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.