By: Coach Jake Saenz
“Fatigue makes cowards of us all…”
– General George S. Patton
What is quitting?
A conscious change in behavior due to external factors, in this case physical stress and discomfort.
Note, that I used the term “conscious” as in you have elected to change your behavior which is very different from being forced to change your behavior.
Breaking down mentally is not the same as breaking down physically.
One is a choice, the other isn’t.
What we’ve found over time is that there are many degrees of quitting, it’s not so black and white as most of us think.
We typically associate quitting with the “Fuck it – I’m done” decision.
To us, it’s not so clear cut.
Every small decision and action made to alleviate physical discomfort is a degree of quitting.
- Taking more rest than is prescribed
- Stopping a circuit to turn on a fan
- Stopping, or slowing down, early
- Shortening the range of motion of an exercise to make it easier
- Reducing the load of an exercise when it is not necessary
- Getting water, when not needed, which unless the effort extends beyond 30 minutes, it is not needed
- Slowing down, when a decrease in pace when not necessary
- Walking while transitioning from one movement to another
- Stopping to wipe sweat
Our bodies do not like discomfort. It is our natural instinct to alleviate this whenever possible.
When discomfort exceeds our individual threshold we start to modify our behaviors in pursuit of comfort.
The “individual” portion of that last sentence is the important part. We all have different thresholds when it comes to discomfort. And THAT – our individual threshold – is what we are trying to change.
By learning to deal with discomfort through challenging work capacity efforts we can push our threshold for discomfort higher!
Not, let’s clarify a few things:
- It does not apply to stopping due to a risk of injury. That is not quitting, that is training smart.
- It does not apply to stopping or modifying load due to muscular failure.
- It only applies to Work Capacity or Threshold training.
So now that we’ve kind of cleared up what it is, ask yourself:
“Am I quitting during my training?”
If the answer is a hard “No” than there is a good chance that you aren’t actually pushing yourself, because all of us will quit to some degree during our training.
Fully adhering to the prescribed intensity requires a very high level of not only discipline, but motivation. Especially during gym based efforts where there is no instantaneous gauge of intensity such as a track, rower, or bike monitor. All we have to go off of is “feel.”
So, our goal is:
- To minimize the frequency of this behavior
- To minimize the degree of this behavior
The next time you do a hard session, think about this, and try to identify when it happens, and whether you are being forced to do it, or are you just looking for some way to alleviate that discomfort!
Part Two: Why and How to train Mental Resilience – Coming soon