Get Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Gilbert Ayoub September 6, 2018
I read an article recently by Lisa Kimmel about public speaking and presentations. Coincidentally, my son Christopher has to do presentations at his job, he joined an organization called Toastmasters which has over 350,000 members across 143 countries. Its mission is to: "empower individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders". Over my years as a coach, I’m constantly told by athletes how they are not good at hills, wind, heat, choppy water, and more.
Our bodies are amazing adaptive machines. They change and reconfigure to meet our needs. A good coach looks for the weak link and creates training sessions that will trigger your body to adapt. More importantly, your brain has to adapt. It sets limitations based on experiences. Before you can push your physical limits you have to get its permission. So what does this mean? Have you heard the story about the frog in boiling water? If you throw a frog in boiling water it will jump right out. But if you put a frog in cool water and turn up the heat gradually is will stay. You have to give its brain time to readjust to its limitations.
Let’s talk about our limitations
Racing at anaerobic threshold
Hold HR threshold for short periods with rest in between intervals. The interval length should be your decision, do not wait for your body to shut down. Gradually you will notice that your heart rate is getting a little higher and that you can maintain the intervals longer. You are pushing back your limitations. Your training should aim to develop the sustainable HR you require for your events. It will never be comfortable to hold 180 bpm but it will now be possible.
Competing in hot conditions
The same thing applies when training for events that will take place in very warm conditions. If you train in a cooler area then over dress to adapt to the feeling of overheating. Another method is to train indoors with the heat on. Once you’ve created the conditions you need, start pushing back the limitations with short periods of exposure and soon you will be doing entire workouts at the desired temperature.
Whatever your limitations, use this process to push back those limits.