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How to Handle a Bad Training Session

Nicole Cowell lessons training

We all have them. A training session that leaves you feeling flat or annoyed. It might start off well but end badly or just be bad from beginning to end. So how do we go from feeling flat and in a funk after to feeling positive on a bad day?

Next time you find yourself having a bad training session it may help to ask yourself these questions to try and find out why you had a bad session. Once you understand the why, work out if you can change it. If you can change it then change, and if you can’t then move on.  Beating ourselves up over something as small and relatively insignificant as one session is simply not worth it. Remember one training session does not make nor break an athlete.

  1. Are you unusually tired?
    Our bodies need rest and without good quality rest we will not perform. We cannot be “on” every day. Admit that you are tired, get some rest and come back refreshed tomorrow.
  2. Are you sick?
    Many of us regular exercises often train when we are not 100%. You may only feel a little sick but your immune system is working hard and you performance may be a lot worse than you feel. Remind yourself to ease off and take it easy on yourself until you are back at 100%.
  3. Are you stressed?
    The body cannot perform at its peak if it is under stress from elsewhere. Stress may not be obvious but it will impact you. If you need a break, give yourself one.
  4. Did the training session expose a weakness?
    Most of us know what our weaknesses are but when they come up in a WOD it can be very confronting especially if we perform a lot worse than we expected. Use the annoyance from a bad workout to motivate yourself to work on that weakness. You can fix this. Through effort and practice you can improve weaknesses. Tell yourself you do not want to feel this way again and work out a plan for how to improve.
  5. Are you fatigued from the training the day before?
    Accumulated fatigue will impact everyone. Unless you are Rich Froning it is impossible to work at extremely high levels day in and day out. Good programmers and coaches will take this into account but you may still feel the effects of a hard workout the day before. Accept this and move on.
  6. Did you eat properly?
    Proper nutrition is essential to high performance. You must eat well before and after every session.
  7. Was the workout just plain hard?
    Sometimes we beat ourselves up over our performance when the reality was it was just a crazy hard workout that everyone found tough. Some workouts are designed to crush our souls, to teach us how to keep grinding even when it is horrible. It’s ok to admit it was hard.

Next time you feel frustrated about a bad training session, ask yourself why it was bad and why are you frustrated. Learn the lesson and then move on and enjoy life!

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