About three times a week, I run 10 km in the morning. The distance feels just right to me — long enough to give a huge endorphin rush, but not so much as to cause any injury or pain.
And I have happily been at this ‘10 km plateau’ for a long time. Not that I can’t run more but this distance feels ‘normal.’
Recently, one day, I set the target of 11-12 km and pushed myself to do that. It was just 10% more and did not feel much different. But now, 10 km does not feel normal anymore — it leaves me dissatisfied. I now have to do at least 11 km to feel satisfied.
The question is: What is ‘normal’ and what is our limit?
Personally, I feel that I can keep raising the bar till 16 km (10 miles) becomes normal. Your goals might be different, but you can do the exact same thing.
However, the bigger point is not about running; it is that our mind and body are capable of so much more than we think.
All we have to do is to keep pushing ourselves just a little beyond our current abilities. Anders Ericsson called this ‘deliberate practice’ and this is how the world’s best train themselves, be it music, chess, sports, or anything else.
As long as we keep pushing ourselves, we keep improving. And when we choose to stop, that becomes our limit.