Do We Love Pain?

The following is an article that I copied from a trail running book which I want to share to my readers, whether you are a newbie runner or an accomplished/competitive ultra runner. You can share also your answer to the said question on the title.

Do We Love Pain? 

Not long ago, I posted the question on a blog site: “Are we endurance athletes driven by the solipsistic need for self-validation, as in, ‘we hurt, therefore we are’; or is it that we love the pain and exertion and, therefore, more is better?”

The answers were quite edifying so I thought I’d share them:

–Personally, I love it–the pain, I mean. But most importantly, I view the pain as the engine to drive me to reach my goals. In other words, I know I’m hurting because I’m on hour four of a six-hour effort and that I’m that much closer to seeing nature in full effect. Or, that the pain is getting me through a technical uphill section. The pain is an indication that I’m do-ing!

–I train so I don’t hurt any more.

–I tend to agree; when I was most prepared to race, pain wasn’t much of a factor. The validation came in competing against others.

 –I was getting massage last night, and the therapist asked, “You do work your body hard, don’t you? What is your motivation?” I didn’t know what to say, mainly because my face was being shoved into the hole as he stretched my calf and it was hard to talk anyway…but he made me think. I don’t know that I have a good answer, but I agree that training is to avoid future pain, I also know that I absolutely love being out in the wilderness, and the harder I train, the more time I am able to spend in that environment.

–It’s all about the balance. You feel so good afterwards because you suffered through the pain during it. The sweetness of completing something wouldn’t be the same if it was easy to do. Being in pain, working through it, and finishing bring the accomplishment more meaning.

–I say it’s like most things in life: combo platter.

–I don’t love pain…but it makes me stronger, and in that way it helps me achieve my goals. I think the key to the answer lies within our personal goals.

–Balance. For me it’s all about the three-part teeter totter: sport, family, work. Each causes (good) pain the harder you try at it, and all must be in balance to make each truly meaningful.

–Maybe we like the pain. Maybe we’re wired that way. Because without it, I don’t know, maybe we just wouldn’t feel real. What’s that saying? “Why do I keep hitting myself with a hammer? Because it feels so good when I stop.” I can’t take credit for the qoute, but it seems somewhat appropriate.

–I love it and think that more is fun but moderation is the key to longevity and health. I’m enjoying my Boston Marathon hangover. Pain is relative. I just wish I could recover quicker!

–If pain feels good, if pain = pleasure, then is it really pain? But I am proud to be one of the finish-line crossers so maybe pain = proud.

–It’s not the pain that’s enjoyable, it’s the feeling of accomplishment and daily reinforcement that your body is adapting—getting stronger and/or faster. Pain is a reminder that you pushed hard. We need to be more aware about the weakest point in our body, as that seems to break first. Strengthen the weakest part to keep the rest in balance.

–So many times I’ve been asked if I love pain. Or, why do I put myself through all this “insane training and criminal early (very early) morning runs?” And I have questioned myself, too: why? I love pain, I do, it make me feel alive! It makes me feel I trained, I paid my dues, I have a right to be where I am. Too crazy? Maybe.

(Source: The Ultimate Guide To Trail Running: 2nd Edition by Adam Chase & Nancy Hobbs. Guilford, Connecticut: 2010; pages 71-73)


One thought on “Do We Love Pain?

  1. Pingback: Do We Love Pain? « Bald Runner |

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