Maybe you were really tired that day. Perhaps it was really hot or cold. Maybe your training partner ditched you for a dinner date and left you to stick it out at the gym alone. You could have just pushed yourself that bit harder. There are any number of reasons why a particular workout could be that bit harder than all the others. So think now and remember yours.
Mine was quite a few years back. I was really into treadmill running at the time. I always got bored with longer distances, so I tended to do sprint intervals. But every now and then I would get the urge to see how fast I could run a 5k or a 10k. This particular day I felt like trying a 10k. My previous 10k efforts had fallen just outside the 50-minute time. So I really wanted to beat 50 minutes this time. I know I am not going to win any races with that time but it was progress for me.
So I set off and found a pace that would finish in about 49 minutes. Great, I thought, this feels easy and I’ve got time to spare if I really need it. So I plod along and around halfway through … I’m bored! Bored of the same pace. “Maybe I’ll just stop at 5k; that’s a good run.” I thought.
“NO! I committed to 10k. Just keep running” was my own reply. So on I went. 6k arrives and still on schedule and now really bored. “Fine, speed up if that will keep you interested” I tell myself. So I did. 48 minute finish…easy, 47…..still easy, 45…..little harder but fine. “Hmmmm, I wonder if I could just sprint to the finish? That way I won’t be bored for much longer.” In my tired state this sounded like a great plan. So I mashed the keypad to top speed, and away I went.
“Great” I thought. “I’ll be done in 10 minutes.” I think I managed around 2 1/2 minutes of that before I realized I was done. Still with high hopes, I told myself “Well done! Great plan! Knocked off some distance there,” but I was exhausted. The last few kilometers were horrible. I longed for that bored feeling. My legs were weak, my lungs and heart playing catch up and I was getting more demoralized with every stride. I had to slow my pace down so much that I lost most of the time I had made up. I crawled over the 10k line at around 47 minutes.
There is a point to this story. I learned a lot from that run. Here are some great quotes to help summarize what I learned.
“Shoot for the moon, because even if you miss you miss, you’ll land in the stars.”
– Les Brown
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
– Winston Churchill
“Don’t run like an idiot Tom”
Think back to your own toughest workout. Now ask yourself, “If I work out today, will it be as tough as that tough workout?”
What can you take from it? What can you learn from it? How would you do it differently this time? Did you need to pace yourself better? Did you eat enough prior to starting? Did you have the right clothing or equipment? Did you have the right mental approach?
You can always learn from your actions. You can often learn the most from your mistakes. So get going, make mistakes and grow from them!
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