Monday, January 13, 2014

The Pain Cave

The Pain Cave - that place you go when you're pushing your body out of its comfort zone. Some people back off as soon as they hit it, some don't.


Athletes face The Pain Cave often. Competitors know it well. The trick is to train your body to endure discomfort, to push beyond what you think are your limits, for a few seconds, minutes, hours or longer. Champions do it all the time.

Take the women's 3k individual pursuit. Seconds after the explosive start, the body starts to scream. Three laps in, the body wants to shut down. But there's 9 laps remaining. Enter the pain cave. An athlete's ability to push through this barrier can set records or not. The queen of the pain cave? Five time World Champion Sarah Hammer.

How can you increase your pain cave threshold?

Practice. Practice. And more practice.

Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Push yourself little by little and increase your tolerance by stepping out of your comfort zone. Be intentional and deliberate with your practice. Play around with things outside of your sport - yoga, hiking, skiing, ice plunges, etc. Reach the spot where the body starts to scream and push, push, push. Tell your body it will get a rest, but you've got work to do first.

1 comment:

Laurel said...

Sighhhhhhhhhhh... You rock.