TT: What I Learned From My Worst Race

Next week’s topic is What did you learn from your worst race?

Ok, I am a week early again.  But I already posted last week about What I learned from my Best race.

Obviously, runners may disagree on the definition of a “bad” race.  It could have been a DNF, one that resulted in a injury, one with PW or just one that didn’t go as planned (re: finish time, weather, etc.)

I am going to talk about my Worst Half Marathon:

I cite this one as my worst not because it was a PW but it was a race that I was the most disappointed afterwards.

Santa Clarita HM (in CA) – Nov 2011

Here is what I learned from that race:

  • Over training is worse than under training.

2011 was the first year that I ran the half marathon distance and for this race, I really wanted to PR.

As part of my training runs, I ran a 13 mile run and also a half marathon.

Instead of being better prepared, my legs felt tired.

  • For Race-cations, bring clothes for all temps and weather conditions.

I checked the forecast before I left for CA, and it didn’t show rain for race day.

And of course, it poured for most of the race.

Now I always bring a poncho to at least stay dry while waiting for the race to start.

  • The goal for the race should NOT only be to get a PR.

Because that was my only goal, when I realized that it wasn’t possible, I gave up on doing my best.

The good news is that that was the first and last time that I’ve had a goal of PR for a half marathon.

My goal is now to enjoy the experience, do my best and finish uninjured.  As a result, I don’t get as disappointed.

  • Mental Preparation is just as important as physical.

When the weather turned out to be miserable, I mentally prepared myself for a bad race… and so I had one.

I thought it never rained in southern California

I have had rainy half marathons after that but I’ve changed my outlook – “It is what it is” and “maybe I’ll get to the finish line faster.”

before the Brooklyn HM… it was one of my better half marathons

  • After a disappointing race, move on and sign up for another.

or have a drink. LOL

the best Bloody Mary in LA – it helped us forget that race

I didn’t give up on half marathons after that race… I’ve run almost 50 more.

I’ve learned to always race with a smile (no mater what.)

  • Even in your “worst” race, there are positives.  Look for them. Savor them.

I ran the race with the sister of my good high school friend.

I visited many sites in LA and Santa Monica and also met up with two former students who had moved here.

Happy Running! What have you learned from your “worst” race? Please share. 


Since today is Tuesday, I’m linking up with Zenaida and Kim (Kooky Runner).

I’m also linking up here:

with co-hosts Coach Debbie RunsConfessions of a Mother RunnerMile by MileRuns with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running.

28 thoughts on “TT: What I Learned From My Worst Race

  1. I learned from my worst race that the most important thing is to always have fun. What a waste, to train for and run a race and have it go bad, right? Might as well salvage the experience! Sounds like you get it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I learned from my worst race that I need to have structured training! My preparation for my first marathon was laughable… no wonder it took me nearly 5 hours to finish.
    And a great tip about bringing all the clothes for race-cations. Last weekend, it wouldn’t have hurt to bring more warm clothes with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree, there’s always a lesson (if not several) to be learned from bad races. I think smiling is huge! It not only can up your attitude but can help others to smile as well (and give them a positive boost). I always remind myself to be grateful in the moment(s) because there are many others who are sidelined & would gladly trade places with my “bad” situation in my running shoes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • exactly especially since we have all had injuries that prevented us from running. This race was before any injuries. Definitely have changed my attitude since then.


    • I never thought about it but you may be right. Bad races are learning experiences and help you have good races. There are always positives but sometimes it’s hard to see them at first.


  4. I totally agree. But, in my experience, I noticed that after a bad race there is always a good race!
    The most important lesson learned is not to put pressure to ourselves, we must have fun and enjoy the route and the atmosphere, waiting for a good post race lunch with the friends or the family.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think my worst race was when I gave up on myself mentally. I was on track for a PR but then the hills and humidity got to me and I couldn’t stay positive. It wasn’t even my worst time, it was just a really tough day.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Most of my worst races (it’s hard to pick just one) were because of awful weather conditions, either cold and rainy or unbearably hot. There’s not much you can do but just suck it up and get through it. It has taught me to still get out and do training runs in the rain and heat to help prepare me mentally if that happens on race day.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Funny, because I posted about my “worst” race today as well- although that wasn’t actually the topic.
    We’ve all had them! There’s no way you can run 50 half marathons and not have some bad ones in there. Even the elites have off days. But you learn something from every race, so it isn’t really “bad.” Glad you didn’t stop doing half marathons after that one!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. the one thing i learned from my worst race was that I was putting way too much pressure on myself to finish in a certain amount of time. I totally got in my head and the race was absolutely awful. After that i vowed to have fun with my training and races.

    Liked by 1 person

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