NAIl THE TRAILS #6: Feel The Pain!
How to achieve your trail running goals in ten significant steps.
(Continued from Tip #5: Listen to your Heart)
There’s no getting around this one. If you take up trail running and/or ultra running, you will hurt. You will hurt after a tough speed work out, you will hurt after a long day on the trails, and you will hurt like hell after giving it your all on a long-distance trail race. Chances are also likely that you’ll frequently feel your twitch muscles rebuilding overnight, and that you’ll wake up sore at least a few times during the year; it’s all cause and effect, part of the wider “no pain, no gain” cliché.
Fighting through the agony during a tough work-out or a race is a matter of mental fortitude, a lot of which only comes with experience – and it’s not something I think anyone ever feels they have mastered. But the pain, assuming it’s not an injury (which makes for a different topic entirely), is fleeting at worst. There are plenty ways by which to mitigate and cure it (I recommend the ice bath, though I realize others might consider that just further pain!) and hopefully the positive endorphin flow will more than make up for the temporary discomforts.
If not, just look on the bright side. I mean, seriously, we all choose to do this. Others are not so fortunate. Climbing Slide Mountain on the Cat’s Tail Trail Marathon, a solid 1500ft ascent with nary a level break, I found myself likening it to a death march. Then I remembered being in Sandakan, Borneo last year, learning about the real Death March of the Allied Soldiers at the hands of the Japanese, and I shut me the fuck right up. Before I knew it, I was up top of Slide – very much alive and kicking, and feeling absolutely blessed.
Continue to Part 7: Give Back.