How to Harden Up and Learn Not to Quit

I am going to be honest with you. I like you guys.

In fact, you are the best blog readers that I've ever had. And, because I'm getting to know you all so well I know that you would never say anything to intentionally hurt my feelings.

So I feel I have to warn you. As well are we may all be getting along right now, if you ever see me running in the street and say "You're a natural runner!" I may punch you in the face.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a violent man. It's just that, for me anyway, even though I do enjoy it at times, there is a very simple formula "Running = Pain".

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So suggesting that any part of the process may be natural does not acknowledge what pain I have had to go through to get to this point.

A typical run for me goes like this.

  1. I leave my house and run about 200 metres feeling like an olympian (so far so good).
  2. Then the first strike. My knee, or my ankle, or my wrist, or even my brain suddenly stings like I have just had a syringe injected into the muscle. And I'm talking about one of those foot long horse needles not the pansy human ones! (localised pain strikes).
  3. I take the next few 400-500 metres trying to decide if the pain coming from that joint will force me to stop. (I am 95% sure that it will).
  4. Eventually it either partly repairs itself or the pain in the rest of my body catches up and evens out in general Pain Expo. Every individual muscle now has it's own booth at the Pain Expo and is desperate to tell its story to any part of my consciousness that may be listening.
  5. Finally I settle in to a rhythm and let the pain take over until I stop. This can be anywhere from 30-90 minutes depending on how far I intend to run.

Usually I'll only do 2-3kms and then do a gym workout but lately I pushed it up to a 6km run as I'm preparing to enter the "Tough Mudder" 21km assault course, again this year.

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The lesson I learnt this week however is that I'm not running extra to improve my stride. I'm not even running extra so that I can handle the larger 21km distance.

I'm running extra so that I can improve my pain threshold.

And for me running is one of the best ways to do it because as I have already said Running = Pain.

So really when I stop and think about it what I am doing is "Drinking my cement" to borrow a well known phrase, in an effort to "Harden the F up".

Not completing the Tough Mudder (short of suffering a major injury) is not an option. However to do that I am going to have to suck up a world of pain and work though it.

I will be competing in this event alone again this year because when I get like this I prefer my own company. You could say that I would prefer to suffer alone but the logic stays the same for team sports regardless.

You may be thinking to yourself "I don't run! What's in this story for me?"

It doesn't matter if you play sport, compete in chess, bake cakes or drive a dodgy car across Australia. If you are not up for the task then you don't get the reward at the end, whatever that may be.

When you are coming up for your challenge ask yourself:

  • What have you done to get here.
  • How hardened have you become?
  • Have done the research, pounded the miles, read the book?
  • Have you learnt to accept the pain?
  • Have you learnt not to quit?

If you work hard and do well I promise not to call you a "Natural" because I will know how hard you worked to get there.

What pain are you going through at the moment for the greater good? Let me know that I'm not alone by leaving a comment below...

Written by Andrew Hood: I am a father of 3 and have spent over 20 years in Sales and Customer Service within the IT Industry.
My blog discusses the Tipping Point moments in my life where I have learnt important life lessons that I am looking to share with like minded people. These moments often occur through my private life, career or even my struggles with Anxiety and Depression over the years. My Blog is mainly about personal and career development and the pursuit of happiness in general.

Andrew wrote another great post about The Subtle Art of Self Promotion which you can read here.