How to Handle a Bad Workout
It’s that time of year again.
If you’re gearing up for a new race or a new workout your training will starting to kick into high gear before you know it.
With the increased mileage, harder workouts, trying new things, pushing your cardio thresh hold, lifting weights for the first time or maybe even increasing your workout duration it also means you’re likely to have a few rough runs and bad workouts.
Why you might have a bad workout – and why it’s ok
Bad workouts are an unavoidable reality for any form of fitness.
No matter how talented you are or how much you try to control every variable in your training, you will have a bad workout on occasion.
Sometimes the reason you struggle is out of your control or not something you can pinpoint specifically, and other days the cause is quite apparent – bad weather, allergies or a stressful day.
In the last few weeks of your new fitness calendar, the likelihood of a bad workout increases exponentially as your training reaches its peak and you push your body further and faster than you ever have before.
In essence, you might be feeling like you are walking a tight rope each day, just hoping to maintain that optimal ratio of recovery with getting in the workouts that you can get through, no matter how easy or hard they are supposed to be.
What to do when you have a bad workout
Analyze your workout to find things you can improve
The first step after a bad workout is identifying any potential areas you can improve.
Try to pinpoint anything you can improve upon for your next workout so you can prevent yourself from making the same mistake twice.
A good example is being dehydrated, sleep deprived or not fueling properly before your workout.
Find lessons in the negatives
One way to turn a negative workout into a positive is to look for lessons you can learn from.
Big lessons, like not starting out too fast, pushing too hard or too heavy with your weights, will be apparent. However, there are less obvious lessons you can learn from if you really pay attention.
One workout is not going to make or break your training towards your goals.
If you’ve followed your trainer properly by following a calendar to work your entire body throughout the week and kept proper form…weeks into the calendar you should have countless workouts accumulated. Having one bad day is a blip in the grand scheme of your goal setting cycle.
It’s easy to lose perspective after a tough workout, but you have to remember all the great workouts you’ve had so far and keep in mind the opportunities you have remaining on your schedule.
In addition, remember that workouts are designed to improve your fitness and abilities as a new or avid athlete, these workouts are NOT to prove how fit you are.
Too often, people use workouts as a constant barometer to measure improvement and compare themselves to how they will be able to perform the next day or if they will be able to achieve their overall goal of losing weight, gaining weight, gaining muscle, overall wellness, re-defining their medical genetics, or raising their cardio endurance.
Never will one performance in a workout translate to how you will feel once you hit your goal so don’t get too stressed about a bad day.
As you prepare or work through your training, remember not to get too down about a bad workout. When you’re pushing the limits, not every training day can be a home run.
Put the workout in perspective, extract a few good learning lessons, and maintain confidence heading into your next big workout on the schedule and go after every single workout with your head held high for simply tackling it with the best you can for where you are at.