What do you think of when you read “pushing your limits?” The way I interpret that is by forcing your body further than it thinks it can go. When the sensors in your head receive pain messages and you ignore them as best you can and keep going. Every time you do that your “limit” is pushed further back. Dan Gable pushed his limits everyday, as he wanted to be dragged off the mat after each practice. There are other ways to pushing your limits outside of the wrestling room.
My Pushing Your Limits Experience
During my senior season at Rhode Island College in 2007-2008, I was able to push myself at something further than I have ever before. I ran 4 miles in 24 minutes. Every second was painful but when I was done I was so happy I finished it. Here’s the kicker however, I injured my foot in the process. Luckily, I was able to overcome the injury and accomplished my goal of winning nationals. The point of the story is to make sure you are careful when pushing your limits. It is one thing to wrestle live longer and harder each day, but quite another thing to do something completely off course such as my running was. When the end of the season comes, wrestlers tend to want to amp up the intensity and workout even harder. That is not always in your best interest. There is a very fine line between toughness and stupidity and you have to honestly assess yourself and your training methods from time to time. The high intensity run I did during my senior season was not smart and I should have done it in the preseason or off-season. I explore this topic further in Wrestling with Your Destiny.
Unorthodox Ways of Pushing Your Limits
Today I pushed my limits further physically than I ever have before. First a quick back story. Last summer my brother, Rob Bonora and his best friend, Anthony Greco walked unassisted across America in just over 120 days for charities. Their walked was called Coast to Coast for a Cure. For the first 10 days they carried all of their supplies, which weighed around 40 pounds, in their backpacks. After ten days they switched to pushing baby strollers.
Today I decided to “recreate” their first day for myself in some way. I walked to our local Nutley track with Rob’s backpack filled with weights and began walking at 7:35 a.m. At 4:05 p.m. after 20 miles, I honestly thought I was going to fall apart. Never in my life had I been in more pain in so many spots. My hips were probably the most painful, followed by knees, feet, and back. And this is not like a wrestling match where you can trick yourself to work harder because it’s so short. Even my 4 miles in 24 minutes was cake compared to this walk. By mile 5 my body was already deteriorating.
Rob and Anthony walked just under 30 miles that first day. Then they woke up and did it again and again and again. Sometimes they walked without seeing a single person, car, or town and slept in a tent. I don’t know how they did it. But that is a great example of pushing your limits. By the end of their walked they were finishing 30 miles in 7.5 hours, whereas today it took me 8.5 hours to walk 20 miles. If you are ever in the mood for a monumental challenge or if you think like I did, “It’s walking how hard can it be?” Give it a try. Don’t forget the backpack of weights and let me know about your experience after.
Please, if you decide pushing your limits with a long distance walk to improve your mental toughness is something you want to do, make sure and I mean make sure you do it in the off-season. This pushing your limits experience is going to have me bedridden for a few days at least.
If you would like to learn more about Coast to Coast for a Cure: