As my journey into becoming a triathlete continues, I find going into what some call the “pain cave” is a deep dark place. But, it is truly a mental game as much as it is a physical one. Pain is never fun for anyone especially in competition but there are a lot of professional athletes who have conditioned themselves to push beyond their pain thresholds. You can too as I am learning that anyone can become an athlete. It just takes time and consistency.
Weight a factor?
Weight is a definite factor. In January, I was in the upwards of 320 pounds. I am now below 280 and still have a ways to go. Starting to run, the impact on my legs was pretty big due to the fact of how much weight I was carrying. So slimming down is important if you want to get into competitive sports. One other factor I have against me is I have 22″ calves and large quads as I have very strong legs so carrying large muscles will impact me so keeping them strong to carry me and deal with the impact is a painful adaption. I can generate so much power in my legs, I had to have my mountain bike converted and special wheels (Tandem bike/40 spoke) installed to deal with the torque I was generating. But having lean muscle and a balanced body mass is important for sure.
Kinds of pain I have had to this point…
Sore legs, sore ankles, sore back, strained hamstrings, sore toes, super sore quads and sore shins. Yeah… some other pain too but WELCOME TO THE PAIN CAVE!
Now don’t let this shy you away from fitness, just know it is NOT overnight and will take some time for your body to adapt. Remember, I have only been doing this for a few months and most training plans are weeks/months. But proper fitness, proper rest/recovery and proper nutrition is key in all this. Learn to enjoy cold showers and ice baths. They really do help and you get used to them and actually look forward to them.
Let’s talk MENTAL game…
The Navy Seals have what’s called the 40 (40% rule) where you have to overcome the mental barriers that exist. For some it is easy, for most it is one of the most difficult things to do but as long as you stay consistent, you CAN overcome the barriers.
My mental barriers are the “pain cave” but learning how to push past it when running and swimming and even when I am cycling, I hit the wall sometimes but verbally telling myself to push on is something I have to do is what helps me get past it.
How about listening to music? Yep, music/motivational videos/etc. will help. For example, I have YouTubeRED so it allows me to play videos without my screen on so I have Ironman World Championships playing in the background. When I need a big boost, I have a playlist in my Spotify called Becoming Batman which has all the soundtracks to the Batman movies playing. That seems to push me pretty good over the mental hills.
Favorite YouTube video to play while I run:
Pain is a reality and once you accept that fact, you can push past it each and every day. Grow your fitness social circle and have people who will inspire and motivate you to push on. There will be tough days I ASSURE you but having a strong support system and good recovery tactics will get you to your goals.
Remember, ALWAYS check with you doctor/trainer before starting an exercise routine. Make sure your body and heart can handle what you are about to serve it. Going 100% right out of the gate is not possible when you are starting out. your body needs to adapt into the new habits you are going to teach it. Results WILL happen, just give it time.
Thank you for reading my thoughts and I LOVE YOU ALL! Thank you for your continued support everyone!