(Pain) Endurance

Endurance athletes are a special breed of people. We do things that most people can’t fathom, and we come out with a smile. We torture ourselves day in and day out. So it is fair to say that for some endurance is not just being able to make your muscles move for a period of time. Instead, it is to make them move when they can’t. When they won’t. When everything hurts, but you refuse to quit. Enduring the pain is as important as any part of what we do, and what we are capable of.

I often tell people I walk around at a 7 out of 10 sore most days. You know like that frowny face chart at the doctors. Yeah, I am somewhere between red face and the worried orange looking guy.

Is it too much? Maybe a bit but I like it that way. When I am sore it feels like I did something tangible. Like I put some hay in the barn. I have read many books by cyclists and runners, and they all talk about their pain threshold. “Shut up legs” being a great example. How much they can endure. I tend to agree with the idea. I am not the best athlete especially when it comes to the bike, but I can go to dark places. I can twist myself up in a knot to push the pace. I will go to 100% and stay there until the body just fails, whereas I see more talented people tapping out well below there best. Thankfully it keeps me competitive haha.

Why is that? I am sure Tony Robbins has a better answer, but to me it is just a personal mantra to never leave any doubts. Never give less than I can no matter what excuses I have or can make. And believe me, I have many many excuses. I’m tired. I’m sore. I want to eat cake and pie. Or bourbon is also nice.

How do I train this mentality? It is not easy for sure, but probably my most successful technique has been to hold myself publicly accountable. To friends, to family, to training partners, whoever. If I say I will do it, I do it because I don’t want to go back on my word. It breaks down peoples’ trust in you. Another thing I do often are the micro-deals I have talked about in the past. I compartmentalize and force myself to tolerate the pain in small digestible morsels. Does this make it hurt less, no, but it makes it go by quicker.

Another aspect of getting it done is discipline. Adhering to a routine. Knowing that when you get to a certain point in the day it will be uncomfortable, but you will come out on the other side better then how you went in. We don’t want to get up early or push to failure. We do it because we train to ignore what we know is coming and just get it done. As they say, sometimes the hardest part is just getting dressed to workout. I agree. The annoyance of getting out of a warm bed to squeeze in something that hurts is counter to how most of us feel (I especially love putting on a wet heart rate monitor from the day before). But by doing it, we build patterns, habits, and behaviors that are there for us when we most need them. Keep pushing, set hard goals, and make sure you are holding yourself accountable. If you can maintain this type of structure and discipline as an ASPECT of your training, when it comes to game day, you will be able to push yourself beyond where others can.

Find your motivation and find your discipline. The words in this video have always resonated with me. “I didn’t come this far to only come this far.” Push past what you think you can do. Ten more seconds. Be better then yesterday.

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