Getting motivated for least favourite sessions!

I'm sure everyone has their favourite and worst sessions - my personal fave is the tempo run

However I'd say my most "dreaded" session would be intervals - mainly 'cos I know its going to hurt! Does anyone experience the same thing and how do you prepare mentally? I can always complete the session just sometimes have to drag myself round it...


  • if you have your sessions built to the correct pace for your current fitness, none of the sessions should hurt. they should be manageable but a good workout.

    Tempo sessions took me a while to get used to as there's no let up with their continuous nature. Whereas reps used to be easier in my head due to my football background, the stop start nature.

  • Thats interesting Stevie, so you'd say you still make progress despite being comfortable in all sessions? Perhaps I have the wrong mind set

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    I once dreaded intervals until I established a set (5 x 800m) at such an easy pace, it couldn't possibly hurt. After that; once a week, I'd do the session with the aim of simply averaging a second or so faster.

    12 weeks later I was averaging a pace that would have killed me had I tried it at the start.

  • I'd say inappropriate use of calculators such as Mcmillan can create this sense of demotivation. How many people plug in their 5 or 10k time, generate a load of training paces, and then try to blindly hit them. I did this and was left scratching my head as to why I couldn't hit the speed session paces, yet the endurance paces were comfortable. It wasn't long before I dropped speedwork.

    This year I have put more thought into it, and also read a recent Mcmillan blogs on using the calculator for runners with a bias towards speed or endurance. I'm now putting together intervals/reps that are still challenging, and I no longer dread them.

  • there's a big difference between comfortable and working at the correct hard intensity.

    If it hurts, you've gone too hard.

    If it takes days to recover, and isn't a race, you've gone too hard.

  • Like I say I can complete the session at a good consistency, and would be OK for an easy run the day after. Most recent example was Wednesday night... 2 mile warm up, 6 x 800m ave 2 mins 52 secs and 90 sec recovery for each. Would say it was very uncomfortable but I was able to finish without blowing up or lengthening the recovery period...

    Perhaps I should slow up and build up speed as Ric says

  • I like my interval sessions. Sure they are hard - but I get a real endorphin buzz from doing them.
  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    I would say to start with something clearly manageable. The session I mentioned started  at 2:52 average but the recovery was around 4 minutes plus as I jogged back up the half mile long road I was running on.

    I could possibly started with 2:40 average but would have had to force things.

    I ended up averaging 2:29.

  • I love both tempo runs and intervals, I feel I have achieved something at the end, the ones I dread are the middle distance mid week i.e. 12 or 14 miles for my marathon training.  I find these too long of runs after work and can't get motivated, can run the distance easy enough it is just mentally can't motivate myself and struggle to get out mid week. 

  • Thanks Ric, being as my 5k PB is 18.22 (5.55m/m pace), would speed work any slower than this be beneficial?

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    If your chosen race distance is 10 miles plus then yes.

    My basic speed session that allows plenty of errors and adjustment is 20 to 30 200m's run at a rate that allows no more than 30 seconds recovery. The speed of the runs is only 9% faster than your 10k race pace.

    Almost feels like a fast steady run but without the effort. Imagine the start of a race where for the opening minute you feel no strain. That's what the whole session feels like. 

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