You can expand lung capacity, increase capillary size, multiply mitochondria, and improve glycogen storage, but without tapping into your mental capacity, you will likely fall short of your potential.
I have written about the power of the mind many times over the years, but my obsession has been re-kindled by a few articles I shared with our team this week. These articles were both from a new book by Alex Hutchinson entitled, Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance. It is research like this that reaffirm for me that as a coach, our ability to transform the mental is just as important as our ability to transform the physical.
Here is the big point best said by a quote from the book, “It turns out, whether it’s heat or cold, hunger, or thirst or muscles screaming with the supposed poison of ‘lactic acid,’ what matters in many cases is how the brain interprets these distress signals.” You see, our limits are far beyond what we are achieving today. Yes, we are getting better at training the body, but I believe world records are falling more because with every world record, everyone realizes it is possible. Whereas before the brain could not fathom, now it is possible. It is the Roger Bannister theory: For years, many attempted to break the infamous 4-minute mile until Bannister did so in 1954 opening the doors to around 1500 runners to date.
Buy into the fact right now that you have more potential. Today, at your current fitness level, you can go much faster. It requires a belief that we simply do not exhaust our mental capacity. If necessary, we can endure way more. Decide to test your limits today.