Month: May 2019

(R)Evolutionary Endurance

Mental Toughness Provides the Athlete With Both a Natural and a Developed Edge

But do we really understand what mental toughness is? A better understanding of the psychological factors that elevate sporting performance will lead to improved evidence-based, practical, psychological intervention for athletes. During competition, an athletes’ behavioural responses rely on various psychological factors, including mental toughness, and its role is pivotal in supporting adaptive responses to pressure.…
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There is No Magic 10,000 Hours Rule

The popular account of deliberate practice is wrong No one, no matter how gifted, is born an expert in chess, or with the ability to play the violin. And no one, no matter how much they practice, can be an expert in everything. It is widely accepted that the path to becoming an expert is a long…
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Why We Need to Stop Relying on the V02 Max Test

There are better measures to predict endurance performance The V02 max test is a measure of the maximum amount of oxygen our body can use during intense exercise. The test is brutal and pushes the athlete to their absolute, physical limits over a short, but increasingly difficult, performance. The V02 max test, is a measure,…
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You Don’t Have to Be Mentally Tough to Be an Ultra-Marathoner, but It Does Help

Or, why we all have the psychology to run very long distances It all started with a very long run…. The Mourne Mountains sit between Belfast and Dublin, nestled beside the Irish sea. They are a wild, and beautiful range, with hidden loughs, nearby forests, and trails throughout. It is a dream for any mountain trail…
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Adventurers and athletes have always pushed the limits, but how do we adapt and what does it mean?

Sport and adventure in the extremes requires an optimised psychology “I can’t do another 15/16 hours.” I think having a little cry probably helped. I got back out of the van more focused, determined and positive.” – Nicky Spinks Adventurers and athletes have always pushed the limits, but how do we adapt and what does it…
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Exercise Can Help Reduce the Impact of Alzheimer’s Disease

As little as 10 minutes of exercise improves cognitive impairment Recent research has shown that not only does exercise benefit our general cardiovascular health, but also our mental well-being. Indeed, physical exercise has been strongly linked to adaptation in both our behaviour and our neurobiology — including the structure and function of the brain. Importantly increases have…
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The Brain, Not Our Body, Limits Our Endurance Performance

Wanting to stop “There is still 20 km of running to go, almost half a marathon. I want to stop. I really do.” My inner dialogue is becoming more desperate. It’s my first 100km ultra-marathon and I’ve been moving for more than 10 hours. I physically cannot move for much longer, there is nothing left in the tank.…
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The Art of Flow

Achieving and maintaining flow is precarious My most intense experience of flow was during my penultimate freedive to the bottom of a 30-metre tank. There was only now. In fact there was no then, or no future, only what is. I approached the bottom of the tank, 30 metres down, without a sense of urgency,…
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Own the Challenge, Own Your Performance

Tools used in high-performance sports that deliver success in life Much of our life is found in challenging environments. All of us will find, at times, that we are losing control, or perspective, whether in work, education, or even relationships. There are however some key mental strategies, underpinned by hard science, that can be implemented to…
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The Body Has Evolved To Run, So Why Not The Brain?

2 million years to run an ultra-marathon Our hunter-gatherer ancestors were, in effect, on a camping trip that lasted a lifetime, and they had to solve many different kinds of problems well to survive and reproduce under those conditions […] — Cosmides and Tooby, 2013 Chris McDougall’s epic book “Born to Run” has been an inspiration…
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