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5 ways to boost your pain tolerance

MAR 8, 2023

Minute 1: How to handle the pain cave

“The pain you feel today will be the strength you gain tomorrow.” “Pain is just weakness leaving the body.” "Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional."

Pick your favorite cliche on pain and it probably contains some fact and some fiction. Runners and endurance athletes know for certain that pain is anything but make-believe. Pain management is a big part of athletic success, and it’s an aspect that can be developed like any other skill, according to this new story: “How To Increase Pain Tolerance: 5 Methods To Improve Yours.” Performing intense exercise will force you to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Then, once you return to a moderate exertion level, things don't seem so bad by comparison. It can also help tolerate pain by vocalizing your reaction. Studies have shown that yelling “Ow!” can actually ease pain. To find tips on mental conditioning for an upcoming race, check out: “Running and the Science of Mental Toughness.” When it comes to slowing down or stopping during exercise, experts are still debating whether the body signals the brain to quit, or vice versa. Professor Samuele Marcora of Kent University thinks mental fatigue plays a far bigger role than physical. In other words, when motivation wanes, the pain becomes too much and we choose to slow down. One of the most proven methods of squeezing out that last bit of motivation is remembering that pain will pass. That’s one of “3 Mental Training Tips for Getting Better at Dealing with Pain.”

Minute 2: The best hotels for fitness fanatics

A guilty pleasure of many parents who travel for work is that they enjoy a little me-time, according to this NYT story from a few years ago: “Working Mothers Find Some Peace on the Road.” For runners, this also means a chance to log a few miles without pushing a baby jogger or cutting the workout short to ensure the kids haven’t put the cat in the microwave. Being on the road provides an escape from everyday worries, but it can also be intimidating or boring to run in a new city. (We have logged way too many out-and-back runs on flat, busy roads.) That’s why we applaud Westin Hotels for offering services specifically meant to help road runners. As part of its “Westin Keeps You Running” program, the hotel chain offers several 3-mile and 5-mile maps at their properties, as well as more than 250 Run Concierge employees to help guide your journey. That’s why they’re one of “The Best Hotels for Runners” according to Runner’s World. In addition, many other hospitality industry players have stepped up their game for travelers who don’t want to leave their workouts at home: “These Hotels Are Making In-Room Fitness Core to Their Brand.” Having a solid fitness center is a start, but hotels recognize that in-room fitness is an attractive option for those with a busy schedule or who prefer privacy. That’s why EVEN and other hotels are stocking rooms with equipment like TRX straps, yoga mats, and spin bikes. For more ideas on how to stay fit, check out: “Hotel Room Workouts You Can Do Anywhere.” Each of these workouts have a circuit to target the core, upper, and lower body, so even if your equipment is limited, your results won’t be. (BTW, for an energetic and funny take on running as an away game, check out our latest post from Dara Zall Kelly as she tries to train for the Boston Marathon while on a family trip to Barcelona.)

Minute 3: Easy food can still be healthy

Who says eating healthy means sacrificing convenience? While many easy meals are often processed, pre-made, or pricey, it doesn’t have to be that way. One extremely popular option for fast, but healthy cuisine is explored in this new story from LIVESTRONG: “How Bad Is It Really to Eat Air-Fried Foods Every Day?” Air Fryers eliminate the need for excessive breading and oils used when deep frying, reducing the number of calories in your wings or fried veggies. They’re also smaller than a traditional oven, making them quick to heat up. Speaking of (potentially) healthy and (definitely) convenient, granola bars are one of the most flexible options available, as described in this new story: “The 12 Best Granola Bars of 2023, According to a Dietitian.” There’s something for everyone on this list, whether you’ve got allergies, eat vegan, prefer gluten free, or are on a budget. If you love granola and want to add even more nutritional value, try one of these two “Yogurt with Granola” recipes. They’ve got plenty of fiber and antioxidants, helping to improve your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and gut health.

