Over the past several months, I have been thinking about Ben Bergeron’s thoughts about the difference between pain and discomfort.
“Your workouts aren’t painful. Pain is stepping on a nail or losing loved one. What you are experiencing is just discomfort, and you can handle high levels of discomfort for very long periods of time.” - Ben Bergeron
In my fourth year of CrossFit, the most common ‘compliment’ that I’ve received from my peers is that I’m ‘good at pacing’ and that I ‘keep moving at a steady pace’. In other words, I’m never going to set any records, but I trudge along consistently.
During my training, I have seen consistent improvements and even more so since improving my diet in the middle of 2016. The past six months of training have resulted in many significant PRs. Many of these have carved minutes or adding rounds to previous attempts.
That noted, I still felt as though my ability to pace was really just an excuse for not wander into the unknown outside my area of comfort.
Yet Bergeron’s quote about pain and discomfort has continually gnawed at me.
That was until 17.1.
During the rounds of 40 and 50 dumbbell snatches, I had moments when my legs were on fire. The turning point went like this:
1) My legs are feeling exhausted and I think about putting the dumbbell down for a break.
2) I think about the pain/discomfort idea and decide to try another repetition.
3) The dumbbell locks out overhead.
4) I realize that I might be feeling a lot of discomfort, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep completing reps.
My time of 18:25 won’t set me on the road to Madison but it was a product of finally breaking away the crutch of pacing. A pathway for more progress is finally open.