The ability to endure | Day 96 of 100

3min read

I watched a video today on increasing endurance for cycling. Ironic I know, sitting in a chair watching a video about increasing endurance for cycling. The first and arguably most important section it talked about though was the mindset. In other words, overcoming a significant challenge for your body through mental endurance/resilience/stubbornness.

Pushing ourselves to our physical 'limits' and beyond takes a good amount of mental fortitude. Those that have done embarked on a particularly strenuous physical endurance challenge can attest to the challenge 'stripping you bare'. In the moment the challenge becomes a singular concentrated focus, and this focus leaves everything else by the wayside. A physical endurance challenge is a leveller, exposing the raw core of all those participating. This makes the individual extremely self-aware. Every breath, every effort, every thought intensifies, and each need to be more efficient than the next in order to be successful.

There are many reasons why you may challenge yourself like this. One of the reasons I sympathise with is that the day-to-day or the 'business as usual' in modern living can become pretty straight forward and we want something to contrast that. Not too many peaks, not too many troughs, and not having hunt or gather my own food. The latter being intensely difficult both physically and mentally. Endurance challenges like cycling or running or one of these new-fangled mud races become a self-test doing something difficult. Scaring ourselves with a challenge, something we don't think we can compelte. Ultimately something outside of our comfort zone.

Believe it or not, there are benefits to testing ourselves like this. Like a muscle, training ourselves by overcoming feats of endurance physically has the same effect mentally. We are training ourselves to endure better. Meaning that when something unexpected arrives in our lives which we must suffer or endure, we are prepared for it mentally and recognise that we can cope. To successfully suffer during our training then it is pertinent for us to remember why we are putting ourselves through the pain. Understanding that each time we do, we increase our ability to endure both physically for our challenge of choice, but also mentally for the challenges we don't choose.