I just learned a painful lesson. Actually, I already knew it but had tried to block it out for years. But, it has once again smacked me across the face, and it is going to cause me a bit of pain. Here it is…
If you want to reach your potential, you have to work really hard.
If you want to get faster, stronger, and better, it is going to be painful. I don’t mean work as hard as you did last year or even as hard as you did yesterday, as this will only result in you staying the same. I mean really work hard. You are going to need to go to some dark places that are not fun and really quite painful. You are going to need to do it often also. I know…it does not sound like fun which is why I have tried to block this reality out for the past couple years.
Unfortunately (sort of), I got faster by embracing this reality. For the past couple months, Coach Parker and I made it our goals to personally lock each other in a pain cave and refuse to open the door. We have done this through 1-2 really hard runs each week that have left both of us on the floor gasping for air. Guess what? We both have gotten faster than either of us have been in years and are approaching all-time PRs. Figure that!
Five years ago I made a commitment to the bike one winter. It was horrible!! I dug as deep as possible 2-3 times every week. Honestly, it left me with nightmares after it was over. It also left me with power numbers on the bike that I had never before dreamed of. It was worth it.
Since that season on the bike, I have searched “easier” methods of getting faster which involved less pain. I used my coach brain to convince myself that I could reach the same levels of improvement by crafting smarter workouts but not digging quite so deep. What I really needed was smarter workouts AND to dig deep!
This year is going to be painful, especially this off-season, but also incredibly rewarding. I plan to reach levels I have never before seen. It is going to hurt, but let me be clear that it is worth it. The feeling of accomplishment is amazing, and in truth, I feel most alive when I am lying on the floor gasping for air. I challenge everyone to join me – whatever your age or goal. Come into the pain cave with me – breakthroughs live here.