Today was the first day of what I think will be the "new normal" for me: I went to work very early and worked out when I got home, rather than the other way around. I'm a big fan of routines and it has always been my routine to exercise before work, so getting used to this might take some doing. My job is part-time, so it was still morning when I got home (in fact, it was about the time I would normally work out! Sorta funny that I had already been up for over 4 hours at that time of day), but I was almost out of gas before I even got on the bike.
Today wasn't a long ride - 10 miles - but I was definitely struggling to finish. It wasn't physical tiredness so much as mental fatigue. In fact, thinking about it now, I was probably just hungry, but on the bike I was beating myself up for not being able to pick up the pace. I generally feel that if I'm going to bother working out, then I should be giving it my best effort (not necessarily measured by speed; more based on my ability to focus and achieve the results I'm aiming for). This is a topic I've wrestled with occasionally since becoming an athlete - it's such a fine line between cutting myself some slack on tough days and letting myself slack off when I could do better.
File this under, "Childhood Issues Never Really Go Away, Do They?": when I was a kid, I was allowed to quit everything. My parents signed me up for T-Ball and I sucked at it, so I quit. Took swimming lessons and I was scared of the water, so I quit. Piano lessons? Quit. The first three colleges I went to? Quit. (I did graduate from the 4th one, in case you're wondering.) The thing is, when I started running...I didn't want to quit. Suddenly, there was this foreign sense of accomplishment when I didn't quit. I started feeling it regularly and I wanted more. In spite of 36 years of evidence to the contrary, I realized when I became a runner that I am NOT a quitter! But I still hear that quitting voice in my head sometimes, and that's why I struggle with cutting myself slack. Do I need to slow down or am I just letting myself slide?
I could analyze this to death (I was in therapy a long time ago...wanna guess how that turned out?? lol.) but in the end, I have to be okay with the fact that today's training was...fine. *shrugs* For the number crunchers, here's how it shook down: 10.1 miles on the bike @ 17.6 mph, 500 meters in the pool @ 43:26/mi.
To make a broad generalization, I think athletes - even average ones! :-) - push themselves pretty hard. Does it bother you to cut yourself some slack?? How do you accept and let go of not-your-best training days?