These Things Will Help You Get Through A Tough Workout
July 12, 2018
I know I've been there and you probably have been, too. I'm running along, feeling the pain and just wondering why am I doing this. In one step, you tell yourself you can keep going. And, in another step, you're like, "No, I can't." And for those of us training on a treadmill, a raise of hands for the amount times you just want to hit that stop button that's right in front of your face.
A tough workout requires physical endurance. But your mental state is just as important if not more so. What we say to ourselves when working out can make or break us. Here are 6 things to focus on to help get you through your next workout.
Imagine the Future
The idea of visualizing your workout before doing it has been a proven tactic to help you tackle the toughness. By mentally going through your planned activity and knowing where some of the painful sections will be helps your mind get ready for it so when you do encounter the uncomfortableness it won't seem so bad. Before hitting the treadmill or the road, close your eyes and use all five of your senses to understand what those especially hard moments will be like and then envision yourself pushing through them. Imagine your muscles burning, the sound of your breath, the treads or road below you , smells, wind, etc. Visualize things you can control so it closely mirrors the upcoming situation.
Today's fitness technology makes it so easy to know where you are, how fast you're going and how far you have gone. These simple stats that you can glean from your treadmill console or a wristwatch can be a great motivator when you're feeling the pain. I know there have been times when I feel like I have cement shoes on and I look at my watch to see that my pace is faster than I thought. That nice surprise was a great motivator to keep me going.
Yep, a tough workout can be painful. But the pain does not have to be a negative. Those aching legs and burning lungs don't have to indicate that you're out-of-shape. Attribute the pain to the positive gains you're making. "My lungs hurt because my cardio is getting stronger." Or, "my legs are sore because they're getting stronger." One of my favorite quotes is: "Pain is just weakness leaving the body." Turning this negative into a positive will have a tremendous effect on your psyche.
The idea of thinking about your 10-mile run can be daunting. Sure, it's a long run but what if you break it down to smaller runs? Like 2 5-milers or even 10 1-milers. Staying in the moment and within that mile makes achieving your goals easier. You can go from, "this is overwhelming" to "I totally have this!".
Repeat After Me ...
That little voice in our heads can be our friend or enemy. I know it's screamed out to me many times in a race, for example, - "Just stop!". But somewhere else inside of me I was able to muster up another voice - "Keep going!". Repeating this like a mantra really helped me dig deeper and push through the pain. The more I said it, the less negativity I felt. And one of the best voices I heard at the end of tough race or workout was - "I did it!", which leads to the final tactic to get through something hard.
Think About The Past
Looking back at your past successes can give you the confidence boost you need to keep going. Whether it was that speed workout on the treadmill with a 5% incline or that the long run under a hot sun that you completed once before, you'll be able to look at that and say - "I can do this again".