Giving yourself the opportunity to be okay with the ups and downs of training is important. No one has consistently perfect training sessions, no matter how positive they seem or how awesome their workouts look on social media. Here are my tips so you don't get hung up on a tough training session:
Shift your mentality
We have all had those days where we are so frustrated or angry during a training session, that we just can't seem to find our way out. We are so worked up, it literally feels like the sky is falling (Chicken Little anyone?) Shifting your mentality is certainly one of the most difficult and personally rewarding challenges to work on. This is also often referred to as "mindfulness." Can you recognize your emotions while they are happening? Can you notice how they are affecting you, and redirect your attention? This becomes important when we know difficult training sessions will come no matter what. Practice noticing thoughts and emotions in day to day situations, as well as during training sessions (good and bad). Learning to redirect helps train us for competition that has uncontrollable factors in play, and to get the most out of a practice when it's an unfavorable situation.
Move forward, don't look back
What has happened has happened. The more you dwell and think about that rough training session, the less time you are focused on being present in the moment. You are not helping yourself by mentally beating yourself down because a training session did not go as planned or as hoped. Really, who cares? Now what? Bring yourself to the present moment. You will have the next training session to practice being present, and meanwhile you need to do the right things now to prepare and recover for what comes next.
Know who you can talk to in your support system
When you can be honest and open with yourself or someone else, you are giving yourself the freedom to make mistakes. Without that freedom, it can be overwhelming each time you feel like you have "messed up" a training session. Find someone who can listen to your frustrations to help you refocus and realize that this is a small part of the larger picture.
Give yourself a break
Be gentle with yourself. I've spoken about this in other blogs and I will continue to say this over and over. The longevity of your mental health in sport, or in whatever you do, is critical. If you continue to beat yourself up each time you have a tough training session, you can bet that your motivation for continuing in sport will begin to fade. If you are good at beating yourself up, then it's going to be a hard path to continue following. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and remember you're human and not meant to be perfect.
Journal for improvements
Always keep a journal! When you are noticing your thoughts, write them down! If you can remember what thoughts you actually notice during a practice, good or "bad," you will start to learn how to remind yourself to come back to the moment.
Just keep going
Tough sessions often mean great breakthroughs are on the horizon! That's because when we don't give into the thoughts that say "just give up," we tend to make mental or physical breakthroughs that we didn't know we were capable of reaching. It is actually an exciting time, so keep on keepin' on!