There are two types of pain.
Type I pain: Pain you don’t want. Genuine pain bought on by horrible occurrences. Illness, injury or heart break. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I’m lucky enough to have rarely experienced this.
Type II pain: Pain you want and seek. You feel it in your lungs when you run fast. You feel it in your legs half way up that hill. Horrendous in the moment, but a drug once its done. This is pain I would wish on anyone.
My problem is this: my body can sustain the pain, but my mind cannot. I recently read that the brain is the strongest muscle in the body. I find that when it is weaker than the strongest body, it is stronger.
Two kilometeres into the Ironman Switzerland marathon I had I mentally capitulated. My heart rate was high and by breathing was fast and shallow. That was all it took for me to start walking. From that point onwards I was deep in Type II pain.
I could argue that I wasn’t fit enough for the Ironman, I could have shuffled to the end. To do that I needed to overcome my weak brain. The Type II pain was too much. It was more pleasant to walk than run. So that is what I did.
I am never walking an Ironman marathon again. To do that I need to be fit in body and mind.
Training your body to be better requires you to do the movements you want to be better. Over and over, consistently over time.
The same applies to your brain. I need to experience more Type II pain and challenge myself to persist through it.
As I am sat here typing this I am so eager to tackle a training session that will give me the pain I want. Tomorrow morning I have a tough interval run.
Will I be happy about the Type II pain in the final interval as I grit my teeth? I doubt it. If I can get through it with the my brain improved. Able to endure another few seconds of Type II than I could yesterday. It was a success.