It's about the pain.

Author:Jacobs, Mark

If you have not read Lance Armstrong's book, "It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life," we recommend that you do so, for many reasons. In one section, Lance remembers someone asking him what pleasure he derived from riding a bicycle hours on end, all of the time. He said, in effect, that the person had asked the wrong question. It is not pleasure that he seeks but, rather, it is the pain. Somehow, to him, pain cleanses--refreshes--and that is what he seeks.

How providential, yet foreboding, that concept became for Lance Armstrong, holder of four straight Tour de France championships. Certainly, in his fight against testicular cancer, which spread to his lungs and brain, this approach served him well. Rather than the physical effort of biking producing the pain, the cancer provided a new source of pain.

Processes of Conditioning and Rehabilitation Are Similar

The effort Lance made to override the pain from cancer was, in many ways, similar to his approach to overriding training pain except for one big difference: Now he confronted fear, a feeling that was new to him. Yet, like all other obstacles he encountered, he learned to respect it and to use it to his advantage.

In the physiology of the body, many therapies used for healing are appropriate to prevent injuries and to condition the body. Many runners who train regularly and who perform weight training regularly nonetheless get injured. Those of you who have undertaken physical therapy may now know that there are many similarities between rehabilitation and working out. The process of becoming physically well from an injury is very similar to the physical conditioning programs used to prevent injuries.

We are not suggesting that you not seek pleasure in your training. You should, anyway that you can. Yet, if you ask many runners why they run, joy and pleasure are often not the first answers they offer. Many suggest that they are stronger persons because of the physical struggle. Is this not what Lance is talking about?

Many of you will enter walkathons and running events this coming spring. Through your workouts and conditioning programs many of you have encountered some new training...

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