We like to keep it positive around here (sickeningly so, some might argue). But there’s a dark reality of distance running that, if it hasn’t smacked you in the face yet, might be just around the corner.
I’m talking about when you have a race so bad that in the lowest moment, you tell yourself (and completely believe) some variation of the following theme:
As soon as I get through this, I’m going to quit running. For real, this time.
I’ve personally retired from running a good three or four times in my head. And I’ve heard the same from many others, including my podcast co-host Doug, who emailed me after a 50K last month with his own version of the “I quit” story:
… I fell apart. 3 miles of some of the lowest running moments I’ve ever had. Thought very seriously about dropping, quitting the streak, and taking the rest of the year off from running.
Even when it’s only the outcome of a race that’s so disappointing (as distinct from the physical pain) the urge to hang up the racing flats shows up as a way to forget about the failure.
When I was training to qualify for Boston, my mindset with each race I entered was, “This is the one.” But five times in a row, it wasn’t — even when I ran a PR each time, it wasn’t good enough to get to Beantown. That hurt, and the pain once prompted me to take six months off from any running at all.
And yet, we always find our way back.
Doug is running a 50-miler this weekend, just three weeks after his disaster. And I qualified for Boston on attempt Number 6, after Number 5 left me injured and more disheartened than ever.
So what it is that brings us back every time we say (and mean) that we’re done? What is it about running for us, football for Brett Favre, and hip-hop for Jay-Z? (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Perhaps it all makes perfect sense: Maybe, just maybe, if running weren’t sometimes so painful as to make us want to quit, we wouldn’t do it at all.
That’s our topic for this episode of NMA Radio; I hope you enjoy it.
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Here’s what we talk about in this episode:
- The 30-Day Juicing Challenge (2:00)
- Pros and cons of cleanses (13:00)
- When a race goes terribly wrong: Doug’s story (17:35)
- How stay motivated after a bad race: Matt’s Lessons from Boston (30:30)
- Should you take a break from training? (40:00)
- Wrap up and Announcements (49:00)
Links from the show:
- 30-Day Juice Challenge
- Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
- Running on Juice
- Jai Lifestyle (Rich Roll’s health product company)
- NMA Radio Episode 9: Ultramarathons
- Moving Forward, Broken Ego and All
- Stumbling on Happiness
- Zen Habits
- What Do You Say to Yourself When It Hurts the Most?
- Finding Ultra
- Eat and Run
- The Power of a Running Mantra