Option #3: Cut It Short
Suppose you warm up for a high-intensity workout and feel so flat that you can’t even face the planned session, yet you know that you will feel even worse mentally if you simply stop and go home. On these occasions, consider replacing your planned workout with a few very short, very high-intensity intervals. For example, replace a set of 5 x 3:00 intervals at VO2max intensity with 8 x 30-second relaxed sprints (95% of full speed). The reason this works is that fatigue tends to be compartmentalized within energy systems, and often fatigue that prevents you from performing well aerobically does not prevent you from performing well anaerobically. This phenomenon offers another possibility to salvage some kind of training stimulus and prevent a blow to your confidence even on those days when your body is less capable than expected.