Pain Management in Distance Running | Sage Running Mental and Physical Training

pain is temporary but pride practice forever hi there cisgender vo2max productions here with another training talk today we're going to talk about pain management and I want to thank the moon sees me I believe this leaves your name that submitted this comment and all a lot of you that voted on it so we're going to go with that for this week's training talk topic be sure to submit more votes more comments for next week's training talk topic or I might do more than a week I don't know what a week we'll see but uh yeah so we'll get right into it distance earning is hard it's a very demanding sport any endurance athletics actually is pretty hard and it's less of a pure skill sport obviously technique there is technique to both but a lot of it does come down to how much pain how much torture can you take and with shorter races or longer races it really doesn't matter I've always viewed the pain as being a constant it's was the analogy for racing a mile or marathon or ultra marathon doesn't matter one mile hundred miles it's gonna hurt if you try hard you either you're either like burning yourself with a flame with a match and you're just really hurting yourself and you're like aah or you're slowly roasting yourself over a bed of hot coals and you're slowly suffering so obviously in the longer events the intensity is lower but the pain sure is drawn out more for a longer time and you're kind of suffering and agony for hours on end whereas in it you know all out 800-meter half mile race or mile race it's the lactic acids really seizing you up and you're absolutely going into that last 400 meters trying to sprint as hard as you possibly can and you're already in a lot of pain some of my worst most painful Riis's that really strike me the dread is running like a flat 3k five K on the track or 10 G on the track it's all hard the pain just manifests itself in different ways and if you're going to try hard in a race you're going to hurt and if you're going to reach a personal best especially as you get more and more fit and more experienced you're probably going to have to push through a really high threshold of pain it's never getting ever gets any easier like you get in better shape to do relative performances but obviously if you're always pushing the envelope um you know I'm in a lot of pain in every race uh that being said there there have been a handful of races maybe like five out of my whole career of racing hundreds of races uh from 400 meters up to 100k that I was kind of in a state of flow and I was so zoomed in and mentally with it that I didn't feel the pain quite as bad whereas there's really bad days and really bad races it seems like the pain is more intense and it rigs you up harder and you kind of mentally suffer from it but there is the mind-body connection and your threshold from pain and tolerance comes from mental discipline mental strength mental resilience but also practice of doing workouts during any quality workout is going to put you in a state of discomfort your blood pH gets more acidic when you're running over your lactate threshold and your body is kind of telling at you to slow down you have Devon mental discipline to work through that and same thing when you're a hundred percent at your vo2 max in a three K race or a vertical K or whatever you're doing you're going to be maxed out when you're in an ultra and you're bonking and you're on the edge of glycogen depletion and you're trying to go faster than what your fat stores can allow you to go movie charge up a hill and you're dehydrated your electrolytes or amounts your legs are cramping up you're gonna be suffering pretty bad you might be parched and thirsty like I was at Black Canyon as well so lots of different things that cause pain how often should you put yourself in it you know what what does it feel like um I guess the first thing from a training perspective is to separate kind of pain from like a skeletal muscular injury or like chronic back pain like that versus pain that's induced kind of by the aerobic system or pain that you're inducing because of the relative intensity of the workout or duration of the workout so you know most days like I say run at a very easy relaxed pace it's probably around 65 to 70 or 75 percent of maximum heart rate sometimes even lower if it's a true recovery jog and it's it's not painful there's not very much lactate concentration in my blood I'm not I'm not hyperventilating I could easily carry on a pleasant conversation if I'm running with someone I hardly ever do I usually run alone like 99% of time but it's it's relaxing I could look around I could enjoy the scenery I feel tired sometimes you know my legs feel stiff maybe you've got a little lingering aching pain but you don't force things you don't force the issue and you know after a hard day of work I know a lot of real pressed for time you're sleep-deprived you got family obligation to work obligations you're trying to sneak in your run with a headlamp at 5:00 a.m. or you're running after dinner at you know 8:00 a.m. 9:00 p.m. uh it's hard after an exhausting day of work although I haven't worked that many shifts on my feet but I know like just working all day working an eight-hour shift on your feet does not feel good when you have to do your run after that it's like extra strength and extra disciplining outdoors so that's more on the mild side of pain I guess with quality workouts maybe twice a week on average it changes of the periodization but say you're doing the threshold workout tempo run workout 20 minute tempo at you know between 10k pace and half marathon race pace you know it's about eight out of ten 80% 85% type of effort now that's subjective objectively we could say maybe it's 85 to 88 percent of your maximum heart rate maybe it's close to 90 percent your maximum heart rate critical velocity uh but you know it's not a comfortable it's comfortably uncomfortable type of workout and that's kind of the subjective way to to describe it and if it kept going for 40 minutes or 60 minutes at true lactate threshold intensity it would basically become an all-out race and whether you cover 10k or 15k or if you're super elite you could cover a half marathon in 60 minutes so that is becomes your lactate sexual pace what you can do basically for 50 to 60 minutes all out 100% amped up tapered mentally on bringing your a-game bringing your pain face then you know you have higher intensity workouts Hill reps short track interval workouts maybe you're doing kilometer repeats maybe it's a really hard vo2 max maximum aerobic capacity workout maybe you're 97% max heartrate you're fighting some lactic acid you're getting some lactic acid buildup you've crossed over into building up higher concentration lactic acid which kind of hurts and we could say it's a limiting factor we could say the pain is a limiting factor but again in vo2 Max workouts like according to Jack Daniels you don't want to always push 100% you say that for the races but you're going pretty hard maybe on the last drive you're going all out basically just a hold pace and you're trying to evenly pace it so that gets really demanding and it's it's quite a bit of discomfort it's that's why people train in groups and they try to latch on you know in college we'd have a big team you get competitive and you could almost have the mindset that you're in a race doing these interval workouts and you know some of them especially for the the shorter distance runners you're doing a basically all-out 600 meter sprint or something like that 4 by 400 at a really high velocity it's very very painful and very your blood gets very acidic because of the concentrations lactic acid likewise doing an uphill tempo run up a mountain at altitude you have this long searing pain every time I have this feeling of despair like I just want to quit and put and cry because it's it's very uncomfortable and that's why I think we do it we're kind of masochist we're addicted to the pain some of us arm but you ultimately have to enjoy the feeling after the sense of accomplishment that you push through something that you didn't think you could handle or you didn't