Comfort in Conversation

Ah, the olde tug-o-war in training. Dancing between the stress of a maximal effort and the comfort of easing back on the throttle in training is a well documented experience. Every athlete who’s ever trained for performance has wrestled with balancing stress and comfort in the “red zone,” and the same will be said for athletes doing the same until the end of time.

In developing performance, the stress of operating at our limits is critical. It’s here that we can reap the greatest return of our training. These stressors are what drive adaptation, and since no one willingly exercises to stay the same, we all can agree that adaptation is the goal. Better than yesterday, right?

As a coach, I see athletes (especially newer ones) struggle with the discomfort of their own top end performance. It’s uncomfortable, it hurts, and there’s a great deal of uncertainty. A common “out” in these scenarios is conversation. It’s the fitness version of “changing the subject”. Since the task at hand is causing stress, conversation with another athletes or a coach can break the discomfort.

Don’t do it. 

First and foremost, the value of training the way we do is in the commitment to one’s best effort. Multitasking (i.e. training with conversation) guarantees output that is less than your best. Secondly, the value of operating in the moment is beyond any amount of money in the world. Flow, as it is called, is the holy grail of performance and clarity. Our only hope in achieving it is commitment to the moment.

This stuff is too hard and too high skill to let you mind wander. Navigating a workout ought to rival the focus of painting a detailed portrait or walking the steep edge of a cliff. There is no time for conversation, dinner plans, texting, or superfluous thoughts.

Daily Double: I’ve found that there’s an uncanning correlation between athletes that are guilty of this conversation fault and failure to count reps accurately. Coincidence?

Baske in the moment. It’s where you belong.


Logan Gelbrich


Tuesday’s Workout:

In 40 minutes:
Run 5K
25 Hand-to-Hand KB Swings
25 Squats