July 13, 2021
If you think you have to feel good in all your training sessions, think again. Feelings don’t dictate outcomes.
I’m surprised by how often athletes I coach send me emails worrying that they felt bad in a session.
If you’re training a lot or working long hours, fatigue is a byproduct of that stress. It makes sense then that you may feel heavy or sluggish or tired from time to time.
Rather than let it worry you, it’s best to focus on the big picture and what you can control.
I learnt this a long time ago when many of the best sessions in my career were on days when I felt lousy.
I’ve since heard this several times from other professional athletes who have commented in post-race interviews that they were hitting their times despite feeling miserable and wanting to give up.
While it’s great to feel good in training and racing, it’s not always possible or a realistic expectation.
You don’t have to feel good all the time.
Rather than letting how you feel affect you, mentally or physically, it’s best to focus on the big picture and what you can control.
Feelings don’t dictate outcomes. Just because you feel sh*tty doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll perform poorly.
If you get inside your head and start to dwell on the feeling, it’s much more likely your thoughts will negatively impact your performance than the feeling itself.
You cannot directly control how you feel, but you can control things that affect your feelings.
When you feel bad, place your attention on your technique, pacing, breathing, and nutrition. These things all impact your ability to move efficiently and can ultimately help to change how you feel.
Switch your attention from feeling to doing. This change in mindset can significantly alter your state for the better and help you continue to move swiftly.
You’re no longer thinking about how you feel when concentrating on your cadence, posture, tactics or consuming calories. You’re taking productive steps to alter your state and your performance.
Remember, one-offs usually don’t matter much, and feelings don’t dictate outcomes. Focus on what you can control, and you’ll make the best of almost all situations – whether you’re feeling good or not.