We’ve all had bad workouts. We’ve all wanted to walk away before finishing workouts. A lot of times, however, our competitive and training focused natures won’t let us. Luckily, there are definitely times when we should quit a workout. And there are times we should push through. These are some basic guidelines from Team ECRP you can use when things aren’t going you way to decide what to do.
You’re hurt. Even if it’s only a twinge, calling it quits on a workout isn’t the end of the world. It’s much better to be cautious then run yourself into a serious injury. Listening to your body can be hard but it’s something you have to do. If something feels funky or your gait is off, walk away and figure out what’s wrong before you come back.
It’s dangerous. Did it start down pouring a few minutes into your trail run? Is there a pop-up thunderstorm just overhead? Is the sun going down in a strange neighborhood? Are the heat and humidity oppressive? Any of these can be a solid reason to quit a workout. Finding a treadmill or waiting until later is always a better answer than injury.
You don’t need it. Maybe you’re bumping up your mileage this week or taking a recovery run instead of a swim. It’s OK to quit a workout when it isn’t a super important one. If you can easily sub another type of session to get the stimulus you were looking for on that day, go for it.
STICK WITH IT WHEN:
It’s hard. That’s how we get faster and stronger. If we never pushed ourselves to perform a a higher level, we’d never get any better. Finishing a challenging workout is its own reward, and helps us hit that next PR, if we can do so safely and injury free.
You’re tired. There are lots of things that can cause us to lose sleep. Working out can help relieve stress and release endorphins that improve mood. Staying awake for 24 straight hours just to get a workout in is definitely not the answer but even a quick jog can shake off the cobwebs and put a smile on your face. It’s also good practice for race day. You never know who might be partying in the hotel room next door.
The weather’s bad. Bad weather and dangerous weather are different. If you quit a workout because it’s cold or raining, how does that help you? Conditions on race day are mostly unpredictable. To prepare for the unknown, train in every environment you can. Learn how to handle wind, rain, snow, heat and humidity.
Use these guidelines to loosely determine if you should quit a workout while you’re ahead or power through like the champ you want to be.