Have you ever started a workout with bunches – or at least a decent amount – of energy, only to feel zapped way too early? I have, especially on these mornings with humidity thick as split-pea soup. I start out, water bottle and optimism at the ready, then a half-mile in start thinking, "Are you kidding? I can't do this."
It happens sometimes when I swim, too. After a few laps, I wonder how I can possibly keep going for even five more minutes, no less 25 or 30. But I talk myself into continuing, knowing full well I'll kick myself for not doing at least three-quarters of what I set out to do. And you know what happens? By the time I'm finished, I've all but forgotten that rough start.
Turns out people have studied this sort of thing, as is pointed out in an Outside magazine article. Granted, it's talking mostly about exhaustion experienced by endurance athletes, but this sentence stayed with me: "The point is for athletes to understand that most of us can keep going after our brains start telling us to stop."
Thinking good thoughts helps. So does experiencing beauty or perhaps setting a mantra ("I can do this!") or envisioning something really, really nice when you finish. Give it a try.
And hey, if you're only able to go for five minutes, stop. The weather is brutal out there; your body may be letting you know this isn't a good day for you. That's OK. Bet you'll go longer and be stronger tomorrow.