Summary of ‘The Transcendent Pain’ from the August, 2012 issue of Bicycling magazine

| July 23, 2012

by: Jenny Wojnar (newsletter 7/23/12)

I subscribe to the Bicycling magazine. I almost didn’t read the last article in the August issue that appeared to be a story about a challenging bike outing and how the writer conquered it. I find that instead of inspiring sometimes these type of articles make me feel like I’m a wimp and I don’t have what it takes.

But I’m glad I didn’t skip over it because it was one of the best readings I’ve done in a while. I got so excited with hope I decided to share some of the pointers. These are probably nothing new to seasoned athletes but I think they probably are to the newbies or would rather still be considered as a newbie. The basic premise of the article is that you are training hard and smart.

You can’t kill yourself. I don’t like feeling I could die any second in the middle of my workouts. Dying in the middle of a workout or a race is not the way I want to go. Apparently you can’t kill yourself during your athletic venture unless your brain is inhibited with some foreign substances. Our limitation is well below the point of death in typical conditions. Although you may feel like you are going to die you are not even close to it and it’s not going to happen. There are people who have a love of suffering. (I wonder who would fit this description.) These folks can’t wait to experience pain. I have been asking around but haven’t had anyone tell me that they workout because they love to feel pain yet. If you do love pain there are unlimited opportunities for feeling burning legs and lungs without the worry of killing yourself.

You can always go harder. I have said and I’ve heard other say it…. ‘I could have gone harder.’ This has been proven in experiments but it is a bit of a challenge unless you love to feel pain.

You can trick your brain. You can command the pain to go away. You can transfer your pain and send it off using an imaginary or not so imaginary voodoo doll. You can pretend you are not feeling the pain. Some people are able to zone out from the pain. Apparently the pain even subsides after a certain point for some people. I haven’t been able to do any of these yet.

Put a new perspective. Instead of pain refer to it as a ‘physical discomfort.’ Unfortunately it looks to me that progress comes with experiencing a lot of physical discomforts. I loved the statement that a stronger rider is not the best but you can be a mediocre and be great. May be you’ll never fall in love with physical discomfort but for the sake of progress you will need to find your own way to manage it.

Don’t be your own worst enemy. “If you get to the limit where you thought you would give up, your body shuts down. You’ve already convinced yourself, that’s it.” After all the hard work you put in, you will definitely want to stay away from this thought.

Happy training and racing

Category: 2012, Team Blog

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