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Pain threshold as a limiting factor(10 posts)

Pain threshold as a limiting factorMichelle
May 21, 2001 3:28 PM
So it was the third time climbing the killer 2 mile hill at the RR this weekend. It was one of those moments when you really think your legs are going to sieze, your lungs collapse and your head explode. Reflecting afterward, I see that we all set pain boundaries for ourselves (which are constantly challenged in cycling), but how do we learn, or what can we do to push past those to get stronger? I mean, when you really feel like you're going to fall over is that the time to push harder? Does it just take time to raise the pain threshold?

re: Pain threshold as a limiting factorJon Billheimer
May 21, 2001 6:04 PM
Hey Michelle,

Try a lobotomy. You know, no sense no feeling? Seriously, though, what some sports psychologists say is to focus intensely on the pain sensations and try to neutralize them by observing them. Never works for me, though.
re: Pain threshold as a limiting factorspox
May 22, 2001 2:50 AM
one good reason to go to lab. When you know your anaerobic threshold, you know how much you kick yourself when training 'upper end' and so you get used to that burn...

tastetastetaste... ;)
re: Pain threshold as a limiting factorDuane Gran
May 22, 2001 5:56 AM
One of the other people touched on an issue I would like to expand a little. There are two common ways that people deal with discomfort. They either distract their mind from it, or they focus in and listen to their body, even if it means listening to pain. Consistently the latter approach provides better results.

I've hardly begun to tap my threshold, but a time trialist on my team explained it in a very good way. He says that the body has various ways of letting you know that you are approaching your limit before you get there, but the challenge is to realize that these "layers" of discomfort feel like the limit. Therefore, most people stop short of their potential because of the pain. He is familiar with these layers, down to the mental state, the taste in his mouth and his physioligical (sp?) reactions. For example, on a very streneous time trial he will lose color vision momentarily. He is pretty sure that this is the last layer and that he has found the limit.

I think this is pretty personal stuff, but by all means one shouldn't ride until he or she falls over. I think most people attempt to discover these limits under controlled environments, like on a trainer.
differnt layers of pain....jayz
May 22, 2001 7:11 AM
i believe that you probably have a few more "layers" of pain PAST the point that you go anaerobic... some people can deal with that a little more than others...
your LT, shouldnt be the point of puking...but you should be feelin a little pain.

in a race, i have found that i am anaerobic quite a bit..especially in mnt biking...
for example: watershed wahoo this weekend..
my ave HR was 193 for 1.5hrs (my max is around 208)
IGNORE the painOld Guy
May 22, 2001 9:48 AM
Some posters here say it's most important to listen to your pain.

I only agree to a point. When you're in the middle of a long effort, it is of course important to pace yourself, and listening to what your body is telling you helps that pacing.

The final sprint after a long day is NOT the time to listen to your body, however. There is absolutely nothing your body is going to say that will help you go faster. You're in serious, serious pain and feel like you've got one foot in the grave. You don't, but do you really want that input when you're trying to win???

NO. You focus on the finish line, keep your peripheral in focus (as much as possible) and try to becaome a human fission reaction.

When you're done, you can say, "Fuk, that hurt." But you'll feel a whole lot better about yourself if you completely lay it out there.
Getting used to the pain.J.S.
May 22, 2001 2:05 PM
I would like to start out by saying that alot of people just don't have what it takes when it comes to dealing with pain, especially the self inflicted variety. It is one of the major limiting factors in our sport. I have found that since I started racing seriously last year I have begun to get used to the pain and suffering, it doesn't hurt less you just become familiar with it, almost relishing it. My best mental excercise is to think that others are hurting worse than me and that gives me a boost.
are you having a baby on the road?Breck
May 23, 2001 9:47 PM
just wondering cause the missus told me having the kid "the third time" was easier but still more pain than me will ever experience in a foot race or bike race. guess though if women had the kid every time she road raced would be more biking kids and a boom of competition later. for me will deal with the road pain gladly as damn sure glad you galz have the kids. whew, the last one was a little tuff on me though as had raced the morning before but recovered for the big event that evening as usual :)

That's why I love trainersJon(unreg)
May 25, 2001 9:49 AM
At least on a trainer, if you go too far, you're not falling onto tarmac, and there's no traffic to worry about wobbling into. Last winter, I used a bunch of the "Cyclerobx" tapes, including some really good ones for finding your limits, "Time Trial Special" and "Mental Toughness". Both have longer tempo sections and intervals where you can focus on just how bad you feel vs. heart rate, cadence, etc. It's defintely helped my racing, since I know now that when my vision starts to shimmer at the edges, that's it for me, but anything less, I can keep going until the legs fall off.
I've found that I have a pretty good pain threshhold, at least compared to others I train with, but that I tend to notice pain before others do. But hey, racing hurts, right?
I do find that focusing on what hurts and how much distracts me from the fact that it does hurt, and works better than ignoring it. There's also exertion pain and injury pain, and again, the training helps you recognize what's what. Injury pain doesn't get ridden through, I want to race next weekend, not lose a month coming back from an overuse injury.
So, a short answer is yes, it takes time to raise your threshhold, and some people will always be able to take more than others. Recognizing the threshhold, and knowing what affect it has on your performance, is definitely something to focus on, but better in the off season (don't want to collaps in the middle of a bunch sprint, now do we?). Good luck. Jon
Use the pain until your body talks backJimbojam
Jun 5, 2001 1:26 PM
If you got the money go to the lab for LT's etc. If not use a trainer as mentioned. I have to agree with the seeing in black and white (Lack of proper oxygen supply to the brain). Use the pain, make yourself agry, use it, but if you ignore the pain and go full speed ahead and your legs respond by doing a "say what" then you probagbly are several minutes/beats past your LT. Most people think they give 100% but it is somewhere around 80%. The last 5% comes with a lot of pain.