Font Romeu, France
Tuesday 26th July 2011
One thing that impresses me with these endurance athletes is their single mindedness & determination to do whatever it takes to reach their training targets & performance goals.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that other athletes aren't focussed or driven to achieve their goals, but it takes a certain mentality to grind out 14 miles in biting cold & driving rain, with no-one for motivation & company other than the inner voice challenging your "stickability".

Fell runners are the same, believe me, I've treated some...they seem to see niggles & injuries as a challenge to overcome in a training session & biomechanical inefficiencies as a mere aside.  One particular patient had sustained severe meniscal & ligament damage tripping up with a foot lost down a rabbit hole whilst descending a grassy bank - no fuss, it hurt but he needed to reach the finish line & there was nothing he could do about it at that point!  Now that is fast-acting, double-strength, toughen the *@#%-up pills in action, right there.

Last night over dinner, George (Gandy) was relating stories he'd been fortunate enough to hear regarding some of the Kenyan distance runners.  One would train in size 13 trainers but when a competitor remarked that his feet didn't look that big, he replied that they weren't but he figured that if he made training as hard as possible, then competing in ideal conditions would be comparatively easy.  Another used to wake himself up at 02:30am to do his morning run, just because he felt that for an athlete of his calibre it shouldn't be that hard.  The stories went on & my admiration for these guys continued to rise.

It all comes down to mental toughness & our South African friends & respected scientists, Tim Noakes & Alan St Clair Gibson constructed the Central Governor Theory in an attempt to explain the science behind the phenomenon.  A fascinating article by Dr Christian Jarrett in this month's Outdoor Fitness magazine, entitled "Psychology of Stamina", explores the concept of mental toughness in endurance sports still further & given my work this week, I thought I should have a read...I encourage you to click below & do the same.

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