I’m not In the Mood

I overhear so many interesting comments from runners. On numerous occasions I hear runners state something to the effect that they “are not in the mood” for a certain run so they just do something else.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes your body is talking to you and it is then that you should listen. If you have lingering aches, pains or soreness then perhaps it’s best that you change the workout. Not listening to your body can lead you quickly to overtraining, performance plateauing or worse – injury. But, this is not what I’m talking about.

Many runners let moods dictate the kinds of workouts they do and when they do them. They skip that track workout because they aren’t in the mood (after all it’s been a long day at work you know). They skip the goal paced run because they just feel like running easy today. They take the week off from hill work because they just aren’t in the mood for such an effort. And this is where so many runners go wrong.

A comprehensive, well designed, research/science-based training program establishes workouts based on specific physiological and psychological aspects of race preparation. As I tell all my runners, a single workout won’t make or break you but a pattern of substituting, changing, omitting, avoiding or otherwise manipulating a training schedule is the path to disappointment in race performances.

There are times runners simply need to get out and do the work. Most of us (I’ll say almost all of us?) love running. But, there is a difference in loving to run and wanting to train appropriately for a target race and actually do what is necessary to improve. Moods cannot dictate this. Even personal preferences of workouts cannot dictate this (otherwise we will only do what we like or want). But, a Helter Skelter approach to training is a key reason why runners do not progress.

My advice to you is that regardless of your mood – do your scheduled workout. (Of course with the caveat stated above about reading your body.) Just get out and do it.
Three things will most likely happen:
1. You will surprise yourself that it isn’t as bad as you thought and you actually complete the workout. AND you feel better afterwards.
2. You definitely take a huge step in mental toughness – which you will need in your race.
3. You will be a better runner for it.


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 - trailrunningclub.com. 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 Running-Advice.com. 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.
This entry was posted in Excuses not to run, Illness and Running, Motivation, Running, Sports Psychology, The Running Life - Philosophy, Training Effectiveness and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to I’m not In the Mood

  1. Christina says:

    Darn! I’ve been sitting here debating whether to go to track tonight. I can honestly say I’m not in the mood and feel that getting the grocery shopping done would help me more than putting it off. I suppose I should pack up my running stuff so I can go to track after work. Thanks for the timely post.

  2. Dean Hebert says:

    It looks like lots of people weren’t in the mood last night. Sparse at the track.

  3. jim says:

    I really wasnt in the mood last night to run…still sore from sundays run..and it was raining and cold..but..I got my ass out there and ran 6 miles…and actually enjoyed it…go figure

  4. Justine says:

    I love this post so much I may print it out and put it on my wall.

    I feel the same way about food in that I don’t have to love everything I eat; if I know it’s what my body needs when my body needs it, well, I can eat it and move on. For example,
    I don’t love milk, but I easily drink a cold glass after my run, knowing it will help my body recover.

  5. Mark says:

    Usually i like to run but it is hard to get motivation to run when it is hundred degrees. Anyone got good idea how to run in the heat?

    • Dean Hebert says:

      Training in the heat is not easy nor is it fun for most people. So, it is difficult.. let’s admit that up front. However, the best athletes find ways TO DO something as opposed to avoiding it or making excuses.

      The key is to acclimate to the heat gradually. It will become easier… but never easy.

      My best approach is to run when it’s the heat of the day… from Feb. onward. That way down here in AZ you start running when the highs are in the 70s. In March it moves to 80s. April moves upward to the first 90 degree days. And May we usually see the first 100 degree days.

      If you make the mistake of avoiding the heat early on… you will suffer more later. But event that being said, within 2-3 weeks most adaptations have occurred and you’ll be handling it all much better. There is no easy what to get there though… just gotta do it.

      Stay hydrated all day and don’t wait to drink right before or just right after runs. It’s an all day affair.

  6. Mark says:

    Usually i don’t mind running and almost everyday i like to do it but i have found it is hard to run when i am running the same 1mile and half and really want to push myself to a 5k but i just can’t get the motivation to do it.

    • Dean Hebert says:

      The key is not to be impatient… take it one day.. one workout and one step at a time. Just run. The workouts will come. Confidence comes from success… build on the small successes.

  7. Mark says:

    Well i am going to continue to try to run 1.5 miles to 2 miles a day in the heat and increase until i think i can run with ease. But am going to change up my play list on my mp3 player

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s