Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Push Past The Pain

What keeps an elite athlete going at a level of intensity that appears impossible for us mere mortals to maintain?

Instead of trying to distract themselves from the pain of extreme effort, they embrace it:
“Our hypothesis is that elite athletes are able to motivate themselves continuously and are able to run the gantlet between pushing too hard — and failing to finish — and underperforming,” Dr. [Jeroen] Swart said.

To find this motivation, the athletes must resist the feeling that they are too tired and have to slow down, he added. Instead, they have to concentrate on increasing the intensity of their effort. That, Dr. Swart said, takes “mental strength,” but “allows them to perform close to their maximal ability.”
(Source: New York Times)