Monday, February 25, 2008

enjoying or avoiding the pain

kaylynn and i had a conversation awhile back about a friend she had who trained and completed an ironman and during her training she went to a sports psychologist. the psychologist mentioned that there are two ways people "deal" with their pain during an endurance event. 1) people try to escape the pain and 2) people enjoy the pain. i've tried to determine which type of person i am and i think i am in the first category, most of the time. distractions (iPods, fresh air, people, long chats, thought processes) are my way of trying to "get through" a workout, long run, a race, whatever. the downfall with that is when your distractions run out and you are left with yourself. kaylynn thought she was more of a type 2 runner: she enjoys the pain. i can definitely say that there are moments where i enjoy it as well, but i'm an avoider, not an enjoyer.
jona, i think, enjoys the pain. but he also has a really great mechanism that i thought i'd share. we are huge fans of the coverage of the ironman in kona, hawaii that nbc airs every year.

in 2006, there was a particular elite athlete who was struggling - seriously struggling. the image of this ironman athlete left an impression with jona. and everytime he thinks he's got it rough during a run, he thinks of the ironman and it gives him some serious perspective.
pain and discomfort is certainly unavoidable during some of our runs ... what would you say you are? an enjoyer or an avoider? what do you do to enjoy or avoid the pain and get past it?


  1. I am an avoider, too. I like to convince myself that I'm having fun. But, yes, that does leave me with just me, myself, and my mind when my legs are burning and I feel like stopping. How do I get through it? I just tell myself I have to run at least to mile such-and-such, and then I can walk a bit. But when that mile rolls around, I tend to tell myself I'm fine and can run another couple miles.

    But, that said, when it comes to track workouts, I'm definitely an enjoyer. I want the workout to be hard. I want my legs to hurt. I want my lungs to burn. I want to be worn out by the end.

    So maybe I'm both.

  2. avoider here!

    When things get rough I pick out 5 things ahead of me...light pole, tree, road sign, road kill, anything....and I tell myself I can't quite until I run past those 5 things. Usually by the 4th object my mind is thinking something else and I keep going!

    Now when it comes to the pain of sore quads, legs....I LOVE that feeling!

  3. So I guess it can be said there are 2 kinds of pain: (1) good pain where you are pushing yourself and you feel your body getting stronger and (2) bad pain due to injury where you've gone too far and your body is breaking. Kind of like the "good sore" and "bad sore". Love pain #1 but am squeamish about pain #2. Or is that a cop out?

  4. that is such a good point, cristina. it's important to understand the type of pain we're talking about. i am referring to the "this sucks, i am tired" kind of pain. NOT the "oh my gosh my knee is on fire" kind of pain. sounds like you are an enjoyer. what's your secret??

  5. i think i'm both, like molly. i definitely love to rock out to my ipod and chat with the girls while the miles fly by, especially on long runs). but when i do a quality run, like 6 x 800s, i love to push myself and relish in how hard it is. maybe that's because i know i get to have a recovery break before i start with the next 800, though. :)