Pain is complex because it's a subjective experience. Your pain differs from your teammate, from your spouse, from your kids, from the person sitting next to you. Everyone experiences their own unique reaction when it comes to pain.
So what is pain? Pain is a signal from your brain that you're suffering (either a real physical danger or that you're pushing close to that edge) and our brains try to shut down the source of pain. It's a warning signal our brains excrete that as athletes can prevent us from preforming to our potential. But there's a difference between pain and suffering.
If you examine pain in the form of fatigue, it's experienced as a limiter, which affects your brain to make decisions.
When we have expectations of pain, it can change our behavior. How hard or how easy something is will affect what we experience. Like a self-fulfilling prophecy: If you think it's going to be hard, then guess what? It's hard.
When we're afraid and have fear it's often that we're weary of burning all of our matches. And therefore we always hold something back, which can mean not racing to our full potential.
Think of your pain threshold as a combination of body and mind experience. Your body sends a message to your brain and your brain sends a message back to your body. How you deal with pain is up to you. Some athletes can push their pain thresholds to the extreme, while others struggle with it. And if you struggle with it, you're not alone.
Ready for the good news? You can increase your pain threshold using mental skills training.
Want to learn more? Stay tuned for the additional five tools you can use to grow your pain threshold.