Category: endurance

(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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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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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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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 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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Is our psychology adapted for endurance?

According to evolutionary psychologists, at birth the human mind is neither a blank slate, nor a general-purpose computer, but is instead a set of highly specific, and evolved adaptive programmes (Cosmides & Tooby, 2013). Each mechanism within the brain has been shaped through natural, and sexual, selection, to solve the problems encountered within the environment…
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How do we adapt to extremes environments?

In the long evolutionary history of homo sapiens, we have faced and even embraced many difficult environments. Our success as a species is most likely to be a result of going beyond mere survival in challenging conditions and instead performing well as a result of 1) multiple short term physiological responses and behavioural changes, and…
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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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