Ever since I became a triathlete and a marathoner the extent of my limits have become much more easily identifiable. There is no metric for the challenge, the taunting, the veritable beating that an endurance event, of any distance, inevitably delivers to is contenders.
Countless hours will spent physiclly preparing for race day. Meticulous effort will be dedicated to ensure that the body is being properly fueled with the right meals, supplements, and hydration techniques. The most experienced and accomplished endurace athletes will find themselves at a point on or before race day where their limits will become known to them.
It is important to acknowledge this limit when it happens so that the next time you find yourself at this point you can push past it. In my most recent marathon for example, I found myself somewhat comfortably familiar with the amount of pain my legs typically feel around the 35 kilometre mark. The first time I reached this distance in a race I allowed my stride to shorten and it took me about 6km to get it back. This most recent marathon I was able to maintain my pace based on experience and having reached that limit in a prior race.
Mental and / or physical limits can be reached during a training session or on race day. My personal preference is that I become familiar with these limits over the course of my training. This makes it easier to prepare physically and mentally for that particular limit; until of course you discover the next limit.
Another matter of great importance is finding people who will help you prepare for and exceed your limits. I am hoping that this training season will be my first injury free training season. The injuries I have experienced have set certain limits for me. These are limits that I wanted to exceed.
I have been incredibly fortunate to have had a very supportive group of people participate in that goal. My kiniesiologist from Symmetrix, my physiotherapist from Royal Centre Physiotherapy, my orthpaedic surgeon who repaired a torn labrum and Bankhardt lesion in my left shoulder and my vascular surgeon who addressed the issue of venous reflux in my left thigh.
My kiniesiologist did an amazing job in helping strengthen both my shoulder (after suffering 4 dislocations) and my personal resolve to ensure that on race day I was able to overcome the physical challenge. My shoulder surgeon successfully repaired my left shoulder and with the help of my physio, both of whom came highly recommended, not only do I have nearly 95% of my range of motion back (I was only supposed to get 85%) but I am swimming again and it continues toget stronger every day. I am very grateful for my vascular surgeon who solved my venous reflux problem and I am now running at a faster pace and with a longer stride than I my previous ability.
It is important to identify your limits and understand that you can exceed them. When you become cognizant or get introduced to a limit seek out people who will help you in pushing that limit to the extent that you have been able to exceed it. Acknowledge that this does not apply exclusively to sport. In fact it applies much more broadly on a much more regular basis to other areas and facets of our lives. I choose sport as the metaphor because there are natural translations.
Whether it is sport or another area my life I like to remember the following from the Symmetrix tag line… “Bounce back. Press Forward.”