Sports psychologist Ken Ravizza gives interesting advice: stop having a great day. Just what does that mean and why does he say that?
Do you bemoan the fact that you don’t feel good today and still need to do a workout?
Would you agree that in life we don’t always feel like doing the things we want or need to do?
Does this happen in environments beyond athletics such as the work world?
If you are like most of us, your answer was yes to these questions. Additionally I ask this: what percentage of the time do you have a “great” day?
If you’re like me, I have a great run about once a month right now because I’m still coming back from injuries. I’m out of shape. Then again, if I evaluate my history of racing, I cannot say I felt “great” more than a handful of times. Typically, novice runners have great days even less often. It can be demotivating.
These less than perfect feeling days are in fact the workouts that create your success. Anyone can perform when they feel good; when they are in the mood; when they aren’t dealing with distractions; when it’s easy. Anyone can race well and be competitive on a good day. Since this is true for virtually everyone, then the bad days are in fact when you have to practice getting good at performing in less than perfect conditions.
On those days your goal is to have the best bad day you can. That is in fact the mental ingredient that is essential to successful competition. It optimizes your opportunities for success when the perfect day doesn’t happen on race day.
Performing well on race day when you are “off your game” is not going to happen by a miracle. It happens through consistent and persistent efforts in making the best bad days possible.
So, the next workout that you’re not totally psyched or physically prepared to do, commit to the moment. Commit to the next 30 seconds not even the whole workout. It’s daunting to face a long or hard workout when you’re not “into” it. Then, commit to the next 30 seconds, the next repeat, the next mile. Do just one thing: commit to making it the best bad day possible.
When you’re done learn from it. Tune in to how you did it, what you did, and what you told yourself along the way. If it wasn’t very successful – learn from that too! These are the thought patterns to avoid on the less than perfect race day – you know they don’t work! The action you take on the best bad days are in fact the seeds of success on any race day.