Working to Fail or Why I Train

Posted by piphunt on November 6, 2010 in Adventures of Pip, Fitness |

Failure isn’t something many of us readily accept in our daily lives. After all, it is un-American to fail. But as the cliché goes, failure can make us stronger.

Ironically, I’ve been pushing myself to the point of failure a lot lately. Bailing on squats, cleans, or dead lifts has become part of my daily routine. But today, I pushed that limit too far. There is an important psychological moment, where you can push through the “I have no more left” to discover your reserves, but sometimes, there simply isn’t any gas left in the tank. It is hard to define when you can keep pushing, or when you really do need to take a break. The question is, how do you learn to distinguish these two types of exhaustion?

As an athlete, it is important to learn how your body functions under stress and exhaustion, but as a skier, these skills can be critical. This is why I train. Training gives me the confidence to head into different environments and know that I have the physical and mental strength to conquer what is ahead of me. It gives me the confidence to know that hiking and skiing all day in the backcountry will not completely destroy me. Crossfit does not only give me physical confidence, but mental also. Crossfit may be a training method, but it is also a game; a game where you don’t quit no matter how tired you are. It forces me to reach into my mental reserves to find the strength to finish a WOD. Sometimes this is more difficult than others, and sometimes, you have to learn how to say enough is enough.

Today was one of those days; one of those days where heading into the backcountry would have been a bad idea, because physically and mentally, I simply wasn’t up to the challenge. My body was in need of a break. This break was a result of multiple things, three hard workouts in a row, not eating enough, and not getting enough sleep. When one of these things happens, I can usually pull through and at least finish the WOD, but today, the culmination of all three had me lying on the ground after round two. I didn’t want to stop. I didn’t want to fail, to bonk, to just quit, but sometimes it is better to stop than to keep pushing forward. Being dizzy, nauseous, and exhausted are not the keys to success in push presses or box jumps. I had to suck up my pride and call it a day.

Today, get out there and work hard. Work to the point of falling over, then get back up and try it again. In yoga, we are taught to laugh at our failures, take them lightly, because we will soon learn the balance and strength to maintain the poses we struggle with. But we are also taught to listen to our bodies, and move with its grace. Today, work hard, respect the grace of your body, and laugh at your little failures.

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