Pushing Yourself

Pushing Yourself

By Steve Pavlina

This morning I went for my usual run, starting before dawn(dôn). Lately I’ve been going for 45-50 minutes. This time, however, I was listening to the audiobook Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins. After hearing the part about his 100-mile run and how he had to push himself to get through it, I felt like I should push myself more as well. So I kept running for an hour, then 75 minutes, and finally decided to stop at 93 minutes.

This was hill running since my neighborhood is very hilly(ˈhilē), so almost all the running I do nearby is either uphill or downhill.

Normally after a morning run, I feel pretty good. It gives me a sense of accomplishment early in the day and gets me off to a good start. I see a strong link between focus and productivity and cardio(ˈkärdēō) exercise. No matter how much I’ve experimented with other types of exercise, nothing takes the place of cardio in terms of the mental and emotional benefits.

This morning instead of feeling a modest(ˈmädəst) sense of accomplishment, it felt way better to run twice as far as I normally would. I’ve done many 90-minute runs before, but not lately and not this year. It felt so nice to stretch beyond what I’m used to. It wasn’t physically difficult, but I had to nudge(nəj) myself mentally to go beyond what feels normal to me now. Running for 45 minutes feels pretty routine(ro͞oˈtēn). Running 90 minutes feels different though, somehow beyond normal. It makes the whole day feel special.

There’s something magical about pushing beyond normal, going outside of the usual zone of comfort. The barrier(ˈberēər) is usually mental or emotional. Even if it’s a physical challenge, the mind wants to stop before the body needs to.