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Running Therapy: How to Cope with Very Bad Days

Photo Collage Maker_oq9pbXThere are many ‘catch phrases’ for when things don’t go as planned.  One of these is – ‘when life hands you lemons, make lemonade’.  Well earlier this week, I could have doubled as  Alexander in the book by Judith Viorst – Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day! 

For those of you not familiar with this book, it is about a boy named Alexander, who from the moment he wakes up things do not go his way.  When he wakes, the chewing gum that was in his mouth the night before ends up in his hair (can we say choking hazard)… and he is reprimanded at school in front of the class for skipping the number 16 while counting.  The day continues with lima beans (which he hates) for dinner.  Alexander wants to pack it all in and move away.  His mom reminds him that everyone has bad days.

While I didn’t want to ‘move away’, my day started with forgetting to put the coffee filter in the machine, and I REALLY needed that coffee – just imagine that mess.   Then kids weren’t moving fast enough (they never do when you need them to).  It because a rush game.  Fast forward to a starting with a 7 AM conference call, and a full day of meetings thereafter.  I find if I don’t get to run in the morning, it’s harder to find the time or make the time.   It’s a real struggle to find time to run some days.  But is it truly because we don’t have time (well some days, yes it is) or do we allow our stresses to overcome us to the point that we’ve depleted our motivation????

With lots of ‘life’ interruptions, the added stress of work, and crazy end-of-year school and activity schedules, my running time was suffering.  Several years ago, I had adopted the motto of ‘what happens or is said on the run, stays on the run’.  To me, running was more than exercise, it has become my stress relief or therapy session. I always feel better once I am DONE with my run.

As noted in Robert’s post earlier this week, I also fell of the proverbial wagon otherwise known as diligent training schedule.  I have still been walking (and sometimes running) miles, but I wasn’t as consistent as I really needed to be.

big girl panties
Image from

With apologies to Jackey (for the use of the word panties, a word she hates,) I put my big girl ‘panties’ on and moved forward.  I knew things would eventually be fine – but it was really one of those ‘terrible, horrible, every thing goes wrong kind of day’.

For this reason it is good to have an accountability or training partner – whether in person or virtual.  My running partner(s) (not just for safety) are at times deemed a ‘therapist on the run’.  Rest assured it is a two-way street – lots of discussion occurs on the run (walk) no matter how many miles.  It’s amazing how clear a situation can become when you are outside (and running).

Whether you like to be alone with your thoughts or to ‘talk’ them out, the release of stress is a wonderful by-product of just lacing up your sneakers and making the effort to get outside.

So, back to the book about our friend Alexander.  It’s OK to have one of those really yucky days, it’s how you deal with it that makes the difference.  For me running clears my head, allows me to think about the situation and even discuss – whether in my head (yes there are voices) or with another running friend.  It also adds an element of perspective – because that running therapy goes two ways – it’s reciprocal.   On my really terrible, horrible day, my walking partner happened to be my Goldendoodle. She didn’t talk, but provided the support needed to turn this day around.

We want to be your virtual training partner(s) providing support in your journey – mile by mile.  If you liked reading this, please subscribe for future updates.

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