I think we can all agree that this year has been not very awesome. Honestly if I hear “unprecedented” one more time . . . I don’t know about you all but I am really looking forward to precedented non-historic times. The pandemic stress is real, the pandemic fatigue is real, we are all sick of having everything turned upside down. Working from home, schooling from home, all of it.
As a result of race cancellations this year several of my athletes have struggled with staying consistent with their workouts, and some have a fallen off the wagon all together. Starting back from that is tough. You’ve lost fitness, you’re still struggling with motivation, and there still isn’t really a light at the end of the tunnel. This is why I think it’s really really important to celebrate the small stuff!
First, celebrate the fact that you made the decision to do that workout. You got up and got it done! The number one most important thing with training is consistency. You’ve already won the day. Maybe your workout went great and you rocked it. Endorphins are flowing, you feel on top of the world. Celebrate that feeling and use that memory to get you out of bed the next day and the next and the next. But, maybe your workout went poorly. Then what? Well, did you quit? No? Then you’ve won the day! You finished even though it was hard. Remember THAT feeling, and the next time you are up against a hard workout know that you are not a quitter. I am a firm believer that we learn far more in the challenging workouts than we ever do in the good ones.
Then look at WHY it wasn’t good. Are you comparing your prime fitness self to your current self? Are your expectations reasonable? Did you try your absolute best? Then you need to be satisfied with that effort. If you didn’t try your best then try harder next time, knowing you’re disappointing yourself by not. It is so important when you are coming back after time off or an injury to accept who you are right now, not the athlete you were. Also, don’t compare yourself to others. Nothing good comes of that. Remember Comparison is the Thief of Joy.
Is the workout appropriate for where you are now? If you have been off for 6 months and you jump back into hour long runs or bike rides at your old FTP settings you’re doing something you’re not ready for. Start back slow and easy, a round of fitness testing to gauge where you are at is very beneficial.
So you tried your hardest, your expectations were reasonable, the workout was appropriate and it still didn’t go well. Did you get enough sleep last night? How was your nutrition yesterday? How was your fueling for the workout? How are your stress levels? There are 101 different factors that can influence a workout. By keeping notes on your workouts your can start to look for patterns and make changes to improve your performance. Or did you just have a bad attitude? Check in with your mental game, are you giving up before you even start?
By setting small goals for yourself through the week you can have a lot to celebrate and a lot to motivate you to keep going. Make it your goal to never quit a workout (baring injury, sickness or some valid reason) Make it goal to get all green boxes on training peaks or whatever training plan you use. When I used to struggle to get my swims in I would promise myself a Starbucks if I finished my swim. Rewards can be good motivators. Mini goals add up to big goals. This is also a great time to get a coach if you don’t already have one. Being accountable to someone other than yourself can make all the difference in the world.
Be proud of yourself! You are an athlete and you are awesome! Every single workout completed is a win.