My social media friend Fit Regular Guy commented on my post "7 Things You Should Never Say to a Runner" and remarked that #6 on the list was a variation of the "4 Stages of Suck," an article he published on his blog. I loved his article and it got me thinking about what it means to embrace the suck. 

Embracing the suck means accepting the temporary discomfort of the moment. It is about mental toughness. It is about overcoming discomfort. It is about delaying gratification. It means that instead of trying to feel comfortable by any means necessary that you realize that discomfort often means growth, so you not only accept it, but you embrace it. It sucks but you are grateful for it. 

It's a mind shift. It's a way of reframing difficult situations, so your brain isn't thinking of ways to get you out of it, but rather ways to get you through it, because you know on the other side is mental and physical growth. 

This applies to many facets of life, exercise is one. Sometimes exercise is hard and it sucks. Sometimes running sucks. Do you quit or keep going? Do you give up or embrace the suck?

Getting out of bed early in the morning when it is cold may require you to embrace the suck. You could go back to bed because it is warm and cozy there, or you could embrace the suck and do what needs to be done.

TWEET THIS: Embrace the suck to meet your fitness goals


An important distinction here is that suck refers to being uncomfortable, tired or out of your comfort zone. Suck does not mean physical pain or injury. In those cases you should immediately stop, rest and/or get help as to not cause further damage.

Train your brain to embrace the suck when doing the difficult things that can lead to positive results. Instead of thinking about how hard it is, think about how tough you are for sticking it out. Think about how you do hard things that other people won't do. Think about the great results that can come from your temporary acceptance of the suck. 

The key is to identify it and embrace it for what it is, not try to get out of it. Next time you are uncomfortable, embrace it, be grateful for it, get through it, because the tough times make you stronger. 

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Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and Fit to Run bootcamps. If you are interested in a more in-depth running or strength training plan, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

While I am a certified personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.