How to cope with a tough or poor training session

Today’s Coaches Corner is all about How to cope with a tough or poor training session.

At some point we will all experience a one of those sessions which we will find tough or perform below par. The question is why & how can we combat that?

Human body: we have all felt amazing but the body has failed to deliver OR felt below par but had an amazing session – but why? This can be a near impossible to explain but look to other factors, have you been sleeping well? How good or bad has your diet been that day? Are you stressed? How much training have you done that day or the day before? The body needs energy so if it’s not running well you could have already drained its supplies so you are already near empty before you start. lol at your rest heart rate on a regular basis. Besides letting you know how fit you are you will get to know if it’s higher than normal which is a little indication to its state. So if it’s higher than normal – either back off the coffee or ease back and either rest or reduce the intensity of the session to allow the body to replenish its stores.

Anxiety & perception: sometimes your perception can affect the session. If you think this is not going well, then you will have a more negative thought process to the sensations you are experiencing during that session. This will then increase your anxiety levels where your brain might say ‘I can’t cope with this pace – I’m going to die’. This is the cognitive aspect of anxiety with the brain giving you negative thoughts. Add in the somatic symptoms of sweating, feeling your heart beat you will tend to give in & stop. On the flip, if you feel amazing then you keep on going. Various pieces of research say that high percentage of cocoa chocolate I.e 70% can reduce the perceived rate of exertion so you push on.

Memory: your memory is key. If you have a low hate relationship with a session – think about when you beat it and this positive thought process should aid you during those darker moments. Numbers help, so if you know you can hold a speed, wattage, trust it and stop that ‘inner monkey’ – (the negative thought) from taking over.

Simple methods: set small achievable targets, such as the next minute, that lap post and then set another one soon after. You can then say to the brain that you’ve felt bad for 5+minutes and you haven’t stopped so such up brain. You need to train the brain as well as the body. If you need to ease back then do so, this will clear the brain so you can carry on. Recall when you completed the session or held that pace. If you do this, then you might be able to offset that negative feeling and get through that bad pack