The Hurt Locker…Learn to Push Through the Pain.

October 11, 2016

The Hurt Locker…Learn to Push Through the Pain.

There will be a time, place and event where you will have to push harder than you ever have before.

Athletes ask me all the time “what is the secret to success in consistently improving in a sport?” I typically respond with a two headed approach. My number one was talked in depth over a few weeks in prior posts…recovery. Without proper recovery, your success in sport will always be limited.The next is an athlete’s ability to consistently push the envelope when they feel the envelope is sealed and shut.

Over 20 years of racing long course triathlon and always trying to get faster the one thing I have noticed is the only way to get faster was to go deep into the hurt locker. To get faster over long distances I had to not only train accordingly but also push myself harder and smarter than ever before. Each time the pain level was awful but over time I gained a new level of confidence which eventually made racing faster and tolerable.

As it relates to crossfit and functional fitness I have seen it numerous times when you do a WOD and give it your all. There is an immediate relief it’s over, a joy at your time and a doubt that you could ever go that fast again. That is until the next time with some balanced training you go even deeper into the discomfort. You come out the other end feeling the same way as the first but guess what…you set a PR!!!

There are many different roles that factor into someone pushing through the “hurt locker”.   Some are internal such as muscle trauma, biomechanics, nutrition, while others such as coaching, workout partners, and environment are external.  All of these factors are in your control and are items you can work towards being able to dig deeper in your next workout.

The following are the top four ways you can ensure being able to successfully going deeper into the hurt locker.

  1. Plan your nutrition.  Are you sabotaging your workout with poor nutrition? The other day I had a rushed morning and skipped breakfast only to come home at lunch to a hard tempo run. Do you think I had a breakthrough run or a lack luster performance?  
  2. Create a strong mental game. My daughter always tells me before a tough race to “have an open mindset vs. a fixed mindset”. Believing in my abilities and thinking that anything is possible has been shown to take you farther than you thought possible. Being able to visualize success, mentally performing the PR lift before your hand ever touches the cold-knurled steel of the barbell.
  3. Surrounds yourself with athletes who make you better.  Train with those who positively or impact your training, bringing strong energy you can benefit from and return back to them.  Find the people who will push you to be better, and to whom you can help improve.
  4. Find a coach or program that builds to ensure proper growth.  Training at a facility has top notch coaches, support and equipment will help remove impediments to success?  Finding coaches who provide positive encouragement vs. negative berating will help you power through vs. power down.  

Never underestimate your potential and always prepare yourself for growth. Educate and invest in your ability to improve in your sport of choice. Not every workout will feel great but understand that true greatness and PR’s are built when you put yourself in a state of being uneasy.


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