Bad training and workout days. Everyone has them, I know. In fact, as of today I am in the midst of back to back bad training days. You know the kind I’m talking about. The kind where your muscles feel tired for no good reason. The kind where neither head nor heart are in it. The kind where you just can’t seem to find your groove. The kind where the second you start you know you’re not going to be able to turn the ship around.
I struggle with bad days because I simultaneously believe that even a bad workout is better than no workout, but also that sometimes you just have to listen to your body and take a break. It’s like a tennis match inside my head in which Roger Federer is firing backhands that clearly say “stop being so damn lazy” and Rafael Nadal, unfazed, just lobs one back that says “I’m not lazy…but you’re the best in the world and I just don’t feel like trying today.”
Sidenote: I am 100% certain that neither of those men have what I would consider to be a bad training day.
The point is, it can be difficult to distinguish when to push through the discomfort vs. when to back off. I have had equal experiences with pushing through and having one of my best runs ever, and pushing through only to be utterly miserable and ineffective before quitting roughly 20 minutes later.
At this point I’m sure you’re wondering, where is the mid-week pick-me-up part of this post? Well, I feel compelled to tell you that I am going to spare you all the “bad days make the good days feel better” and “tomorrow will be a better day” crap and instead uplift you with my own brand of inspiration.
Here’s the truth: Bad days suck. They are irritating and frustrating and generally sap me of my will to train.
This fully embodies the bad training day.
Here’s my sage advice to you. Next time you have a bad workout or training day, skip all that positive thinking crap and follow these three, easy steps:
1. Wallow: Stop trying to convince yourself that it’s okay to have a bad day, that everyone has them, that you’ll bounce back, etc. Instead, lean into the bad-ness of your training session. I mean, really get in there and be insufferable in your whining and irritation. Only in the depths of a good wallow can you really purge your system of all its bitterness and frustration so that you can move on.
2. Wine*: Mostly helps fuel the above wallowing. Also, it tastes good.
3. Repeat: Like cheap drugstore shampoo, sometimes one wash isn’t enough and you’ve got to rinse and repeat. On a simply mediocre training day, you may be able to get away with one cycle and call it a day. For a really, really discouraging day, you may have to repeat the cycle to really get that negative energy out of your system.
Follow these steps and I promise you’ll emerge ready to get back on that workout train tomorrow and kick its ass. Consider yourselves inspired.
*I highly encourage you to have a fully stocked wine rack at all times for when the occasion strikes.