By Naomi Rabon, NW Fitness Team Trainer
I was listening to a podcast called “The Rambling Runner,” and in this particular episode host Matt Chittim was talking with runner Tim Rossi about the characteristics that helped Rossi run a marathon (26.2 miles) with a finish time of 2 hours and 31 minutes (that’s a 5 min, 45 sec per mile pace for 26.2 miles, in case you were wondering).
“I think I have a really good mental capacity to just suffer over time,” he explained. “A marathon doesn’t feel good whether you’re running a marathon in 6 hours, 4 hours or me, running it in 2:31, or whether you’re Elliot Kipchoge running damn near 2 hours flat in a marathon. Everyone kind of hurts (in a marathon) and being able to ride that line for a really long time is something that I think I’m really good at.”
I’ve heard of having a high pain tolerance and a high pain threshold, but I’ve never heard the idea put quite the way Rossi did in his interview. The idea of being really good at suffering totally resonated with me. A few days after I heard the podcast, I watched the 2018 documentary Ronnie Coleman: The King, about bodybuilding legend Ronnie Coleman’s journey to win 8 Olympia titles, among other achievements. While watching the documentary, still chewing on The Rambling Runner podcast in the back of my mind from a few days prior, I saw the same theme come up: Coleman’s incredible ability to endure intense suffering for long periods of time.
In the documentary, a number of other professional bodybuilders commented on the amount of work Coleman put in the gym to reach the level he reached: the insanely heavy weights he lifted and his mental and physical drive to keep going and keep pushing, even beyond exhaustion, fatigue and other physical boundaries.
Then this past Sunday on Nicole’s live Q&A, she mentioned that sometimes you have to just “embrace the suck.” This theme seems to be popping up everywhere in my life lately. Is the universe trying to tell me something?
GET USED TO IT
Here are some things you should know about pushing your body and mind just a little further than what you’re use to – even suffering a little bit – in order achieve a goal.
1. It’s not always pleasant While I do think it is important for you to find an exercise and nutrition program that you enjoy, it’s not always going to be enjoyable. Sometimes it’s really going to suck. It’s just part of it. That is where the phrase “get out of your comfort zone” comes into play.
2. Getting use to pain Pain is just a part of life, and it is actually a very positive part of life. When you’re young, you go through both physical and emotional growing pains that (hopefully) help you become a stronger, mature adult. When you’re building muscle, lifting weights, feeling the lactic acid burning, hurting like crazy through intense cardio sessions and feeling your sore, aching body everyday, it becomes a part of your life. You may not like it at first, but eventually it becomes your “norm” if you want fitness to be part of your lifestyle. It’s just gonna hurt sometimes.
3. Be realistic about your pain/suffering threshold I don’t remember when I got used to the pain of being sore all the time or to the hurt of running so hard and fast and long that everything in my body was screaming and telling me to stop, but running through it anyway because I now know that the pain is just part of being the kind of runner I want to be. The pain is the price I have to pay for the goals I want to achieve.
If you look at any athlete who ever achieved any amount of success, they had to just suffer sometimes, and go without sometimes. They had to eat whatever they had to eat in order to achieve their goals, and NOT eat whatever it was that would sabotage those goals. They had to put in the time and the work, and put in the sleep and recovery. You can’t expect to get results from work you didn’t do, and sometimes it’s just going to be hard and uncomfortable and painful. But if you want it bad enough, enduring the suffering will all be worth it.
ABOUT NAOMI RABON
One of the trainers on Nicole’s elite NW Fitness Training Team, Naomi is a certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is a NPC Figure competitor who has been involved in the health and fitness industry for over 12 years.