Last Updated on July 1, 2018 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP, CSCS
This post brought to you by Tuesday night’s GORUCK training (in other words, carrying 30+ lbs …65+ lbs for Geoff… up a tiny 1370′ hill in the late August Vermont humidity. It surprised me how much it hurt.)
The Five Phases of Training “Suck”
Phase One: Optimism.
Duration: 0-5 minutes from start of workout.
During this phase, the adrenaline is running high on the anticipation of what is to come. You feel like a badass for stepping up to train like a badass, while your brain completely side steps the fact that this is going to hurt. A lot.
“Alright! I’m ready for a killer workout! Sure this bag is heavy…really heavy…but I’m an athlete! This will be a great training session. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I LOVE WHAT I DO! Let’s go!”
Phase Two: Reality
Duration: 5-25 minutes from start of workout.
Reality hits like a ton of bricks (in your rucksack.) Violently ripped away are the rose-colored thoughts of the glory of your badass workout, and instead all you are faced with is the “suck”.
“Holy sh*t this bag is heavy. That pinching between my shoulder blades cannot be good. And why am I wheezing? Did I start a three pack a day smoking habit and not realize it? That pinching, it really HURTS. If I had a chiropractor, she/he would probably lecture me about how ridiculous this is, tell me to take up lawn darts or something far less grueling. And why is my knee crackling with every step? I’m falling apart. 32 years old and falling apart. Could I whine some more? Suck it up, buttercup, you asked for this. Do buttercups whine a lot anyway? Why are they always being told to suck it up? WHY WON’T THAT PINCHING BETWEEN MY SHOULDER BLADES GO AWAY? “
Phase Three: Numbness
Duration: 25 minutes from start of workout to about 30 minutes before the end of the workout.
This phase typically hits without warning. If you are lucky, you will consciously become aware of the fact that your body has accepted the “suck”, and everything feels a little easier. But chances are you won’t become aware of the fact that things stopped hurting…until they start hurting again.
“(singing whatever random song is stuck in my head, on repeat, for hours.)”
If you are climbing a mountain, or doing an out and back course, chances are you will reach the summit (or halfway point) and take a break. If so, fully expect to return to phase one and work your way back down the list, again.
Phase Four: Grit
Duration: from the moment that you realize you are relatively close to the end of the workout, until you actually reach the end destination.
This phase is completely relative to how much time you have left in the workout. Though it may be short distance wise, it will feel like it lasts forever. Kind of like the way time seemed to stop on the last school day before Christmas vacation when you were a kid, and you felt like the day would never end.
“This hurts again. How did I not appreciate all of that time before when I forgot to consciously realize it had stopped hurting? Oh well, I’m almost done. One step, two step, one step, two step. You know what would be good right now? Pizza. And a cold beer. Mmmm. This workout totally deserves a pizza. I must have burned what, 4 gazillion calories. WOW this hurts. And this workout really sucked. But at least we’re almost done. Or at least I think we are almost done. Is it just me, or is this the longest mile EVER? Maybe my GPS is broken. I do not look forward to ever doing this again.”
Phase Five: Selective Amnesia.
Duration: the second you sit down in the car and head home.
You know how women go through the excruciating, body part tearing, child birthing process, and then a few months later think “that wasn’t so bad, let’s do it again“?
Yeah. It’s like that.
(And I love it.)