walk when you felt like watching or you finished when you felt like stopping so I think you know it goes hand in hand since running and you know twice a week I'm putting myself in some discomfort maybe one one time it's a threshold type of workout and real type of workout maybe another time it's a long run usually I do my long runs fairly intensely so you know 22 mile route up and down mountains in Boulder maybe 7,000 feet of vert it's not always super hard but it's not it's never easy it's never easy there's always a feeling maybe I start off and I feel sluggish maybe in the middle around I'm like gosh I don't know if I could keep this intensity up and I have to start visualizing that I'm kind of in a race and I'm like man up you got to be tough like your competitors are training hard when it comes down to the race you know you have to be able to bring it and flip that switch on and kind of disassociate from the pain because you've chose to do this it's a voluntary thing to race and it's a luxury it's really a luxury and privilege for me you know to be able to run and I appreciate that there's a lot more horrible atrocities going on in the world where people are struggling every day for their life through real pain and hunger and violence so you know thankful for putting myself in voluntary voluntary type of pain we're choosing to do races and we're choosing to test ourselves because it's kind of human nature the high-end physical capacity celebrating celebration the human physical spirit so to speak see what the human body can do naturally and surprise yourself you know you don't have to be winning races or winning your age group or you know if you set a personal best or you just get out there and you feel good and you cover the longest distance you've ever covered in your life that's a real accomplishment and you should pat yourself on the back for that and as you get more advanced as you start training at a higher level and you have structured training with these workouts that bring pain you actually learn to tolerate more and more pain and you learn that hey you know I could run marathon closer to what feels we used to feel like a sprint I could sustain that now part of that's having the heart and lungs to do that and having the muscle fibers to do that through training and strength building but another part of it is is the mental capacity you do not sell yourself short to give yourself that extra push and you know you look at limiting factors people say you know what's what's limiting you it's all mental though it is a lot of its mental the love it is physical and they manifest themselves so yeah if you mentally train really hard and you mentally could tolerate moderate amounts of pain 7 out of 10 on the pain scale 10 being the worst and zero being feeling nothing or 8 out of 10 then in the end of a race at a certain time you could go ten out of ten hopefully closer to the finish because in ultras especially you you do have to pace yourself and so you're kind of gambling you're risking on how much pain how much intensity can I bring early on in the race without totally tanking later on and you know the pain usually increases as the race progresses generally sometimes an ultra C you have up and down patches in the shorter distance races though for sure 5k 10k a mile usually it goes up exponentially with the it is an even pace trace the pain goes up because you're building up higher lactate levels and your muscles start to fail and we could look at you know limiting factors Timothy Noakes central governor theory that your brain basically says hey it kind of panics because it thinks your body's in shock and it says we need to shut down this is not fun this is crazy stop doing this and your brain is actually the limiting factor that's shutting down your body making your legs buckle and lock up making you feel like you're burning up with the DES lactic acid but you know you the lactic a high or a low blood pH acidic blood I think I got that right I was enough I barely passed Chemical Engineering at Cornell um acidic blood starts shutting down some of the the muscle fibers don't like to operate in that kind of environment basically I think you know there's some chemical reactions that then aren't good but then also you know your lungs can only bring so much oxygenated blood to your working muscles so fast and then with with ultras you know nutrition and fueling brings on a lot of the pain the bonk epic bonk the feelings of despair and that gets really mental so I guess in a nutshell so this rant doesn't go on forever uh you know pains something you got to manage so we got a deal with uh I always like to think I always feel sometimes the best after hard moderately hard tempo run workouts cuz I'm I am tired but it's it's a very satisfying feeling whereas other runs maybe you don't get quite that feeling of satisfaction so the moderately hard workouts are definitely good and playing mental games with yourself just breaking down a workout into shorter segments or just thinking you know I'm going to go farther or change some metric in the training you know I'm going to go for a 25-minute tempo run up this hill or on this treadmill at an incline and try to keep this heartrate and distract yourself with running at the right intensity because I think most runners were overeager we want to get out the door every day and they're rolling out at 70% and 80% because you're amped up and you think you have to put yourself in pain every day I'm saying you don't relax some days take it easy take a breather be able to have a conversation on most of your runs and it changes with periodization throughout the season but most days are not going to be hard not going to be painful I save all my hundred-percent efforts for races pretty much so I know you race sparingly if you won't have a long sustainable career you can't go to the well multiple times in a year I don't think or you're going to pay the price eventually you're not going to race flow it consistently or get injured and that's another final note is the lower intensity the less pain the more gain you know you don't want to always be running through pain if you have tendinitis kiwis tendinitis through IT band sometimes it's better to take days off and a cross train and to be patient because I know a lot of you are really tough and you're really determined to improve and running and if you have a nagging overuse injury running through a lot of pain on that is you usually a bad idea that could set you back even farther so I don't know how much thatis be reiterated but again it depends on the injury it depends on how much pain it is but generally those are kind of red flags from your body telling you to take a break and to dial things back and then hopefully recover come back slow come back stronger and be able to progress in the long term because your patient you pace yourself if you want to be a lifelong runner like I do hopefully I think that's the way to go so it's a tough demanding sport it takes a lot but it rewards you a lot and you know different thresholds of pain happen with different workout intensity 'z different race durations you the pain manifests itself in different ways obviously and it's something we all have to deal with so it's not like I ever I don't do easy races I don't do the races all my races are a races I'm bringing it and sometimes mentally I feel like I didn't bring it all the way but that's that's part of the game too is the mental component being mentally strong having a discipline to persevere when you feel like you're not going to be able to hold the pace and intensity so that's my rant on pain management I hope you guys learn something I feel like I said maybe some some things kind of repeating myself there but really do appreciate all the support on here on patreon all the views and shares keep the subscriptions coming share this on social media if you like it I'm on Instagram and Twitter at Sage candidate I have a facebook athlete fan page chk na fan page as well as always trying to make new videos on you post on Instagram exclusive access on Instagram for certain levels and stay tuned for more videos on here thanks for watching and I'll see you guys next time you


