Look at your breathing. How often are you breathing? Is it through your mouth or nose? Are you breathing in on the left step or the right step? You should make sure you are breathing through your nose and that it has some regular pattern to it.
You need to create some mental scenario so that you get get through the pain. For example, when I am running hills I imagine I need to get to the top to avoid a massive water tsunami that is about to hit the bottom of the hill. I know it sounds childish but it really does work and motivate you to forget about the pain.
If you are firmly concentrating on your goal you will find that nothing else matters. For example, if you have decided that you will run flat out for 20 minutes then it shouldn’t matter how much your lungs hurt – you should just keep going.
How to push through general pain barriers
A general pain barrier is like when you lose sight of your goals. You feel like you are depressed and no longer enjoy the exercise as much. My best mate and I often talk about this; we lost motivation for martial arts during high school and it was hard to get back.
1. Examine your motivation
Find out why you are doing what you are doing. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to get healthy? If the motivation is a good one you should reinforce it and get back on the horse. However, if you motivation is poor and self centered you will find it hard to maintain that intensity.
2. Set solid goals
Write down your goals and promise you won’t stop til you achieve them. They should be quite easy to reach but at the same time challenging. They should be very specific. For example, don’t say “I want to lose weight” say “I want to lose exactly 10 kilograms”. That way you will have something to fight for.
3. Remember why you started
I started martial arts because I loved the styles and the history. I wasn’t interested in learning how to kill someone. When I remembered that I found I was much more motivated to go to training. Try and reconnect with why you started doing what you are now losing motivation for.
Pain barriers you SHOULDN’T push through
There are certain types of pain barriers you should never try to push through. For example, if you get an injury while playing sport you should immediately sit out and not try to keep playing. Or, if you feel some sort of chest pain you have never had before you need to get to a hospital. It is important to distinguish between a regular exercise pain barrier and an injury that could seriously damage your health.