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The joy of dealing with discomfort

discomfort

Discomfort is an inescapable part of running and long distance running in particular and every runner needs to learn to deal with it. Any seriously longer run hurts and how well you are able to deal with discomfort influences the outcome of your run. Elite runners often say that their ability to push through excruciating bouts of discomfort is integral to their race performance.

Dealing with discomfort starts with accepting discomfort as part of your exercise and let your body adequately adapt to it. During longer runs, you will experience a variety of pains and at some point, pretty much everything will hurt. Pain and discomfort , like the tide comes and goes. By time discomfort will diminish and disappear, and the next moment it will be back at another part of your body. Luckily most of the pains are temporary and fade shortly after your run.

Nature shows us that perseverance
allows for transformation so that we
may reach our true potential

Some measure of discomfort is normal (provided it’s not a sign of a serious issue), muscles burn, joints ache and exhaustion it is al part of the fun. Just deal with it! During difficult moments, put the pain in perspective. Keep in mind that the discomfort is temporary, and each step forward is one closer to your goal. Don’t dwell on how much you hurt. Rather, focus, and push yourself. Pain and physical discomfort not related to an injury comes and goes. Detach yourself and simply use it as information. Some types of pain tell you that you’re pushing yourself and that you’re getting better

Persevere when the going gets tough! Stay mentally tough and do not give into periods of self-doubt and discomfort. Remember all the energy that you have put into your exercise and have faith in it. Think about how hard you have worked and how rewarding it will be to complete your run.

“After you’ve built up your base mileage,
it’s really about how much pain you can take,
You have to reach into yourself
and find that toughness. (Barton)

Being ambitious and running your best often means going all out, but certain pains are warning signs you shouldn’t ignore. Like pain that worsens as you run, Chest pain, high body temperature, vomiting. These signs are similar to a red warning light flashing on the dashboard of your car: they tell you that there is a more profound problem. Deal with it; and go to see a doctor.

Be tough but be kind to yourself. Remember it is counter-intuitive and unhelpful to chastise yourself. But also remember that you have to learn to push yourself and that you need to learn to deal with discomfort. Learn to deal with it, but be patient with yourself and let your body adequately adapt to dealing with pain and discomfort. Stay mentally tough and don’t give into periods of self-doubt and discomfort, persevere to suffer without complaining about it.

And during hard times, keep in mind that dealing with discomfort will make you stronger.

(After reading this article http://zenhabits.net/discomfort/ these thoughts came in mind during my 22k trail run yesterday and the 30k run on the Hamburg Elbe beach today.)