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Mondays are always workout days in our house. Always have been.

Wes and I don’t always do the same workout, but we each usually have a workout of some sort planned. I’ve learned over the years that workouts take a bit more preparation and focus to get ready for.

Wes had a 20 minute threshold pace workout on the agenda for Monday (much like I did Sunday) and I had a track workout.

We decided to help each other out. I took Wes and dropped him off to start his workout and then met him at the finish. While he was running I did my 2 mile warm up.

Warm Up

After he finished and cooled down we headed over to the track to start my workout.

My goal for today’s workout was 6 x 800. I didn’t really know how quick I would be able to do it. I wanted to start off slower (something I didn’t do during last week’s track workout) and then work my way into it.

Here was a breakdown of each 800:

800 Breakdown

Wes paced me for half of the 800’s.

This workout went a lot better than last week primarily I think because I ran a much smarter workout. I didn’t go out too hard on the first one and ended up running my fastest one last.

After I finished the workout I ran the 2 mile cool down around the football field so it was easier on my legs.

Cool Down

 

Here are a few tips I use when gearing up for a tough workout:

Don’t Overthink It

The morning of a big workout you often wake up thinking about it. Or maybe that is just me?

Workouts are tough and they take a new level of thinking so sometimes we often psych ourself out before it. My husband told me the best piece of advice the other day. Stop overthinking it.

Sometimes you are going to go out there and kill the workout. Then other days you are going to have a really tough time. It doesn’t matter as long as you are getting out there and doing it! Think of it as just another run. You will complete it one way or the other, but if you overthink it you will begin to psych yourself out.

 

Fuel Properly

This is key. Workouts require your body to take it to that next level. If you aren’t fueled properly it can make the workout even more difficult than it already is.

The night before and the morning of make sure you are getting proper nutrition. This is not a time to try something crazy, slack on nutrition or not eat enough. You want to make sure you are giving your body what it needs.

On top of nutrition it is also important that you are focusing on hydration.  Make sure to keep water with you during your workout and are hydrating properly before and after.

 

Break It Up

Today my workout had me doing 6 x 800 meters. In order to get through the high intensity workout I broke it up in my mind.

Each time I would begin an 800 meter I would break it up and tell myself just to get through the first 200 meters, then the next and the next. This allowed me to set small goals and focus on just getting to the next point.

A lot of times we have to play mind games with ourselves to get through workouts. That’s okay! Take it step by step and you will be surprised how quickly it goes by!

 

Don’t Skip the Warm Up

The workout plan I am currently following is very good about always including a warm up in my run. However, even if it didn’t I always include a warm up.

You want your legs to be warmed up. I always try to do 1-2 miles for a warm up along with dynamic stretching. This also allows the speed work to not be as big of a shock to my legs.

If I am workout out on a treadmill I also try to make the warm up progressive so that by the time the workout starts my legs have already gotten into it.

It doesn’t matter how you do it –  just make sure you don’t skip the warm up or cool down!
 

Stretch Stretch Stretch

Before I begin any workout I always make sure to do at least 2-3 dynamic stretches. These are quick and easy stretches that will get your muscles warmed up. These greatly help reduce your risk of injury.

I also make sure to stretch for at least 10-15 minutes once the workout is done. It’s important after a hard workout because once you stop you will feel like your muscles are tightening up.

 

Don’t Forget Your Form

I can’t stress form enough.  My husband always told me it doesn’t matter if you can’t go as fast as you want to go – never sacrifice form for speed. If you have to slow down to make sure you are including proper form then do so. It’s never worth the injury.

The biggest error people make during speed work is over striding. As you get tired and want to speed up you begin to stretch out your stride. The key is keeping your feet underneath you and working on increasing your leg turnover NOT your stride length.

When you focus on form it also takes your mind off the workout.

 

Relax

Throughout each of the 800’s yesterday I just kept repeating in my head “relax relax relax.” If you tense up it makes it harder and you end up losing proper form. The first place you will probably notice it is in your shoulders.

Make it an effort to focus on relaxing your shoulders, slowing your breathing and focus straight ahead. I always try to find a point to focus on so that I can take my mind off being tired.

 

The most important thing about workouts? Have fun!


What is the last workout you did?

Do you always warm up?

 

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