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As we progress through training, we start to have better training days than others. Sometimes you come into the gym and everything is going right. The weights seem a bit lighter, your pullups seem easier, and the wind feels like it’s only at your back on those runs. These days are great, and can be motivation to keep up with your consistent training. There are other days however, where nothing seems to go right. Everything feels heavier, you can’t seem to string your double-unders together, or quite simply you needed to break up a workout a lot more than you intended to. We’ve all had these workouts, and they can be quite frustrating. So what should you do after a workout like this?
First off, don’t worry about it. Sounds pretty simple, but you can’t stress over one bad workout. Your body is a complex machine, and sometimes it just doesn’t respond the way you want it to. With consistent training, you are bound to hit some speedbumps along the way. The key here is consistency. Whatever happened yesterday is in the past. As long as you show up today and give it 100%, you will continue to progress.
What you can control is what you learn from that workout. There are a few things we want to look at when you have a bad day.
1) How is your nutrition or hydration? Have you eaten poorly for a few days, or perhaps haven’t adequately hydrated? Food is your body’s fuel, and if you put poor food into your body, you can expect poor results. Try keeping a 3 day food log and visiting a Registered Dietician to analyze what you’re eating. There may be a key part of nutrition you are missing on a regular basis.
2) Did you not scale appropriately? We’ve all been there, thinking we’re a bit stronger than we thought, or just curious to see if you can handle a certain weight in a workout. It’s okay to try this out occasionally because sometimes we need to gauge our progress or see if you’ve mentally ready to handle a heavier load. Doing this over and over before you are ready will only hinder your progress. Ask your coach about how to scale a workout if you are unsure.
3) Are you just not as capable yet in a certain movement as you’d like to be? This can be the most frustrating and longest fix for bad workouts. Becoming comfortable with multiple skills and movements takes time and dedicated progress. We need to make sure our warmups reflect our goals, or using after class or open gym times to work specifically on skills you are not yet comfortable with. Realizing where your strengths and weaknesses are is the first step to building a solid foundation as an athlete.
Yes, bad workouts are going to happen in any kind of program. It’s perfectly normal and in fact a good thing. Without these workouts, you’d never realize where your weaknesses are. Once we find them, we can take action to turn those weaknesses into strengths.
The best swimmers in the world didn’t start by jumping in the deep end. they practiced the basic strokes until they were perfect. Don’t be afraid to “over scale” and build some confidence as well leaving room for improvement the next time.