This advice does not apply to when you are injured or need a rest day due to over training. It does, however, apply to when you just feel lazy or you expect that nothing good can happen on any particular day. The advice I want to give you this evening is to always remember that your best runs will come in one of two situations: when you are at the top of your game and in the peak of your fitness, or when you least expect it to come.

When you are at the top of your game and at the peak of your fitness (whether that is a 10 or 15 minute mile pace or that is a 4 minute mile pace) you can sometimes have some break out runs that really get you going and make you feel good. In fact, the less fit you are and the less experience that you have, the more often you are going to have a run like this as you are getting into shape.

More often, however, those sorts of runs are going to happen on a random day when you are least expecting it. You might have had a stressful day at work and you are just able to completely unwind. Or perhaps you wake up in the morning and are running into the sunrise. Or you are in a horrific car accident and are really sore, but decide to run anyway and it really loosens you up.

The idea is that you really do not know when these types of runs are going to come, so you should try to avoid finding excuses to skip planned workouts. You may be tired, you may not feel well, but once you are out the door you start with a clean slate. You do your warm up and if you still are too tired or too sore or lethargic, then perhaps you change the workout then. But first, you give your legs a chance to express themselves. You just might surprise yourself.

Here is an example from my own experience. Today, in fact. Last night was my bachelor party (at which I had a lot of fun), and I did not go to bed until 4:30 this morning down in Boston. I got up at 6:30 and hit the road by 7 am to come back to Maine. I got home at a quarter past 10, and began making myself some breakfast; I hadn’t had anything but water up to that point. The general plan was to eat some breakfast, take a cold shower and take a few hour nap before heading out for my run. Halfway through cooking breakfast, I began to get a migraine. For those of you who haven’t tried it, I really recommend against cooking eggs (or anything else) after you have gone mostly blind.

Needless to say, it was not a very good afternoon for me. I spent most of the time laying around feeling sorry for myself. I cooked my fianc´┐Ż and I dinner before our dance lessons, and planned on running when I got home. Beginning my run at 8 o’clock in the evening, feeling a little light headed and exhausted from no sleep and dehydration (a side effect of my migraines unfortunately), I was not sure if I would do my planned 6.6 mile route or whether I would do the less hilly 4.4 mile route. A mile into the run, I figured the longer distance would suit me.

Tonight, I ran what a fartlek is supposed to be. No structure; just going with the flow. A down slope? Run fast. A car coming up behind me? Run fast until it’s past me and out of sight. A hill ahead? Run fast up it. I got home about 5 minutes faster than I have been running that route for the last few weeks (about 3 minutes faster than I normally run it) and decided I should add that extra 5 minutes. I ran past the house to the end of the road and turned back.

The moral to this story is that I had a fantastic run. I feel so much better now than I did 2 hours ago. Had I decided to continue feeling sorry for myself and skipped my run, then I would probably feel horrible in the morning. Instead, I will get a good night’s sleep and have a good lunch run tomorrow noontime.

If you are sick or have an injury, then this advice does not apply and you may need a rest day. The same if your woes are coming from over training. This advice is just meant to inspire you to get out the door on a random day where you randomly do not feel like it. For some people, those are few and far between. For most people, they can come around quite often. Most of the time, you may not get one of these great runs. The times that you do, though, make all the other runs more than worth getting out for.

Do you have any of these great runs that came completely out of nowhere and just left you in a really good mood? Share your story below.