Group training is not for every runner, and training in the wrong group (such as a group of runners who are a lot faster or slower than you, whose workouts are not appropriate for you, or whom you do not click with on a personal level) is certainly worse than training without a group. But group training is something to consider in your efforts to try harder. ENJOYING YOURSELF The major shortcoming of the CrossFit ethos is its failure to recognize that, as we saw in Post 2, enjoyment motivates effort.

There is a lot of talking about suffering at CrossFit facilities, but not a lot of talk about having fun. In the CrossFit ethos, the desire for enjoyment is derided as a fear of suffering. Perhaps this is one reason that CrossFit itself suffers from a notoriously high attrition rate. Club members might stick with CrossFit longer and get more out of the program if it recognized that the more they enjoy exercise, the harder they will work in their workouts. Nonexercisers and those who have never been able to enjoy exercise view this notion as paradoxical, but it is not. Enjoyment and suffering are not mutually exclusive.

It is possible to enjoy and suffer in exercise (and a variety of other activities, for that matter) simultaneously. In fact, enjoyment of exercise increases the capacity to suffer because it makes suffering seem worth being borne. A study by a pair of neurobiologists at the University of Illinois found that mice reacted more slowly to heat pain that was applied when they were eating or drinking than was applied at other times. The pleasure the mice took in tasting chocolate or slaking their thirst made them less aware of the discomfort in the foot that stood atop a heating elementa foot they were free to move at any time, but took their time in moving while enjoying food or drink. Exercise enjoyment works in a similar way. It does not do away with the suffering of working hard; it makes that suffering more tolerable and thus increases the capacity to work and the capacity to suffer.


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