Updated: Jun 19, 2021
What is an awful workout?
How do we categorise a good or bad workout? Is it a great workout when we hit certain times after we have had 3 days of rest to get ready? Is it awful when we are training hard, start a workout tired, and by the end are going just above a walk? How important is hitting 'the numbers'?
An athlete I used to coach, Tereza Macel found her best form winning Ironman Canada followed by a fourth place at Ironman Hawaii after learning not to look at, or define herself by numbers. Instead when tired the advice was to focus on completing all workouts she started, never missing one or cutting one short. Instead a new motto was adopted -
'You start. You finish.'
Sometimes the finish may be ugly, and the time a slow terrible time, but is this awful training? Or is it a source of inspiration?
Ask how much confidence can grow by not leaving a workout defeated? Can we put a score on the discipline to cope while not hitting our numbers, and instead to keep going? How many points do we score for telling ourself that consistency will pay us back later, even if we can't see it helping at this moment?
Likewise, our Trisutto Coach Lisbeth Kristensen was another champion athlete who learned the benefits of a no numbers approach. As an athlete and new mum, she had to overcome the little voice that said - 'I can't train like I used to' after missing or cutting short sessions if her daughter was sick or had to be taken to creche. This lead to self-doubt and questioning of 'I don't know if I can still do it?'
However, this was always the subjective side of super mum, as all in the squad marvelled at her antics. Super mum with a baby stroller would run like a maniac through town for up to 2 hours at a time, she'd ride her trusty mountain bike furiously baby on the back and swim short but sharper sessions.
Let's not forget being a mum is training in itself, and who can decide on how to score that? What I can tell you is the score that counts and the only score that means anything is race day. And on that count Lisbeth raced very, very well long into motherhood.
Quality of session or time is not always everything. Sometimes it is just about getting it done. It can be extraordinary what one can achieve when the focus is training to race as opposed to racing to train.
What is good training? What is awful? Like most things, it is in the eye of the beholder!