Training & Emotions
Have you ever had days in the gym when you’re on top form, you get your PB deadlift, you run your fasted or longest distance or you simply have the most energetic session leaving your training on a high?! But then suddenly you have a day where even deadlifting 50% of your 1RM seems a battle or you can’t complete that 10k run you know your body can do?… Yup me too. I recently figured out it was because I was emotionally charged and let that rule my mind.
2 Emotional Outbursts whilst training!
I’ve recently had 2 emotionally draining sessions, one whilst I was in Thailand climbing up the the Big Buddha in Phuket (a 4.4km uphill climb) and then when I did my first ever 10k run 2 weeks ago.
So, my Big Buddha climb was my 4th one in 6 weeks (I went to a fitness camp, I’m not mad honestly)… and with each climb I’d managed to reduced my previous time… And I had no idea this climb would be any different… but it was! Actually getting up that hill I felt heavy, my body was tired, my head felt cloudy, I was breathing heavier and it felt hard to keep up momentum. And I burst into tears as I saw the entrance to the Big Buddha at the top… Why?
Initially I didn’t understand, but it turns out there were a couple of things deep in my mind that came to the forefront during the 45 minute or so hike 1) I was leaving S.E Asia after nearly 3 months of being carefree and happy 2) I’d been out the night before, (it wasn’t a late one and I didn’t drink)… but I’d been chatting to a very hansom man (Captain of a Super Yacht none the less) and it was going well; then he started telling me about a girl he met on Tinder ? from Reading who he was taking out at the weekend and started asking for advice because I lived there! That actually affected me, it got me down, it made me feel ugly, unattractive and pretty much gave me a complex. I had no idea it would affect my hike the next day!
The second was the emotionally charged Binfield 10k run I did on the 21st May this year. I tell you one thing, I was lucky to do it with such an amazing group of supportive people from BoxBellFit.
Anyway so I did 3 training runs, 2 x 3k and 1 x 6k in 2 weeks (which was too much already) followed by the 10k. I thought I’d manage to keep up with the team but I pretty much fell behind after 2k… Again, I just had this heavy feeling which weighed me down. This time however there was no night out, no emotions about leaving Asia… It was simply being completely overwhelmed with the environment I was in and doubting my ability to complete the race. But complete it I did (and in under my goal of 1 hour and 20 mins and with a hell of a lot of tears at the finish line!). Had it not been for some amazing Boxbellers pacing me along the way and for the mental training I did with Andy before hand, I really think I would have given up at around 4k!
After these 2 strange sessions I got to realising that it’s all about your mindset. If your mind’s not right, your training won’t be either. So it’s all about focusing on the moment, but how do you do that?
- Before a big workout, event or training session it’s worth taking some time out in your head and becoming mindful about what it is your about to do. ‘Mindfulness’ seems to be a huge buzz word these days, but actually it can really give you perspective. Take a moment, breathe deeply, close your eyes and visualise the task in front of you. This will give you focus.
- Have a mantra in your head that will push you that bit harder and keep you going. Focus on it and it only. Whilst I was running the 10k, I had ‘you can do this, don’t walk until 8k, keep going’ on repeat in my head when it got too hard. TBH I ran up to 7.5k then had to walk a little, but then I got back on it.
- If you have a race or event, make sure you train before hand. This helps your body and mind shift into gear over a number of weeks rather than days or minutes before your about to start the task at hand.
- Have a goal in mind. I had a goal in mind for my run (1 hour 20 mins) it was a goal I’d picked out from thin air as I had no idea what I could achieve… but I did it in 1 hour and 17! And all my Big Buddha hikes had a goal in mind, (to set a time and beat it) but my final hike I didn’t set a goal to focus on. Which means I technically didn’t fail anything… but my mind wasn’t focused and it was my slowest climb to the top!
When it comes to training or a big event such as a race you need to give it some focus. I am (on occasion) guilty of not giving it my all, focussing on things not related to the task at hand, not having a goal in mind and sometimes giving up completely. But I’m trying this mindset shift; I’m trying not to be emotionally charged or let the day get on top of me when I step up to a bar or tyre, I’m trying to push myself with motivational mantras and I’m trying to focus on my long term goal for my training as well as my short term goals for each session.
So, there you have it… ‘Training and Emotions’. I hope this has helped you (even a little) in how you think when you train and made you consider how to focus on the mindset you want when you step into a gym or walk up to a start line.
Enjoy training and be happy, always.