Stop having a Great Day

Sports psychologist Ken Ravizza gives interesting advice: stop having a great day. Just what does that mean and why does he say that?

Do you bemoan the fact that you don’t feel good today and still need to do a workout?

Would you agree that in life we don’t always feel like doing the things we want or need to do?

Does this happen in environments beyond athletics such as the work world?

If you are like most of us, your answer was yes to these questions. Additionally I ask this: what percentage of the time do you have a “great” day?

If you’re like me, I have a great run about once a month right now because I’m still coming back from injuries. I’m out of shape. Then again, if I evaluate my history of racing, I cannot say I felt “great” more than a handful of times. Typically, novice runners have great days even less often. It can be demotivating.

These less than perfect feeling days are in fact the workouts that create your success. Anyone can perform when they feel good; when they are in the mood; when they aren’t dealing with distractions; when it’s easy. Anyone can race well and be competitive on a good day. Since this is true for virtually everyone, then the bad days are in fact when you have to practice getting good at performing in less than perfect conditions.

On those days your goal is to have the best bad day you can. That is in fact the mental ingredient that is essential to successful competition. It optimizes your opportunities for success when the perfect day doesn’t happen on race day.

Performing well on race day when you are “off your game” is not going to happen by a miracle. It happens through consistent and persistent efforts in making the best bad days possible.

So, the next workout that you’re not totally psyched or physically prepared to do, commit to the moment. Commit to the next 30 seconds not even the whole workout. It’s daunting to face a long or hard workout when you’re not “into” it. Then, commit to the next 30 seconds, the next repeat, the next mile. Do just one thing: commit to making it the best bad day possible.

When you’re done learn from it. Tune in to how you did it, what you did, and what you told yourself along the way. If it wasn’t very successful – learn from that too! These are the thought patterns to avoid on the less than perfect race day – you know they don’t work! The action you take on the best bad days are in fact the seeds of success on any race day.


About Dean Hebert

I’m a mental game coach, author and speaker. I work with individual athletes, parents, coaches, and teams on sports performance enhancement. Beyond my academic post-graduate work in sports psychology - the psychology behind athlete performance – I am a certified Mental Games Coaching Professional (MGCP) and certified hypnotherapist. I’ve authored several books and hundreds of articles. “Coach, I didn’t run because…” (2008) is a seriously light-hearted look at making excuses not to workout and how to overcome them. “Focus for Fitness” (2009) and “Screw the Goals Give me the Donut” (2010) are two of my eBooks on mental game approaches for the everyday athlete. I wrote these because I believe that everyone can benefit from the powerful mental techniques that the world’s best athletes use. I have been cited in Runners World, Best Health magazine (CN), SWEAT Magazine, and the Washington Examiner amongst many other publications. I have been a featured mental games coach in Runner’s World and for the internationally acclaimed trail running resource - I also regularly appear on sports and fitness talk shows such as LTKFitness, Runnersroundtable and for more than three years I have co-hosted a weekly video series with Coach Joe English for I specialize in mental toughness training. My clients include tennis, synchronized swimming, golf, race-kart, soccer, motocross, volleyball, MMA, cycling (road, off-road, time-trialist), running, duathlon and triathlon, basketball, football and baseball athletes. I have coached world-class athletes and athletes internationally. I have a passion for working with youth athletes and helping them apply mental game skills and techniques to all areas of life. Most importantly, my aim is to have people enjoy sports and life to their fullest through peak performances.
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5 Responses to Stop having a Great Day

  1. Seoirse says:

    I just had a bad day today… well… im really just in the door and wanted to see if you had any posts on the matter. I was ment to go for a 20k run AND as always I was looking forward to it, but for some reason I just couldnt get into it and I aborted the run at the 10k mark… I dont know if it was the thought of staying out for an hour running or im coming down with something because my legs where like I was drag’n two bags of sand for each one. I wanted to give up at the 8k mark but pushed on to 10. Im really p****d of about it. Maybe I should have read this post first commit to the moment or the next 30 sec’s. will know now for the next bad day. 😦

  2. Dean Hebert says:

    And if you’re like everyone else… that next bad day will certainly happen. 🙂

  3. run4change says:

    Those bad days are when the magic happens

  4. Pingback: Bad Warm-up – Now What? « Everything Mental Toughness

  5. Pingback: I Feel Great Today – Now What? « The Running World According to Dean

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