There are workouts you love. There are workouts you hate. And then there are the workouts that you say you hate, you think you hate …. but actually…. you secretly enjoy them. Whether it’s the feeling of accomplishment you get as you’re doing them, the fact you know they are making you stronger, faster, or enjoying gasping for breath and dripping with sweat …. you secretly enjoy them.
This post is about the workouts you actually hate. Yes, they may be making you faster / stronger / whatever, but while you’re doing them, you wish you weren’t. You really are not enjoying yourself and wish you’d stayed in bed. There’s no sense of accomplishment at the end, just relief that it’s over.
There’s a sense amongst “motivational” posters or bloggers that you have to do these workouts:
“Wow, I really regret that workout” – no one, ever.
If its not hard, its not worth it
When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.
I like that last one – think about why we you started. We all have our different reasons. Maybe you want to lose weight. Maybe you want to keep up on a club run. Maybe … just maybe … it’s all for fun. I started because I wanted to be able to complete a triathlon. Once that was done, I continued because I enjoyed it. Yes, I want to get faster in each triathlon I do. But actually, the enjoyment I get from the time at the end of a race is tiny compared to the months and months and months of enjoyment from all the little training moments. The sun glinting on an empty pool, mind going into blankness of just stroke, stroke, breathe. Blue skies and a straight road leading out ahead of me. Bruno Mars in my headphones and my legs pounding until I feel I can’t breathe. That’s why I keep doing it – because I enjoy it. That’s why I want to keep going – because training is fun and an integral part of my life now.
With all that in mind – I firmly believe there is absolutely no point in doing a workout you hate. Here are some tips for avoiding that….
1) Distinguish between the workouts you hate and the ones you actually secretly enjoy. Do the second ones – they’re good for you. Try everything once, just in case you actually will enjoy it. It is useless to say “I hate swimming 50m sprints” if you have never tried – you never know, you might love it.
2) Find the things you love doing – focus on them
3) Don’t just stay in bed – do something! If the thought of a specific workout is making you stay in bed and press that snooze button, it’s not working for you. There’s no need to stick to a specific training plan. Change it. Do something different. Maybe a long swim instead of sprints. Maybe get out on your bike instead of on the turbo. Run intervals on the treadmill instead of jogging around your block ten times in the dark on an early morning. Pick something different to do that excites you.
4) Change it up. If you’ve started the workout, and are really hating it, don’t continue. There’s no point doing something you hate, life is too short! But don’t stop either …. just make a change. This week I chopped 600m off one of my swims as I was hating the 6 x 300m tempo reps so much. I did 2 x 300m, then considered getting out of the pool and giving up. I swam two slow lengths of breast stroke while I argued with myself. Then I decided to go for a couple of sets of 200m instead, followed by the cool-down. I still swam further than my 1500m race distance. I still got in a good enough workout. And I ended up enjoying myself.
5) Make sure you enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, it won’t last. There’s no point being super-fit this year, if after that race you never want to do it again.
Don’t let motivational posters make you feel crap – if you hate something, don’t do it, do something you enjoy instead!
p.s. this one’s true – it is perfectly possible to enjoy doing hard things!