Demoralised after a bad run

I completed the Nottingham Half the other day and feel really demoralised with my time. My PB is 2:08:00 and I got 2:24:00. It was a difficulty route and very hilly but I still feel like I’m going backwards with my running. I couldn’t even get to 6 miles without feeling tired. I had no energy what so ever even though I carbed up enough leading up to the run and got plenty of sleep.

For the last 7ish miles I was run, walk, run, walk. I know I can do better but feel really frustrated by it. I finished the run with very stiff shoulders too.
I joined a running club in January and have been doing around 20 miles a week including one long run and a Parkrun. Is there anything im doing wrong? My dream is to get below 2 hours but it feels like I will never get it.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


  • Don't beat yourself up over it, everyone has a stinker now and again...unfortunately yours happened during a race.

    Maybe too much carbing, hard to say but either way just keep doing what you do & the sub 2hrs will happen....and smile...smiling helps.

  • TTTT ✭✭✭
    Hi Jack1991, do you keep a running diary? As Hobie says we all have bad runs (and like you mine have been in races) but if you have a diary you can see if there is a pattern. Also you can see that although it feels you are not improving you still have good runs. Has your PR time improved? That could be where you are improving at the moment. Don't give up!
  • Agree with the above Jack1991, we all have them and there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason why, just on the day it's not quite there. Could well be tiredness, carrying a bit of a bug, going out too hard at the beginning. As you say the course was difficult and hilly, so it may be you tried to maintain your pace on the hills too much and that affected your legs later on.

    Easy to say don't be disheartened by it, but there is always another run out there to do. Just stick at the training and trust it will work in the end and you'll see the improvement. 
  • Some on my worst runs have come just before I've come down with a cold or other illness, so that's something to watch out for.
    Aside from what the others have said (which I also agree with), I'd recommend upping your mileage if you really want to crack 2 hours. 20 a week is quite low. Most of your running should be done at an easy pace to avoid burning yourself out.
    It took me a lot of work to get under 2 hours myself (which came in my 13th half marathon) and I average around 1:55 now. My easy run pace varies between 1:30-2 minutes per mile slower than my HM race pace, so that's what you need to be aiming for.
  • Could you just be a bit tired? Have a virus? Was it very cold on the day? Has there been a sudden change in the weather/temperature? What did you do in the days leading up to tour event - any late nights? How was work that week? Any stress at work or home? All of these things can effect your run. No matter how well prepared you are, you are not a machine! You still got round in a secent time despite feeling a bit "off" which actually shows you have a great level of fitness and good adaptation to the distance. Treat ot as a training run - Try another one in a few months - it can only get better! 
  • Also, how old are you and how long ago was your PB? Are your expectations realistic? My pb fir half was 1:42 but that was over years ago - now Im well over 40 and it's currently around 2 hrs. I am a bit heavier but that is also because I dont do as much mikeage now - and that's because I simply need more recovery between runs now, and cant do the same mileage any more. I have had to accept that on 30 miles a week which is my limit, (I no longer have the energy levels for more)  Im not quite the same runner as i was on 40-50 a week, but I do OK for a middle aged mum and enjly what I can manage. I'm never going to get any younger so a PB is all relative! Your age, energy levels, hormone fluctuations, and lifestyle/stress/other commitments all play a part in your running!
  • I've had this happen to me during a race, and didn't feel good. Hang in there, getting better takes time and patience, and bad runs do sometimes happen. If you are feeling drowned in information, I found connecting with a coach for just a few sessions helped me find direction again.
  • It's just a case of not giving up. I went through a stretch of halfs where I was 'blowing up' at the 10/11 mile mark. It was all rather discouraging, but it only takes one run where it all clicks into place and suddenly you're in love with running again.

    What I find helps is not to obsess about the time. Just enjoy the run and aim to finish with a smile.
  • Thanks everyone for your advice, much appreciated. I have taken all the advice on board. I did have a cold like 2 weeks before but I dont know.

    I will try and up my weekly mileage to 30 to see if that helps. My PB is 2:08:00. I am 28 but just feel a bit slow for my age?

    I do enjoy running so will keep going :).
  • MrM2MrM2 ✭✭✭
    A bit late to the party but fwiw I wonder how much hill work you had done in prep.? Hills are your friends...really! The fact that you mentioned 'very stiff shoulders' suggests that there was some unhelpful tension in your body. That can come from different routes; apprehension, too much effort, lack of race experience, need of a warm layer, or basic lack (or loss) of good form.
    Agree with all above comments. Get used to running comfortably (clothing, form, pace) and enjoy your preparations for the next one!
  • Agreed that we all have bad runs - just have to push through them to get back to the good ones.

    Did you taper? I used to dismiss this, but a quality taper leaves you with fresh legs at the start line.
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