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What to Do When Training Goes Wrong

Sometimes you look at the next training session and you ask yourself; “how am I going to get through that?”.

This could be in part due to either mental or physical fatigue.



Becoming a better athlete depends on physical improvements; the type & volume of training, improved technique. But it also depends on your understanding of your own body which affords you the ability to know when to “hold back” or when to “push on”.

This understanding helps us make those individual decisions which will lead to the all important improvements. But it isn’t easy as there are no manuals to explain your specifics feelings and what to do. It is a constant learning process and one of the hard parts, it is rare to have a re-occurrence of the same experience.

However, talking with other athletes after training or during your training camp, you will be able to share those experiences and help each other. We’ve highlighted some of these shared experiences from seasoned athletes.


Training sessions are not programmed to break you. They are an opportunity to improve.

This requires an honest approach from anyone. Make excuses to yourself, or kid your self that everything is OK will not help. Evaluating your behaviour with complete honesty is key to how successful you will become.

If your training is not going as planned, see it as an opportunity to improve. Find ways to move it forward. If you are exposed to a new exercise or asked to repeat something you find difficult, embrace it and immediately see it as a hurdle to jump over.

Demonstrating to yourself you can improve whilst completing these tasks will take you further than just repeating the ones you can already do with your eyes closed.





A small niggle?

Small, uncomfortable niggles could lead to a series injury and some are not. Remember the TV commentator who would say that the player, after receiving the “magic sponge” treatment, has got up and he’s running it off.

The player in question is testing things to see if he can continue to play.

Your usual default may be “push-on regardless” or even “I’ll sit out the whole session, just in case”. But knowing firstly what your mental approach is and secondly the best route for that particular day will help you find the best route.


Follow the players lead.

In our example, the player gives it 10 – 15 minutes to see how they feel. Normally, this length of time will determine what you should be doing. We talked to quite a few athletes who didn’t want to start the session, or as soon as they started, they wanted to stop. Those who usually went through the 15 minute mark commented how rewarding they felt the session.



Understanding what has led to this

What do you do if, after 15 minutes, things are just not happening for you? The best rule is to evaluate what was been going on in your life the previous week. You’ll probably need to consult your training diary to refresh your mind on those non-training comments; about your hydration, nutrition, life-style, sleep patterns etc.

This is a great opportunity to see patterns in your life that could lead you to this point and help you make decisions in the future

We lose more training time through injury and illness than any other reason
Through our experiences and with talking to athletes from other sports, it is clear that injuries and illnesses are the 2 big reasons for lose of training time. Too much time lost and you’ll be standing behind the start line instead of on the start line with everyone else. 1 day lost will not make the difference between winning and losing.


How do you feel if, or when, you take a day off?

This is quite an important question to ask yourself. Do you judge yourself as a super-hero if you’ve pushed through a session; if you’ve missed a session, do you look in the mirror and hurl abuse at yourself? These typical responses could lead to too much time lost and therefore a lack of performance when you need it most 


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