Seriously! Follow me on this.
Between running partners and coaching, I’ve gotten to know more than 100 athletes training for 5k’s to Ultra Marathons. Anecdotally, I would say 80% or more view a poor workout negatively and most seem to extrapolate that toward future outcomes. It ruins their day and stresses them out because they think they’re failing.
It is just the opposite my friends. A really poor, ugly, difficult workout is fantastic and should be celebrated!
Look at it from this perspective:
1. Assuming you completed the run… you did the mileage. +1
2. You felt terrible but you continued… you didn’t give up mentally. +1
3. You probably worked extra hard at that workout vs pervious similar ones. That extra effort will equate to bigger gains. +1
See, there are no downsides to a poor training day… it’s a Win Win Win.
NOW, this assumes you didn’t quit. Also, it assumes you’re not suffering continued long-term fatigue.
Personally, I frame tough (I refuse to call them bad or poor) workouts in the following ways:
1. I REFUSE to extrapolate any meaning out of a tough day other than… great workout. Effort, Work, Outstanding… Mark doesn’t get to be the victim or think my running sucks or I’m not ready for such and such a race kind of crap.
2. I give thanks to my tough days… they make me work harder and are making me stronger. In 10 days (the adaption period) I’ll be reaping the rewards.
I’m not here burying my head in the sand. Actually, I objectively look at my performance to see what factors made the workout difficult. I DO NOT judge myself. I look for the potential factors, make notes, adjust and move on.
My goal is to avoid wasting my mental energy and brain time on fear, self-pity, self-loathing or whatever else my mind & ego would have me wallow in. I make no space for them in my life.
Guess what, it works. It’s a lot of self-parenting at first but after a period of time it becomes a firmly implanted state of mind. A state of mind that has me high-fiving at the end of every run… especially the tough ones!!