Lesson Learned…


It turns out, people often don’t actually want to learn lessons. Especially when it comes to working out. I find that people have a very hard time seeing their workouts in a different mindset and making alterations for any variables that might impact them.

It’s Tuesday night. It’s summer. It’s Texas. It’s the first night that summer has been really real and even during the warm up people are complaining about being hot and sweaty. You know what? So am I. I’m out here running too AND I just finished riding my bike about an hour and a half ago. Do you hear me complaining? Well, maybe a little, but mostly no.

We get to the track and it’s time for our normal routine: drills, stretchy stretch, leg swings, and then go over the workout. The plan was 2×800, 6×400, 10×100 and everyone seemed fine with it as I explained. Easy peasy. 30 second rest? Don’t even need it, we can do this in our sleep (or so they thought). Then the workout started…

Apparently no one realized that it was actually going to be work and that the hardest part of the workout, the crux, was at the beginning with the 2×800. Add in the fact that now they all feel really hot, and suddenly it’s complete and utter chaos. They all acted like their arms and legs had stopped working, their lungs could no longer process air, and Ashtyn had just put them through a torture chamber. What?

Because I’m definitely out here to torture people.

Oh wait, that’s not it at all. I’m really just a bus driver, but nobody EVER thinks of it like that. All I hear is “Ashtyn made me do this,” and “Ashtyn made me do that.” Um nope, I don’t actually have control over your legs. Or your arms. Or whatever your brain tells you to do after I tell you how your workout is actually supposed to be executed.

If people listened more often, they’d find that they actually like most of the workouts I have them do because they would actually do them correctly and not go balls to the wall from the first step. I so often see people start out way too hard/fast and then get frustrated as the workout progresses. I also often have athletes try to do workouts without a watch. I don’t want to be militant about it, but watches are good for a reason as they help with consistency and can keep you from killing yourself. No wonder it feels awful…you’ve just made the workout WAY harder than it’s supposed to be and are no longer actually doing what I said. The benefit of going too hard every time? None. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

Seriously, nothing good comes out of making a workout harder than it’s supposed to be, especially if you can’t finish it or finish with results that are way less than what you’d hoped for. The drop in confidence as you’re suddenly frustrated about not being able to do what you were supposed to do is also not worth it.

If you did the damn workout correctly to begin with, you’d understand why you actually CAN do it after all.

So, what’s the lesson here? Be okay with having a hard workout.

I have hard workouts all the time, and often feel like I’ve failed miserably – until I consider all the variables involved (weather, hydration, nutrition, rest, time of day, etc.) and realize it’s okay. It’s not always going to go exactly as planned for reasons I can’t control. What I can control is following the plan I’ve been given and trusting my coach (yes, I work with a coach when I’m training for something – I can’t be my own bus driver) to give me directions for a reason. Or to stop me when they can see I’ve gone too hard or am not ready for the workout that was planned due to any of the possible variables.

So, next time you workout, take a few minutes to think about the whole workout before you start. What does it mean and why is it important? How will it benefit you if you do it correctly? What will happen if you try to do your own thing? Factor in any variables that may alter it (heat right now is an especially important factor since it is summer in Texas…) and then be smart. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and finish a workout than to try to blow it out of the water and end up not finishing, injured, or taking longer to recover. Sometimes, yes, doing the workout correctly is stopping early or not doing it at all. But that’s where me being your tour guide comes into play. You have to be okay with what happens and the choices you make. Who knows, you might just get better as you begin to listen/have some flexibility with execution of your workouts…