Training — Seven Ways to Tackle Tough Workouts #running

running-advice-bugSometimes you just have to do it. That tough workout that’s looming on paper in front of you. You need to get out and do it, but something is blocking you. Whether it be fear, anxiety, or just general fatigue, there are days when you just “don’t want to do it.” It’s times like those when you need to take choice out of the equation.

7 ways to tackle tough #workouts

7 ways to tackle tough #workouts

Let me tell you a story to illustrate this point. As you may know from reading this blog, I have had my own struggles with doing tough workouts lately. But last Friday my friend came over for a run. I needed to do intervals and I was going to bring her along for the ride. We walked out the door and I said to her, “we’re doing intervals today.” She grimaced and said, “oh, man.” But off we went and we both did them. The workout was tough, but it went fine and we were both happy afterward for completing it.

What I had done is taken the choice out of the equation for her on that day. Rather than asking, “do you want to do intervals with me?” I told her that we were doing them. Had I asked, she would have most likely said no.

Many people that come to us running coaches perform in the same mind-set. We hand them a daily plan and they just do it. If they were left to their own devices, they wouldn’t attempt the same kinds of workouts. They’d probably run a lot more junk miles and maybe even take more days off. But in the context of working through out plan, a “coach says so” attitude takes over and they just do the workouts that have been assigned. What they are doing here is removing their choice from the equation — or to put it differently, putting the choice in someone else’s hands.

If you need a boost in getting over some hurdle, let me give you a few ideas that might help. These ideas shift the personal choice decisions going on in your mind and make it harder to say “no” or take easier choices. In spirit of getting in the best workouts, try some of these:

Work out with a partner — there is nothing like a little bit of peer pressure to get you to perform. Rather than going to the track alone, go with someone. You don’t have to run the same speed, but just the sheer act of going with someone will likely get you there and get you going.
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Training — Fear on the run, fear of the run

Coach Dean Hebert

Coach Dean Hebert

Coach Dean Hebert joins us this week to handle a couple of reader e-mails. Here is a question that has to do with fear:

I actually fear my evening run several hours before it, and keep getting thoughts that I will fail and won’t complete the distance I intend to…these thoughts keep coming into my head and I get really nervous. I usually run after work, and during the workday I get these thoughts and I get overwhelmed. Also, because of these thoughts in my head, I think I actually wind up sabotaging my runs. Any advice how to deal with this? I need help calming down and enjoying the run…I seem to be getting so worked up that I forget that running is supposed to be fun!

Sharon, you are not alone in this. I have worked with a number of runners in which fear, nerves and panic attacks are common. You are right that it is possible to be sabotaging your runs; then again it could just be concerns blown out of proportion. Here are some other posts that might be helpful.

There are two assumptions I have to make to put my comments into context.
1. You do not suffer from a medical issue (physical or mental).
2. That in fact you do not have a real issue to fear (i.e. physical safety)

Let’s deal with this as completely a running issue and a mental game issue. Fear is an emotion that is meant to protect us. That is, help us move away from something that may be harmful to us. Unfortunately, many things in life we fear are not truly harmful. Start by analyzing your fear; ask yourself: what specifically do you fear (i.e. failure, embarrassment, pain, getting lost on a race course)? Explore this in detail.
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