Mental Perspective on Training Undulations

You aren’t meant to be at your peak all of the time.

More subjectively based than usual, the following are some observations of things that a lot of people, from Olympians to someone starting an exercise program, have experienced.

Just as there are fluctuations in your training program, there are also fluctuations in how you feel. Often the two go hand in hand. There will be the glorious moments when you feel light, fast, agile, and ready to tackle anything. There will also be those when you feel slow, heavy, high-gravity, and unmotivated.

It is important that you keep all of this in mind when you are reflecting on yourself and training sessions. It is far too easy as a detail-oriented person to get down on oneself for not being fast and light ALL of the time.

For athletes: This will apply to your physiological and mental response to training stimulus. For example, after a big volume block you are meant to be fatigued, slow, and “heavy”. This is what creates the training adaptation you seek. There is a chance that your mental state may follow, which is also why it is often so hard to trust the resting and tapering process.

For non-athletes: This most often applies to your ability to be consistent with exercise habits and satisfaction. For example, people often fall out of the habit of regular exercise after a vacation and it is challenging to find that groove again. It is really easy to see this as negative and a failure. In reality, it is usually just a little wander off the path. Easy to hop back on even if slowly at first.

Every single person is guaranteed moments when they will not physically feel “adequate” and that is not only normal, but expected.

Whichever of the above you are, know that there is a time and a place to get ambitious, critical, gritty, and tough - and that it is equally important to give yourself a break when needed.

Best suggestion:

  • Practice self love (realistic thoughts, good recovery strategies)

  • Recognize where you are in a training (or life) cycle and how that may relate to how you are feeling

  • Never forget to enjoy the process

  • Talk about it.

  • Please seek professional assistance if this is something you find yourself with consistently

Feel free to email or comment if you have any questions or would like any avenues to more information!

— Chelsea