  1. That was a great opening man!!!!

  2. It's actually glory that is forever. Pride dies with you. Glory lives on. 😛

  3. I love how Sage is such a weirdo. Keep running w!eird

  4. can you just learn to get to the point~/?

  5. How to get faster pace?
    My current pace: 7:00 – 7:03 per pile

  6. hey coach sage, I am a 15 year old male runner, and I have a goal to someday become an elite marathoner. any advice on how I can better my chances? thanks

  7. Good topic. Personally I find myself praying like crazy that I can just hold on to the pace and not stop and walk.

  8. The pain doesn’t change what does is how you handle the pain

  9. Good training talk, I haven't heard this topic before. Thanks.

  10. I get the pain afterwards. Up to 22k aiming for 30

  11. I hill train so my cardio is pretty great! However, I just can't seem to get in the mileage without suffering pain! I just want to wrack up the millage to improve my running. I do track sessions once a week, but they slay me for about 2-3 days.

    Right now I have shins tender, some weird pain near Achilles on left leg, which is making me avoid track tonight… just in case I get a bad injury from it.

    I train very hard indeed… to max capacity.. but only a few times a week! Did a track last week, follow by a hill session, then an easy 3 miler… nothing incredible! v frustrating.

  12. Sage, Please coach us on as how you are training for Marathon day. For example, While training for 50k training, How much do you run last 30 days ? I understand we increase slowly towards to 50k. Will you hit 50k before one week before Marathon day and take rest couple of days off

  13. Is this David Acevada?

  14. Where are you from man? Also, how did you get involved into ultra-running?

  15. Elliot rodgers

  16. Thanks! This helped a bunch.

  17. i mean the top ten seconds i cringed twice (the sip) (the quote)

  18. Running really hurts everything

  19. What a great advert for distance and middle distance running (great video.)

  20. just an excellent video

  21. good advice sir!

  22. echinacea

  23. I like the perspective it is a choice as part of celebrating the human physical spirit. Nice video.

  24. Minute 2:34 as Greg Lemond said about cycling. "It never gets easier you only get faster".

  25. If you really want to do well, a great runner doesn't care, we'd rather go to the hospital, than be embarrassed by 'giving up', that's just goes with territory, so when racing or training, you're just so pumped up, that you're focused on the task at hand, not some little bit of searing pain….that's what we live for, easy

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