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Desire to Endure

by Cal Zaryski

Many times I have been asked WHY I participate in endurance activities. I have tolerated many hours of discomfort only to cross a line that signifies an accomplishment. For most of society, this is the burning question. Why did Alan Hobson climb Mount Everest when the odds are that one in four may not return? Why would Sandra McCallum tolerate 7 days in the desert running over 250km risking her life just to finish? Why would she even think about returning to finish stronger and tolerate even more pain? What makes us different from the rest of society?

There seems to be this inner desire that drives us to our limits. Limits that need to be explored and pushed continuously. Some do it in business, others in sport, but the desire and motivation is the same. We are hungry for success and results. We need to achieve our dreams. Inspiration and desire must come from within. That is the key.

Motivation is energy, and that sense of self-directedness is one of the most powerful sources of energy available. From internal motivation you gain the willingness to persevere with your training, to endure discomfort and stress, and to make sacrifices with your time and energy as you move closer to your goals.

What are the key characteristics of well-motivated endurance participants? Through extensive research with athletes for 20 years, JoAnn Dahlkoetter Ph.D. has developed a constellation of traits that define the champion’s mentality. I will outline them for you.

Enthusiasm and Desire: You must love what you are doing! Regardless of your talent and ability, there must be a fire that ignites your passion to achieve an important goal. To accomplish anything of value in life you need to begin with a vision or dream! The more clearly you can see that picture in your mind, the more likely it will become reality. Wherever you place your attention, you energy will follow!

Courage to Succeed: Back up your desire with courage, the incentive to make any dream reality. It takes courage to sacrifice, to train when you are tired, to seek out tough competition when you know you’ll probably be beaten. It takes courage to stick with your game plan and the relentless pursuit of your goal when you encounter obstacles. It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before – physically and mentally.

Internal Motivation and Self-Direction: Successful athletes have decided early on that they are training and competing for themselves, not for their parents, coaches, or for the medals. Your direction and drive must come from within. Your goals must be one that you have chosen because that’s exactly what you want to be doing!

Commitment to Excellence: How successful do you want to be? Elite athletes know that to be successful in their sport they must decide to make it a priority in their life. It is important to make an honest effort each day to be the best at what they do! To notice significant growth you must live this commitment and regularly stretch what you perceive to be your current limits. This commitment must be present every minute of the day. Temptations are all too frequent.

Discipline, Consistency, Organization: Most successful people know how to self-energize and work hard on a daily bases. Because they love what they do, it is not hard to maintain this consistent behavior. Regardless of personal problems, fatigue, stress, poor weather or difficult circumstances, they can generate the optimal excitement and energy to do their best and stay on course.

Ability to Handle Adversity: Successful people and athletes know how to deal with difficult situations and facing this adversity builds character and self esteem! While elite athletes know the odds are against them they embrace the chance to explore the outer limits of their potential. Rather than avoiding pressure they feel challenged by it! Life is about personal growth and setbacks are apart of this growth. Remember, it is OK to fail, but never OK to fold! Successful people never give up!

Endurance activities ranging from a 2 hour hike or your first 10km running race to Ironman triathlons offer a wonderful chance to free ourselves for short periods and experience intensity and excitement not readily available elsewhere in our lives. To develop an inner desire and maximize your true potential, you must make the most of the talent you have, and stretch the limits of your abilities, both physically and mentally. Endurance activities can become a means to personal growth and enjoyment of the pursuit of your goals. Try incorporating the profile above into your mental preparation and you can learn to live more fully, train with more purpose and feel exactly the way you want to feel. Happy training and see you out there!

Calvin Zaryski MKin, CEP coachcal@criticalspeed.com


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