A few weeks ago, an “Elite only” version of the London Marathon was held. On a typical British day, some of the best runners in the world battled the cold, the wind, the rain, and each other to see who would be crowned champion. Kenyan superstar Eluid Kipchoge was the heavy favorite. The Olympic champion, world record holder, and the only human to ever run 26.2 miles in under 2 hours, had not been beaten at the marathon in 7 years.
He placed 8th.
On that fateful Sunday, the greatest marathoner in history had a bad day. He’d struggled with cramping and an ear infection, and it cost him. Even the best can’t be at their best every day.
We ALL have bad days. And for most of us, that doesn’t look the same. Instead of a 7 year winning streak coming to an end, your bad day may look like a 7 day ‘eating clean’ streak coming to an end. Instead of failing to break a marathon world record, it could mean failing to break your personal record in the mile in a virtual race or training run. In lieu of not crossing the finish line in first place, your bad day might be not crossing off ‘workout’ on the daily ‘to do’ list.
So, what do we do when the best laid plans go awry? Well, there’s an infinite number of answers to that question, but let’s break it down into 3 simple tips on ‘what we should do’ and what we ‘should not do’:
First, the “Should’s”:
Now, the “Should not’s ”:
The other story from the London Marathon was American Sara Hall. She had gone into the US Marathon Olympic Trials held in February 2020 hoping for a top three finish and a ticket to Tokyo. And she was ready! Many had predicted her not only to be on the podium, but to win the Atlanta race. However, with 3 miles to go, Sara stepped off the race course, her Olympic dreams shattered. She had a bad day. And dropped out.
Seven months later, however, she redeemed herself in stellar fashion. After Atlanta, Sara took some time to assess what went wrong, reset her goals, shift her focus, and resumed training- and it paid off bigtime. During the London event, she began to run down the leaders one by one, steadily gaining on the best marathoners in the world. In heroic fashion, Sara ran down the reigning world champion Ruth Chepngetich with 150 meters left and took second! Talk about redemption. Sara ended up running a personal best and ran the 6th fastest time by an American woman ever.
Now, none of us are world-class marathoners, but we can sure learn from them when we have a bad day. By assessing what went wrong, taking steps to move forward and set new goals, all the while NOT shifting blame, setting overzealous goals, or giving up all together, we can all move forward and find success in our individual health and fitness journey.