A Bad Mile

You can have a bad mile. That’s ok. That doesn’t mean it was a bad run. 

I’ve just completed the first 18 miler of my New York plan. It was only due to be 22 degrees today but it is still really muggy out, so it felt very tough. I even had to stop and walk for a few hundred metres towards the tail end of mile 13, because my body was just done with anything remotely resembling a positive incline. That hasn’t happened for a while.

Fortunately I did some of today’s 18 miles with other members of my club. I ran down to the meeting point and joined a few other ladies happy to keep it slow for our informal Sunday 10 mile route, which is a very pleasant jaunt through Ealing’s parks and down to the Thames. We go as far as Richmond Lock and then come back on the other side of the river. If I hadn’t had some company for those miles, especially around what was the 11 and 12 mile point for me, I’m not sure I would have kept going today.

Why did it feel so difficult? I’ve run 18 miles before. I know I can run 18 miles. I’ve even run further than 18 miles a handful of times! A quick comparison of my training for Rome and New York answers this perfectly clearly.

I’m in week 7 of my New York plan. By week 7 for Rome, I had reached 18 miles but I had built up to it differently – I went from 14, to 15, to 16 and then 18. I wasn’t doing any other racing. This time I have raced a few 10k’s and 5k’s during the plan. Not to mention coming into today’s run with a race pace 8 miler and a 5,000m PB in my legs!

I’m also generally running faster, and it’s the summer. My first 18 miler for Rome was paced at over 12 minute miles. In February. I think I ran it wearing my XC bobble hat. Today my average pace was 11 minute miles flat, and it’s currently 25 degrees out with nearly 60% humidity. Of course it feels harder!


I guess perception of the distance is a factor as well. When you’re marathon training you start to view a 10 mile run as an easy ask, and you can forget that 18 miles is really a bloody long way!

Initially I had today’s run down as awful mainly because I had to stop and walk, which always annoys me. However according to my splits I actually only walked for about 2 minutes and that was really my only slow mile – the others were all within pace and absolutely fine.

You can have a bad mile. That’s ok. It doesn’t mean it was a bad run.

You can only ever run the mile you’re in, and that’s true in life as much as in running. If one of your miles feels like hell, then fine. Once it’s gone it’s gone – you don’t need to run it again. No run will ever be exactly the same, there are too many variables of pace, weather, and how you feel on the day. Put that bad mile behind you and forget about it.

So I had a bad mile today, but not a bad run. After that bad mile I knew I only had 4 left, and I kept going at my proper training pace and conquered the full 18 miles after all, at the pace I was meant to.

Feeling quite proud of myself for that. Especially as I ran it all wearing a very fetching pair of jazzy socks.

Warning – socks like these will get you funny looks in Tesco…! 

5 thoughts on “A Bad Mile

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