How to get over a failure aka get back on track

I trained, I was ready, I couldn’t wait. And when the race day came all went wrong. I wasn’t enjoying myself, I was tense and my pace followed. The race I ran twice the third time wasn’t that magical and fun as I remember. I finished with the worst result in years (1h51min) and I was quite down. Still am. What next? Am I as good (relatively) as I imagined or maybe I’m a fraud? After the last sentence you can imagine how I feel. But life goes on and I want to run. Have you ever been in a similar situation? How to get out of this post failure funk? Here’s my personal list, apply this to every failure

Analyze&learn. This is the worst part for me but maybe not for you. What went wrong and how to prevent it next time? Mental part, execution or some detail that ruined the whole thing? When running some things are predictable, routine, like e.g. eating before and during the race, clothes you’re wearing, your pace strategy. Other things like weather or sudden gastric issues are out of control. What you do when unexpected happens? When I got late into pre-race area I panicked and tried to surpass everyone. I was so tense for the first half and then… I just stopped caring? I still have to figure that out.

Give yourself a break In Italy people use to say ‘not all doughnuts come with a hole’, that means not everything you do will be a success. It’s a part of life and although it seems so deep and philosophical please remember that you shouldn’t identify with your failure. It was a moment in time and it passed and you should pass over it. You’re not your mishap, it just happened to you.

Put things into perspective. Will you remember this particular event in a week, month or a year? Maybe but will it matter and will that weigh on your overall happiness? It will if you choose to dominate your life and change your attitude. Make a list of things that go well in your life and list of things that are more important in your life than this event that went wrong.

Focus on next goal Every time something bad happened to me I look amazed at nature. Somehow I expect that the world should notice I feel bad and stop for a while. It’s stupid, naive, but sometimes with all the violence and conflicts that happen around the world I wonder how come the globe turns with no regards to what is happening.

Still, the sun rises and so should you. If failure left you with no love and passion for what you were doing you need to move to the next thing that will make your heart beat faster. But if you still love what you failed at then ‘dust yourself off and try again’ as the one and only Aaliyah used to sing.

In my case running is always raising my heartbeat so I’ll stick to it. I’m used to trying over and over again.

Do you dwell on your failures? How do you get out of the post failure funk?

How to avoid injuries: 4 simple advice

The short answer is: you don’t

But of course the longer answer is: it depends. Experienced runners know what to do but it doesn’t mean they apply those rules. Why? Because we’re mad, we’re addicted and we always think that running will heal everything. Just another one, only 10 km and I’m done.

Runners: we’re different..

Pay attention

Injuries (I’m not talking about accidents) usually don’t come from nowhere. They creep on you, they come as a nagging pain, small ‘thingy’ that grow bigger until it becomes unbearable. Like taxes. But, unlike taxes, you can avoid them or mitigate the damage. Sometimes a day or two of rest will do the trick: you have a tense muscle and if you run on it you might pull it. Or maybe you should change your running shoes but you forgot to keep track on how many miles/kms you run in them. Pain that stays with you is always an invitation to stop and find a reason why. Or at least stop.

Don’t be greedy, good things come slowly

Most of us believe we’re made of iron (or rubber, you choose) and we can do whatever and our bodies will follow. News: you’re not a Superman, if you start running too much too soon you will get injured. It sounds so obvious but we still forget that your body needs to adapt to a load of workout. A small amount of it will make you progress and become faster and stronger but if your body will be subjected to too much too soon it won’t be able to process it.

Small addition of kms (miles)= you’re sore, big load too soon= you’ll be sorry.

Invest: foam roller, massage and maybe a coach.

Aah, investments..they said running was the cheapest sport of them all. But then you decided to run more, race, eat gels wear fancy shorts and have a smart watch that tell you that you’re slow.

To be honest you can skip most of the gadgets (keep the shoes and sports bra) but invest in foam roller. This torture device will give you a good muscle release, use it on your legs, glutes or even on your back. It hurts sometimes (almost always) but it works like a good deep tissue massage. If roller is not enough go to osteopath that may spot flaws in your posture and maybe give you some corrective exercises. Another good investment is a good coach. If you keep on getting injuries maybe someone should take a look at your running routine and goals?

