Facing the Pain

Hi Marcus,

Congrats on making the games. Must have been great seeing all your hardwork pay off!

The question that we have for you is this. When you are about to tackle a workout that you know is going to hurt so badly – how do you mentally block out the ‘fear’ of doing it. For example – the lactic tester of row 250, 15 swings, 25 burpees, 15 swings, row 250 @100%. What do you do to calm yourself and focus on the job at hand?

CFPT team in Hong Kong

Hey Guys,

Everyone has encountered this thought you are talking about. The more experienced you get at this sport I think you can begin to anticipate better when things are going to be terrible. It is the curse of doing this for a long time. Because of your experience you can see the end of the tunnel and the light that awaits you. “Then it comes to be that the soothing light At the end of your tunnel  It’s just a freight train comin your way” (Metallica).

At some point you begin to realize that being strong, skilled, and having a big engine in this sport doesn’t always equal success. So what separates folks? You have to find something else to latch on to. Some other area you plan to be consistent and stand out. I write about Honesty, Commitment and Persistence. Those words are the foundation for my approach to separating myself from others. Mental attitude is a huge part of this.

Your observation about painful training being a source of mental and physical block is valid. There is lots of fear surrounding this in our sport. Therefore this is a key area of separation in our sport and in our training methods. Who is going to back down from it and who is going to rise to it? Everyone has backed down from this fear  at some point. Some athletes less often than others, but I would wager a guess that even the guys out there who have reputations for putting their heads down and enduring the most pain have even backed down. Therefore I see this as a great opportunity. Fear turns to opportunity with a slight shift in perception. I accept that I have backed down in the face of pain and I let that go. Now I look forward to opportunities to test my mental and physical tolerance.

I don’t try to quiet my mind or calm myself. Instead I try to just be aware of what my mind is telling me I can’t do or shouldn’t do. Becoming more aware of the things your mind says over and over again in these painful situations will allow you to identify your self talk patterns. Once you have done that you can reflect on how your physical body responded to that self talk and hopefully start to change your patterns going forward.

Trying to block out the pain is a waste of time in my opinion. It hurts, it hurts everyone, and more times than not you know what it is going to hurt bad. So stop trying to ignore it. Instead try listening to how your respond. Get more focused on the feelings. Anticipate them. Play it over in your head before it happens and be ready for it. My coach has been talking about this for years. “Know Pain” and when it shows its familiar face then you will be ready to respond and overcome.

Hope thats a new way of thinking about it.



Run 10 minutes at Z1

AD 30 minutes at Z1 (210w average)

(get off every 3 minutes on AD complete 2 TGU/arm easy + 15 DU’s) – 35# kb


A. RDL @ 3111; 3 x 3; rest 2 min (light load, feel stretch)
215 x 3 sets

B. Snatch Grip Deadlift @ 4221; 2-3 x 3; rest as needed (semi-tough but more about position)
215, 235, 255

C. HPC + HSC + Jerk – 1 emom – Start at 65% and build – 8 min – level off as needed
210, 216, 221, 227 x 5 sets

D. Strict HSPU AMRAP; x 3 sets; rest 3 min
26, 21, 16


6 Sets:

AD 40 seconds @95%

Rest/walk actively 3:20
33, 34, 31, 36, 36, 35



12 sets:

Row 30 sec @90%
(1:30-1:33 pace average)

rest 30 sec

DU’s 30 sec
(55-60 du per set, all unbroken)

rest/walk actively 1 minute


A. FS @ 32X2; 6,5,5,4,4,3 rest 3 min (last 3 sets tough)
185, 205, 225, 245, 265, 285x2reps (knee felt great and lifting today in flats, not weightlifting shoes)

B. emom 20 min –
even 3 TNG squat clean (185#)
odd – 1 MU into 1 dip  – 5 reps of complex
*this was a total ass kicker. on the last 4 rounds of the muscle up/dip complex I dropped the reps down to 4. very taxing.

C. 20 KB TGU (Heavy, grinder)
*used a 70lb kb and just went slow and steady. 



AD 10 min @ Z1


AD 30 sec @ 80% AER

walk rest 30 sec x 20 straight
*went pretty hot on this 30sec sets and was hitting 480-520watts. consistent the whole time and could have gone for 10 more mins so felt aerobic.


AD 10 min @ Z1

PM with Dan-O

30 man-maker (45#/h) for time

rest as needed

for time:

15 oh squat (185#) – unbroken

50 CTB pull up – 10/10/8/7/5/5/5

15 push jerk (185#) – 5/5/5

50 toes to bar – sets of 5 all the way

1 mile AD
*learning a lot about myself in these longer grinders that have large sets and pacing doesn’t work on. need to dig in a little deeper on big sets and not be fearful of what is going to happen on the next movement. too many thoughts about what is going to happen on the next movement and it slowed me down. 



A. PC cluster 1.1.1 (75%); 5 sets; rest 15 seconds, rest 2 minutes
235lbs all sets

B. Every 2 min; PP x 2 + SJ x 1; 6 sets – moderate, same across
205lbs all sets

C. emom –  12 min

Min 1 – 3 rope climb (30sec each)

Min 2 – 4 pHSPU kipping

Min 3 – 12 cal row (20-22sec)


A. BS cluster @30X1; 3.3.3; x 4; rest 10 seconds, rest 4 minutes (tough weight)
295, 305, 315, 320 (got a little help on rep 9)


for time – 90%:

20 KB front rack lunge (2 pd both hands) (unbroken)

15 KB snatch left (2 pd) (9/6)

15 front squat (225#) – from the floor (9/6 – so hard on last 2 reps, back just wanted to round)

15 KB snatch right (2pd) (6/9)

20 cal AD (650watts +)


A. Snatch Ladder – starts at 175# – adds 10# every 75 sec

20 double under buy into every rep – NOT a 1RM test, keep it fast

265, stopped there. felt great and only 5# off my best


B. 3 rds for time @ 97%:

10 alternating db snatch (100#)

15 burpees


rest as needed

for time:

farmers carry 200m (100#/hand)

row 1k

20 thrusters (155#)

run 400 meters

20 bar muscle ups