|7/17/2012 12:12:28 PM -
How To Keep Going When You Think You Can't
In any type of military special forces training, one of the most important things that's stressed (or taught, really) is that human beings really have no idea what their bodies can do. The idea, loosely defined, being that you can use your mind to control the amount of suffering you're willing to allow your body to undergo, and that you can always push yourself harder then you mind is willing to let you tolerate.
This is a pretty obvious statement when it comes to training. Especially when you're doing stuff related to endurance -- pushing Prowlers, running hills, etc -- there comes a point where you have to "dig deep" and get shit done when you really, really don't want to. We've all been there -- in practice, when we train, for work (some of us), and in games.
You gas out, and you have to keep going. This is especially difficult when you're training alone, because it's too easy to just quit, and to justify quitting by claiming, at least to yourself, that you're "autoregulating." When I'm taking the "less is more" philosophy way out of context, it actually makes it easy to justify quitting, at least in terms of, "Oh shit, if I exceed my anaerobic threshold, James and Mark say that's no good, so maybe I shouldn't make these last five trips with the Prowler because if I had an Omegawave, it would tell me to stop."
I've been running my hill lately. It's not a big hill -- it's only about 30-40 yards or so -- so I run to the top, slap this tree that's up there, then run down (almost like overspeed), touch the bike path that's at the bottom of it, and run back up. As I wrote about in an earlier post, the goal of this operation is to make sure I don't get smoked when I run this big hill we use with the kids during camp. I need to be ready to run with this former college basketball player that's on our staff. He ran me into the ground the last time we tried this, and even though I'm not an endurance guy, I'm not letting that happen again.
Anyway, I've been building up my volume the "right" way, using a HR monitor, etc, etc. I'm basically up to five sets of three trips (with 4's thrown in when I feel like it), which is a bitch, because when I first started, I did two sets of three and basically gassed -- and had to build it up doing doubles.
Every so often, I decide to push myself, like on round 4 or 5, I'll decide I need to do four trips up. This, of course, leaves me completely gassed -- basically to the point where I can't stand up straight. You know the feeling. Once you're there, you're not doing shit.
As an aside, one of my old coaches used to keep us from bending over after gassers by telling us we were getting ready for our archrivals to f--k us up the ass. Since none of us really wanted to envision that, we pretty much all managed to stand up straight no matter how gassed we were.
Anyway, the park where I run is near the water. If you keep going south about a half mile, there's a major body of water down there. Because of this, there's a pretty f-ed up assortment of bugs at this park, especially early in the morning when the grass is still a little wet. The worst of these douchey little bugs are the green flies, because they bite if you let them sit on you long enough.
The other morning, I did one of those extra trips on two consecutive sets, so I was DONE at the end of my fifth set. I try to "walk it off" when I'm done, even though I don't have to, because I like to pretend I'm still getting pushed by my old coaches, and because that's what I tell the kids when we're doing drills like this. I don't like seeing a whole crew of guys finish running and then take a dive on the turf. It's ugly, it lacks discipline, and I like teaching the extra work involved in keeping your feet at the end of a drill and not giving in to the urge to bend over and put your hands on your knees.
Sometimes I'm weak on my own, though, and I'll do this -- or even lie down at the top of the hill, gasping for air and pondering the meaning of life. I finished up my last trip up the hill the other morning, and I collapsed under my tree to rest until I was "up to" walking back down the hill and going home. Bear in mind here that I thought I was done. In my head, I was like, "Thank God this is over, because there is NO WAY I could run another trip up this stupid hill." I literally though I had given everything I had, because I could barely stand up.
The green flies, however, disagreed. As soon as I flopped down on the ground like a fat piece of shit, three or four of them start buzzing around my head, and another couple landed on my legs. Then the bites started.
Here's the lesson I learned. As soon as these f---ers started biting me, I was far from done. I got my ass up quicker than I would have if I were completely fresh, hauled ass down the hill and decided to walk off being gassed out so I could at least get away from these pain in the ass bugs. They didn't go for my ruse, and they kept hassling me, so I got in my car and took off -- so irritated at this point that I barely noticed that I thought I was about to die about 60 seconds earlier.
The lesson here?
You always got more in you.