Articles

(R)Evolutionary Endurance

Theories of motivation – what’s the background?

So, what is motivation? Motivation impacts an individual’s capacity to focus, and sustains, directs and channels human behaviour over an extended period of time. Indeed, a strong drive to achieve excellence is required to begin, and maintain training, and participate in ultra-marathon events. Ultra-marathoners frequently have full-time jobs and families. Increased motivation is likely to…
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Critical Appraisal of Mental Toughness

Previous To summarise To summarise the last few posts, there are numerous, and varied, definitions of mental toughness, with many psychological attributes being linked or correlated to success, including the ability to handle pressure and adversity, resolve to overcome failures, or possession of superior mental skills for use during performance. Early definitions of mental toughness…
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How do we measure Mental Toughness?

Previous Measurement of Mental Toughness Crust and Clough (2005) identified mental toughness as a trait-like dimension of personality, extending the conceptualisation of hardiness (Kobasa et al., 1982) by adding confidence to the three existing concepts of, control, commitment and challenge. Horsburgh et al.’s (2009) research later confirmed that individual differences in mental toughness were indeed…
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How was mental toughness developed?

Previous Research into Mental Toughness Since 2002, there has been considerable qualitative research into elite athletes to remove the ambiguity around mental toughness. Identification, and definition, of the key characteristics of mental toughness, has involved two distinct approaches. The first approach has been to formulate, (using qualitative research methods, including interviewing) a better understanding of…
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What led to ‘mental toughness?

What is Mental Toughness? Mental toughness is widely recognised by coaches and athletes, as an important, multidimensional, psychological construct related to performance enhancement in both training and competition. Researchers suggest that mental toughness provides a potential advantage over opponents, and enables individuals to cope better with the demands that sport places on them. It appears…
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Endurance research has to be interdisciplinary

Recently, in evolutionary terms, our endurance potential has become more visible in athletic performance than during hunting. Indeed, there has been a rapid rise in the volume of ultra-marathon events planned, the number of successful participants, and an increased amount of research into participation profiles and endurance performance. Major gains in our understanding are likely…
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Endurance – are we just born with it?

The evolution of human running is  the evolution of humans… Evidence from evolutionary biology, physiology, and anthropology, has suggested that endurance running has been key, throughout human history, in the pursuit of prey. Key physiological adaptions have evolved over millions of years to benefit long distance running, from early hominins through to modern homo sapiens. Bramble and Lieberman…
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So what do we mean by endurance?

Human endurance is defined as the individual’s capacity to sustain a given energy expenditure for the longest time possible. Races, such as ultra-marathons, require considerable physical and mental effort, and the need to overcome feelings of exertional discomfort. Some key points to consider: Endurance, as with all human behaviour, has a psychological element and researchers…
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Antarctic – Coping in Extreme Physical Environments

“Psychological Hibernation in Antarctica” provides an exciting insight into coping with stress in one of the most challenging environments on earth. Individuals wintering in the Antarctic experience social and physical challenges, and severe sleep disruption, often resulting in a state of psychological hibernation. Emotional flatness and the avoidance of stimulation requires further study to better…
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Embodied cognition – initial thoughts

According to the concept of ’embodied cognition’, drawing from cognitive science, philosophy and psychology, our cognitive processes arise, not simply from the brain, but rather from entire physical systems (i.e. including the body, and the somatic nervous system) and importantly, from interactions with the environment. ‘Affordances’ in the environment, such as the doorknob, the ladder,…
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