What is the Pain Cave? For many of us this may sound like some terrible scene from a movie. But any endurance athlete will tell you that it is instead a dark place that we all inevitable end up in at some point in our races, climbs, paddles or training. For me the pain cave is a place where we want to give up, its when we start bonking, feeling sick, feeling sore, cold, hot, scared, completely mental…. The list can go on forever. Listen to any of the great Ultra runners and they all have different strategies for dealing with the pain cave. Many of these strategies are focused on the mental side and are centered around focusing on coaching yourself to overcome whatever pain you are going through (and of coarse fixing any physical issues like nutrition or hydration) For me I know that at some point I am going to be in a low spot and need to be prepared. The way I have been able to fight through the low spot in many races or climbs is by reflecting back on my training. It means reflecting back on what I have done leading up to the race/climb, thinking about the years of pounding miles or suffering through pull ups, or the hard days on the dreadmill. This is the reason that I have decided to build/set up my own training area at the past three homes that I have lived at. Having an area at home to work out is key for me in feeling prepared. This can be as simple as a door hung pull up bar and TRX kit, a weighted pack for hiking up the steps, or just two old saw horses for dips. It can also be more elaborate like your own rock wall, treadmill incline trainers, and a set of kettlebells/clubs. This give me the freedom to train when I want and removes any excuses that I could make to not workout. Mainly this removes the “I dont have time” excuse. All I have to do is walk up to my loft and swings some kettlebells or walk out to the barn and hammer out some pull ups on the hang board.
As soon as we moved to the Eastern shore I knew that getting in the training to allow me to feel good in the mountains was going to be a challenge. As far as I know there are no rock gyms on the Eastern shore and virtually zero hills. I knew that my long term goal was to build a large rockwall but since the home we purchased does not have a basement or garage I knew this meant building a pole barn. knowing that this would take a long time, and would not be cheap to build I invested in a cheap over the door pull up bar to get me started while I worked on the barn plan. Below are some progress shots. Follow along as the home gym project comes together.