Can you complete/compete at the 140.6 distance w/ only 10 hrs of training per week?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

New Thresholds Found

Lactate threshold, anaerobic threshold, aerobic threshold, etc. Most of us have heard of these thresholds before. They are thrown around by many, but each exercise phsyiologist will have a different spin on what they actually mean. For this post I will shift our attention toward the ever changing mental threshold or pain threshold.

Today as I observed each of my athletes at TRX Strength Phase 2 I could see each of them dealing with pain and discomfort. Some wore it on their face more then others. Some groaned, some turned a slight green and looked poised to fill a garbage can, while others had to simply tap out.

What I stressed to my people today was that each of us must face discomfort and pain and learn from it. To take it another step further I believe one needs to become good friends with pain that is brought on from training. Let me clarify here. I am not saying that if you just broke your knee or femur while competing or training you should suck it up and work through it. What I am referring to specifically is that threshold of discomfort that makes quitting so much more appealing and inviting. I am referring to that threshold where your mind starts to talk...

"...lets stop at 3 reps vs. push for 6..."

"...your legs really feel heavy because of the pace your pushing...slow down!..."

"...I like to be comfortable and this is starting to bother me..."

This is not an exhaustive list of conversations your mind has. A part of you wants to fight, but the other side wants to be submissive to the discomfort.

[Side note: take the ear buds out of your ears so you can deal with the pain friends and not get lost in music. When racing you'll need to face these voices head on.]

You see, we can increase our lactate threshold with sound training methods. We can also nudge our VO2Max upward to some extent (not as much as your lactate threshold due to genetic ceilings). However, one thing that I think we overlook is working on our pain threshold.

I think all of us can work on fighting through some discomfort. I also think some are born to fight better then others. For me, I actually seek out the discomfort and find joy in dealing with heavy legs that become non-responsive, a breathing rate that literally burns your airway, and intensity that allows you to hear your pulse resonating within your ear canal. Can anyone relate with that last one? I like that place. Not everyone is like that, however.

I would encourage you to find that place where the pain seems unbearable. It is at that exact moment that I'd recommend you take a deep breath, blow out the pain, and face it head on. Learn to work through the discomfort one rep at a time, one minute at a time, one workout at a time, and one race at a time.

We can all get tougher. I challenge you to find a new pain threshold in the coming weeks, months, and year. By doing so you will begin to find the athlete that is screaming to come out of you.

Deep breath, face it, own it,

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