How to overcome any obstacle: learning on the example of the marathon runner

The human soul is tempered in the fire of pain. πŸ’ͺ

American Scott Jurek is one of the most renowned marathon runner in the world. He won in a grueling marathons, and has written several books about running.


Scott Jurek on the Appalachian trail. Photo By Luis Escobar

But in 2015, he had it particularly hard when he tried to beat the record of the passage of the Appalachian trail. This tourist route length of about 3.5 thousand kilometers. It stretches across 14 U.S. States and the Appalachian mountains. All the way there are no signs of civilization, but you can meet bears and poisonous snakes.

Was the 38th day of Jurca attempts to break the record. He suffered several leg injuries, suffered the wettest June in the history of Vermont during the last century, overcame the most difficult part of the route β€” the mountains, the white mountains in new Hampshire.


Mount Washington is a mountain ridge of the white mountains. Photo By Harvey Barrison

While in delirium after two hours of sleep and 26 hours of transition, Jurek faced with an insurmountable obstacle β€” a tree root on the road. According to him, he just couldn’t figure out what you can do to get around the root or to step over. He was so tired that I forgot how to lift his legs and run like a normal person. In the end, he stepped on the root and fell.

Scott Jurek were also very long distance, but the Appalachian trail squeezed out of him. On the fifth week he lost more than five pounds, the look was wild and unfocused. Mind could not cope with the load. One night of Jurika puzzled by the strange fire on the mountain. It turned out it was the Moon.

Jurek described this the hard way in the book North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail. He said, pushing himself to the limit, cleaned and experiencing spiritual transformation. “The human soul finds solace in the beauty of nature, but is tempered in the fire of pain,” he writes.

Jurek not the only athlete that showed the amazing features of human aging. Diana Nyad, swimmer on long distances, wrote the book Find a Way: The Inspiring Story of One Woman’s Pursuit of a Lifelong Dream. In it she tells how in 64 years she realized her dream sailed from Cuba to Florida. She became the first swimmer in the world, overcame the distance without a protective cage from the sharks. The nyad swam 180 km in 53 hours.

These books help to understand how and why the hardiest people on earth persevere when others in their place would have long given up. The reader wonders how far I could go by myself. And more importantly, whether to do it. Athletes-marathon runner β€” not the most reliable source of wisdom, but that’s what makes them so interesting for others.

However, the desire to overcome yourself is not the best slogan for a motivational poster. It often ends in tragedy. For example, the climber Aron Ralston was forced to amputate his own arm to get out from under a fallen boulder on him. Each of Jurika Dean Potter, is engaged in base jumping, was killed during a jump.

I knew a marathon runner who had finished the race when they had kidney failure or died of a brain aneurysm after a 160-kilometer marathon.

Scott Jurek

He and other athletes skillfully learned to reach the limit. And the secret of such excerpts do not in experiments with veganism or the samurai code, which he enjoys, Jurek. Most of his career he just didn’t think about what causes him to do such a tough sport. “When you win a race, rarely ask myself why,” he writes in his book. For athletes of his level of endurance itself is own justification. The main thing for them β€” not to give up.

Science confirms that unwavering aspiration is necessary for the marathon runner, no less than talent. “The psychological and physiological side of endurance are inextricably linked, writes journalist and former marathon runner Alex Hutchinson in the book Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance. β€” Any task lasting more than 10-12 seconds, requires the brain to decide how strongly to persist”.

The brain regularly checks the reserve of physical strength and asked body, how many still hold. Psychologists agree that the brain affects the sense of its own limits. He interpreterpath the signals of the body. Depends on how much effort you can exert at a particular moment. If a little to correct the way of thinking, you can change the perception of its physical limits.

Hutchinson suggests this is the traditional ways: positive thinking and visualization. But there are also less traditional methods. For example, brain training for endurance. Within a few weeks you need to perform a boring task on the computer. This program teaches to deal with the psychological fatigue.

The main stimulus for overcoming their barriers β€” it’s good old self confidence.

Nevertheless, the motivation will not get far. But unshakable faith in their abilities pomogaete Relationship Between Confidence and Performance Throughout a Competitive Season. athletes “enable” the additional speed. “Training is the cake, and faith in yourself is the icing, says Hutchinson. But sometimes even thin layer of glaze plays a crucial role.”

Such faith in themselves formed an unexpected way. It turned out, the main thing β€” not to be introspective. Hutchinson spent a lot of time, the bones examining your wins and losses. But that gave nothing of his career. But Juraku, according to his book, to the Appalachian trail, even in a head did not come to doubt myself. But this marathon has been harder for him others.

In 2015 Juraku was 41, a year earlier he was going to finish cross-country career. But because of family difficulties, decided to participate in one of the harshest races. He was hoping to look inside ourselves, but this self-reflection only hampered the passage way. Already on the seventh day of Jurika covered doubt. He tore one Quad, and he has a very sore knee. In this state, he first began to wonder, why bother in this mess. He helped the mantra that was repeating one of his comrades-marathon runners: “It’s me. That’s what I do.”

No need to think about what you need to endure and move on. It is overcoming your own barriers makes us ourselves.

It helped Juraku not to give up. He wrapped the sore feet of adhesive medical tape and, limping, went further.

Jennifer Pharr Davis, the previous record holder for the passage of the Appalachian trail, confirms the importance of such obsessive determination. She spoke about her experiences in the book “The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience. In it, the athlete shares the secrets and useful habits that have helped her achieve success in Hiking and cross-country running.

Davis twice was the Appalachian trail and set the fastest time of passing among women. “Endurance is not just a human quality. This is the main human quality β€” she writes. β€” We exist only as long as persist”.

Davis wanted to prove that I can overcome this route. Usually men show the best results on all cross-country distances. But when it comes to extreme distances, like on the Appalachian trail, greater lung capacity and strong muscles do not give men the benefits. Women can oppose this more than the physique and the body’s ability to quickly burn fats. As well as the desire to prove that they are capable of. It helped Davies to put the record.


Jennifer Pharr Davis. Photo National Geographic

However, achieving the desired, she left the running. According to her, after giving birth she can no longer go ultra distance. But the obstacle is not the body after childbirth. Motherhood influenced her not so much physically, but emotionally. Now she can’t as much as 46 days to think only about themselves and their interests.

Although Davis lost the competitive spirit, she agreed with Corecom that extreme endurance is more of a calling than a choice. She continues to appreciate such restraint. And even admits that a little jealous of those who have not refused such a lifestyle. But Davies is aware that extreme physical exertion require sacrifice. Most people find in life something more, worth the stop.

But not Scott Jurek. The ill-fated tripping over a root, he again rose to his feet and after a week broke the record Jennifer Pharr Davis.


Jurek and his team at the finish. Photo iRunFar

He walked the Appalachian trail in 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes. Endurance helped him to overcome all obstacles, including himself.

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