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How to reframe your least-favourite workouts

Not looking forward to your next workout? Here's how to change your mindset to make it more enjoyable

Whether it’s long tempos, 800m intervals or hill sprints, we all have those workouts that, for whatever reason, we just dreadAs much as you want to, you know you can’t skip them, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer through them. Changing your mindset around your least-favourite workouts will allow you to enjoy your training more and likely result in a better workout. Here’s how to reframe a daunting workout so you hate it a little less.

Understand your dread

The first step is to figure out why you hate that particular workout so much. Did you have a bad experience the last time you did it? Is the workout above your ability level? Do you think the workout just isn’t worth your time? Once you’ve established the reason you don’t like the workout, you can begin to reframe that aspect to make it more enjoyable. For example, if the workout is a bit too hard, you can adjust it to make it more manageable. If you don’t think the workout is worth your time, you can talk to your coach, who will help you understand the purpose behind the workout.

Sara Hall’s advice for reframing bad runs

Adjust your expectations

In many cases, the reason you don’t like a workout is that it’s hard, and you’re afraid you’re going to fail. If this is the case, it’s OK to dial the workout back a bit or adjust the pace expectations to allow yourself to ease into it, with less stress.

 Do the workout more often

This is the classic “the only way to conquer your fears is to face them” strategy. The workouts you dislike the most are often the ones you do the least, and this lack of familiarity with the workout can sometimes be the reason it causes anxiety. Of course, some workouts aren’t meant to be done multiple times in a training cycle, but if you can, gradually increase the frequency with which you do the disliked workout. As you do it more often, it’ll become less remarkable in your mind and won’t be as stress-inducing.

Grab a workout buddy

When you’ve got a tough workout coming up on the schedule, enlist the help of a workout buddy or two to help you through it. Even if they only run part of the workout with you, having someone with you can make it more fun and provide the extra emotional support you need to get through the workout.

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Plan your reward

Sometimes, giving yourself something to look forward to after the workout is a great way to motivate yourself to get it done. This could be planning to have one of your favourite meals afterward, or pampering yourself with a hot bath, or whatever you want to do to congratulate yourself for getting through it.