istock_000004089957xsmall.jpg My keyboard died last night so I wasn't able to post this. Here it is.

Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable is the key to being successful in endurance sports.

As endurance athletes we are putting our body under stress every day. Races are especially uncomfortable as we push ourselves to the limits. Finding comfort in the uncomfortable feelings will allow you to turn off your thinking brain and just work. This is an obvious skill we all must learn. But what about the opposite?

The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live. - Leo F. Buscaglia

What about finding ways to make yourself uncomfortable with the comfortable? Do you remember when you started getting into your sport? Do you remember how everything was new and slightly scary? You constantly felt like you were jumping off the deep end into the unknown. That's exactly what you were doing. If you are like most triathletes your first season was addicting and totally a blast. What you most likely failed to realize was that the "jumping off the deep end" feelings were what made it so.

As time wears on we as athletes get comfortable. It's harder to make progress because we have settled into our rhythms of training. We have established training groups and positions within our training groups. Sometimes, in order to take a leap upwards in your training, you must once again jump off the deep end. Sometimes you have to do something that is scary again, something that leaves you with the feeling of "oh dear, I may really fail here". It's searching out and jumping off those ledges that keep you moving forward.

Don't get too comfortable with who you are at any given time - you may miss the opportunity to become who you want to be. - Jon Bon Jovi

So what is it that is stagnant in your training? If it's the swimming, are you swimming with a friendly group of masters swimmers that won't look down on you if you are having a hard day? Is the masters group down the street a bunch of sharks that will tap your feet and swim around you if you slow up for one second. Is your Sunday biking group a conglomerate of friends that use the ride to catch up on gossip, or is it a group that will drop you hard off the back without a second thought? Now I'm not saying that every training ride, run and swim needs to be all out. But is there that piece of your training that you really want to do better at, but you know you are comfortable where you are at? I'm giving you the permission to swim with the sharks, and bike with the boys who will drop you. Take a risk (unless it's your first season and every day is something new).