will not force us
    They will stop degrading us
    They will not control us
    We will be victorious
    So come on!

    I highly recommend this song for your training playlist!

    1. Hope I’m not butting in where I am not wanted, but one of my friends who lives triathlons and has crappy knees has sometimes done events where she will swim, someone else will bike and a third someone will run. Not sure if this is something you were interested in, but thought I would mention it.

  15. Whenever I’m feeling discouraged about something, my go-to song is “I’m an Animal” by Neko Case. I’m even getting “yes, there are things that I’m still so afraid of, but my courage is roaring like the sound of the sun” tattooed on my leg. 🙂

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