What drives you to push limits?
We all have our own reasons. But I bet you have some that you don’t tell anyone. Reasons you push yourself to add miles, run through pain, and go faster that don’t fit into the typical romantic bubble of motivational quotes you find on the internet about running. Like this one:
It’s not that there’s no truth in this stuff but it’s just not the whole picture. What’s the real truth about why we push ourselves?
I’m going to assume for a minute that many of us grown-up runners were once really good little girls and boys. We followed the rules for the most part and avoided disappointing others, often at the expense of our own comfort and happiness. A lot of us runners were quiet and unsure of how to stand up for ourselves and let our voices be heard.
Many of us were afraid of the sound of our own voices.
And so we found a way to communicate with the world that did not require words – we ran.
Finally, we could just breathe and move our legs with total freedom to be authentically ourselves. But maybe the good little boys and girls can’t “just be themselves” for long and feel its enough. No, we have to push past comfort because really what else have we ever known? After expending effort trying to be good for everyone else, why, as athletes, do we have to prove that we can push harder into the “pain zone” and then push past it altogether?
The truth about why we push is directly linked to the unfinished business we carry with us at all times. It’s different for everyone, but it has a dark side, an edge, a secret. It always involves fear.
The truth about why I push myself is that I’m afraid of what I would miss out on if I didn’t. I’m afraid of being disappointed in myself. I want to live a worthy life, and I was taught that a worthy life is not a comfortable one. I push harder because I want to be bigger and more awesome than any of the people in my life who wanted me to be small.
I know I have to teach myself to see the dark side of my training for what it is, and not “believe” those reasons, even though they are still there. I am learning to tolerate comfort over discomfort.
Sounds strange but I bet some of you can relate. Does your training have a dark side? Do you ever push yourself too hard out of fear?