Minute 4: 20 ways to reinvigorate your running

As Paul Simon sang in 1975, when a relationship gets stale, there are “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover.” In a similar vein, when your passion for running wanes, instead of slipping out the back, Jack, you may want to reinvigorate your training with one of these: “20 Ways to Become a Better Runner.” Doing a new kind of workout can really stoke the fire under you. In Minute 2 of our last issue, we covered stair training and stair climbing competitions. Now, we’re continuing our ascent with good old fashioned hill workouts, with a catch: “Hate hills? Here’s an easy hill workout.” Head to your favorite local training hill and instead of running it all the way to the top, go halfway and jog back down. Repeat this 10 to 20 times, making sure to emphasize proper form. The idea is that instead of burning yourself out trying to reach the top, you go far enough to maintain a fast pace, developing your strength and speed without emptying the tank every interval. Next on the list of ideas is to find a new running route. Here is “Using Running as a Way to Explore.” Assuming you feel safe enough, allowing yourself to get a bit lost lets you find new routes and learn about your surroundings. Different courses are an opportunity to focus on your environment, rather than the aches and fatigues that come with running.

Minute 5: Quick Intervals

  • Last week, we were impressed by the reveal of the Garmin Forerunner 265 and 965. Garmin devices featured heavily on this new list of: “The 8 best fitness trackers for each type of user.” Other watches receiving positive reviews include the Apple Watch SE and the Fitbit Charge 5. If you need something stylish, affordable, or specific to your training style, this list will help you narrow down the options and find the perfect fit.

  • We’re often asking ourselves “how” questions, like how to get faster, or how to improve recovery. Sometimes, it’s important to step back and see the bigger picture, and that happens when you start asking the “why” questions. Ryan Montgomery knows all about that, and if you’re in need of some deep motivation, it could be time to check out: “Ultrarunner Ryan Montgomery’s Tips For Reconnecting With Your ‘Why’.” Understanding your “why” can help deal with the pain cave we mentioned in Minute 1.

  • The FDA and food manufacturers are having a cafeteria fight over what qualifies as a “healthy” meal. Industry reps say the new requirements are too strict. On the other hand, novel scientific research has changed what we know about ingredients and how they affect our health, so the update could be a much needed shift toward reputable guidelines. See where you stand on this “Food fight: FDA is redefining ‘healthy’ and food industry is pushing back.”

  • Our favorite Boston Marathon blogger, Dara Zall Kelly, is back with a trip report from Barcelona. If you’ve ever wondered how best to survive a long overseas flight, avoid smoking pedestrians, and deal with awkward stares at your yellow jog bra in the middle of “winter” in Spain, you need to check out Dara’s Boston Marathon training update. As always, it is bursting with energy, self-deprecation and wit.

  • Our favorite Boston Marathon blogger, Dara Zall Kelly, is back with a trip report from Barcelona. If you’ve ever wondered how best to survive a long overseas flight, avoid smoking pedestrians, and deal with awkward stares at your yellow jog bra in the middle of “winter” in Spain, you need to check out Dara’s Boston Marathon training update. As always, it is bursting with energy, self-deprecation and wit.

Minute 6: Daily Inspiration

We know plenty of runners who raise money for a charity to get into a marathon. There are plenty of benefits to that arrangement, of course, but in an ideal world, the runner would have a deep connection to the charity providing the bib. Kristina Coccoluto is a runner whose charity connection is profoundly personal, since every woman on Coccoluto’s mother’s side of the family has been diagnosed with either breast or ovarian cancer. Doctors identified a gene mutation that also puts Kristina at high risk for both cancers as well. She had already had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy when – only 28 weeks before the marathon – she underwent a prophylactic hysterectomy in October. That reduced her cancer risk from a near certainty to single digit risk. Hoping for a better solution for other women, Kristina and her sisters are teaming up to run the Boston Marathon this year to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. She has a lot in common with Mike Squillante, who was diagnosed with a kind of brain cancer called Grade II Astrocytoma. After emergency surgery in August 2021, only 235 days later Mike finished the 2022 Boston Marathon. Mike is a fit young father of two adorable children and seems undeterred by the fact that life expectancy is only eight years for patients with his type of cancer. There is currently no cure, so Mike is literally running for his life in the Jersey City Marathon this April, raising money for the National Brain Tumor Society. We wish both of these runners luck in their brave fight. Check out their fundraising pages by clicking on their names above and check out Kristina’s moving story in the video below.


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