Running is not enough

That’s the saddest and most interesting part. The saddest because running is fun and everything else is sooo boring.

Interesting because in reality there are a lots of other sports and activities that can make you move, be entertaining and even…wait for it..make you a better runner. Cycling, hiking, swimming will condition your muscles differently and will help you building endurance. Personally I consider very beneficial taking up activity that you won’t take so seriously as your other sport. You’re a great runner? Start dancing and laughing at your lack of coordination!

Ok, that’s it. I’m sure there’s a way to avoid injuries but they happen anyway to even the best of us. The art of dealing with it is another blog post…

How I ran 100km with no serious preparation

100km, Race to the Stones on July 14th 2018.

I did it and I don’t even know how.

Ok, I know, I wasn’t in coma for 15 hours. What I mean I didn’t train properly, in the last 3 months due to inexplicable feeling of weakness I dialed back my mileage and I didn’t run more than 13 miles in single workout.

My contract wasn’t renewed so I’m jobless, I had some serious personal issues and to be honest I’m not sure where I’m going to live in the next few months. Not the best scenario to run a race where mental shape counts as much as  the physical one. I knew i wasn’t ready so I had to do some damage control before the damage would be done!

  • I realistically estimated how far I could go and in my calculations it was 60 km. Whatever would happen after that wasn’t clear but I knew I’d be able to go that distance. I thought I would walk the rest
  • I had no idea about the pace so I decided to leave my garmin at home and go for an easy pace, in my estimation I shouldn’t feel exhausted at least for the first 20 km
  • I decided to walk every uphill, some of them were quite easy to run, others were more steep. I’m not shy of hills (at least not all of them) but I was on Energy Save mode

That’s about the technical strategy, how about my mental game? I’m not very good at it and as you’ve already seen I’m quite fragile at the moment.

Very often I can’t separate my every day issues from the race and I keep on thinking about them while running. It wasn’t different this time and some of the kms flew by while I was thinking about future and, let’s be honest, about the negative stuff. After some time I was able to abandon those feeling, maybe the meditation I’ve been practicing these days is really helping (I’ll tell you about it in a different post?

The last piece of this success is ‘everyday hero factor’ as I call it (ok, I just invented it on the spot):

lot of what’s happening to you is a patchwork of what you can do and what happens to you and not all of it you can control.

Race, exceptions not included, is your piece of reality where so much more depends on you and you can make it the way you want it.

I was aiming for a lot, I got it all.

last weeks before marathon

I guess marathon training is taking its tool on me as I’m incredibly tired this week after lasts week’s training (70 km in total). I’m behaving like I would after a marathon: running less and taking some rest.

What is bothering me now are…my teeth! One of those will have to be devitalized, I just discovered that and i want to have it done before marathon. I know it’s crazy to schedule your dental care around my race calendar but I don’t want to be on painkillers on the start line.

How was my last long run that made me rest this week? Terrible. My glute was on fire, I was tired, thirsty and slow. And I stopped like a million times. I guess the marathon will go just fine. Honestly, I’m more worried about my teeth than my pace now. Ok, just a little bit more.

The marathon is in less than 3 weeks and I’ve done all I could. It wasn’t perfect but everyday life is like that. You fail but you have to go on #life #wisdom

Trails&co

Last week I went with my friends for a non competitive run in the countryside. It was mostly off road with some uphill parts. I wasn’t terribly fast and it was only 24 km but I ran all the hills, I drank all the hot tea at the refreshment points and I finished happy.

Today I came back even more happy on my normal running route and I realized that for some time I haven’t changed it. So next week I’m running a trail, short one and not very hilly. My legs but also my head need some change sometimes. Overall I like running now and running likes me back.

not ready yet!

Another week flew by and I have to say I don’t feel any more prepared to the marathon than I was before. It’s going to be my 15th marathon (I think, I lost count) and I still find myself thinking: am I able to run a marathon? I guess you’re always a beginner at running because you have to reset so many times. Running after injury, running in winter, running in summer, it all makes me feel new to it.

So far I’m still struggling to get faster, those intervals ain’t getting any easier. I’d like to speed up and run a half before april’s marathon. Turin, Verona, Lago Maggiore?