Posted by: Joe English | February 2, 2013

Training — Why do the Tough Get Going?

running-advice-bugWe’ve all heard the expression, “when the going get tough, the Tough get going.” I was wondering yesterday what it is that makes actually makes the tough “get going”? In other words, when the pressure and hurt is on, what makes certain people shrink away and others rise up to the challenge? I think that the answer is pretty simply put that they want something and have somewhere to go.

I’m reflecting on this because one of my athletes has really been struggling. She’s sent me messages that ask things like “why is this so hard” and “why isn’t this getting any easier?” In fact, this is one of the key themes of questions to us running coaches. And we understand that we’re dishing out hard work to people, so we aren’t surprised by the questions.

There are two things that I’d like you to think about today. The first is the value of the hard work itself and the second has to do with goals and desires. Let’s look at each in turn.

First, some portion of your running workouts are going to be hard, with hard here meaning that they push you to your limits and perhaps beyond them. One expression that you may have heard is that if your workouts aren’t hard then perhaps you aren’t getting much out of them. I think there is nugget of truth in that street wisdom. By pushing the body to our its limits and beyond, we force the body to activate our recovery and compensation pathways, leading us to greater heights and achievements for future performances. By pushing a little further, we are able to push even further the next time.

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  1. I think a big part of it is the fact that they WANT it to become really easy. If you don’t fall in love with the PROCESS of getting to where you want to be, it’s going to be one tough road where all you do is fight yourself until you most likely quit. Start loving what it takes to get there, and the rest will be history.

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