Posted by: Joe English | February 11, 2013

Training — Keeping the Work Out of Workouts

running-advice-bugI seem to be hitting on a common theme in my last few posts — they’ve been about how tough workouts can be and the hard parts of our training. Today I’m going to take us in a related direction: keeping your workouts from becoming just plain “work”.

I was talking with someone last week who asked me whether I “enjoyed” all of the training that I do. I thought about this and started to answer along the following lines: “well, I do but. . .” and I had to stop myself. Where did that “but” come from. Do you enjoy what you do or don’t you?

The truth of the matter is that we can get lost in the massive pile of training workouts and lose sight of the things that we are working toward — the races that we get to do, the thrill of finishing a race, the friends that we make, the adventures that we have. But all of those good parts can be consumed by the work that it takes to get there.

In my head I had constructed the following reasoning: the workouts are all critical pieces in putting together a puzzle that is a finished race. Once I’ve committed to a particular race, I have to complete the workouts to get that puzzle put together. One the one hand this means that I’ve got a plan and I’m working towards it. On the other, it may mean that I’ve stopped considering the workouts themselves fun and enjoyable — they’ve just become one more thing to do in my life, something I’m working on. Work.

In fact, many people will think of their exercise and racing as something that relaxes them, helps them blow of steam or de-stresses them. How can this be true if workouts are just another source of work and stress?

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