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'Bad' training Days

We have all as those days where nothing comes easy. The key session you have been focusing on all week turns to crap and your legs, arms and body in general is not performing as you would hope. You question yourself; you question your training, and your confidence can take a hit. Whilst everyone has different frequencies of when this happens I can say with 99% certainty that all endurance athletes have experienced this on multiple occasions.


What a bad training day looks like can mean different things to different people however it generally comes down to either

  1. You were unable to hit the time repeats that you should be able to

  2. You were able to hit the numbers/times but you felt terrible

A lot of triathletes are perfectionists so when the session does not go to plan it can really impact mindsets and what the rest of the weeks training looks like.


Reflecting on 'bad' for a moment - Were there challenges in the sessions that you wanted to overcome but could not? did you throw your hands up mid-session and say 'f@#k it, i'm done? Did you put everything into the session but it still didn't go to plan? By definition having a bad day means that most other days are good and when we are confronted with these 'bad' training days the first thing athletes tend to do is correlate that one session with them being a 'bad' athlete. It is vital to decouple these two things, a bad session does not mean you are a bad athlete.


So you've had your session, it didn't go to plan... now what? I am a firm believer in letting those feelings and emotions settle in, allow yourself to feel sad and disappointed and don't just dismiss it and move on. If you are the type of person who likes to unpick everything and look at the why behind it then do this yourself or hopefully with your coach who can provide you with some guidance. It is worth noting however that sometimes the reason may not exist, it was just an off day. Then move on - You have felt angry/sad/disappointed - You have looked at the why - you have chatted to your coach about the learnings - now its time to move on, put that session to bed and take away the learnings.


I have been around many great mentors and coaches in my 15 years in the sport and there is one comment which stands out above all else from the legend Spot Anderson - 'It is not the good days that make the athlete, it is what they do on the bad days that does' - handled in the right way, with the right attitude these days have the ability to make us stronger, better versions of ourselves in sport (and in life). We learn to problem solve, we learn to regulate our emotions and we are able to focus on the complete development not just a single day.


- Athletes have a tendency to focus on the small picture of the session itself but it is important to zoom out. That bad session is part of the building blocks turning you into the best, most well rounded athlete that you can be.


Loren - Head coach at Hurt Locker Tri

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