Train in Unfavourable Conditions

I didn't feel like running today. I slept for like 4 hours. I was tossing and turning all night. My HRV was in the shitter. My WHOOP gave me a score of 18% recovered.

I was tempted to take a day off. I was close to convincing myself I had earned it. I probably had.

Then I thought of a quote from the great Emil Zatopek. Arguably the greatest runner of all time, and the only person to win gold at the 5k, 10k and marathon in the same Olympics. He's a legend in the running world and I can't recommend his autobiography "Today We Die A Little" enough.

He had some great quotes. But the one that got me off my ass and out for a run today was this one - "There is a great advantage in training under unfavorable conditions. It is better to train under bad conditions, for the difference is then a tremendous relief in a race."


Go swim in the bay next time it's freezing out.

Go for a 10k when it's pissing down with rain.

Go sprint some hills when it's 40 degrees.

Go hit some rowing intervals in silence.

Train the house down when you're dehydrated, or sleep deprived, or starving.

Photo: Noske, J.D. / Anefo, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL, via Wikimedia Commons

Should this be something you do regularly? No. Not every day. But if you never do it, you're missing out.

Doing difficult things in uncomfortable environments or situations is where you grow as an athlete and as a human.

Stop waiting for the conditions to be perfect before you actually do something.

You can train, and train hard, in unfavourable conditions. In fact, I encourage it.

Oh, and the title of his book? “Today we die a little.” That's something he said while joking with the other runners at the start line of the 1956 Olympic marathon in Melbourne. The conditions were sweltering and he knew they were going to hurt. Instead of whining about he, he embraced it. He laughed about it.

Be like Emil. Embrace discomfort. Thrive when the conditions are poor.



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