Fatigue is an Emotion

Dear Reader,

Did my title seem shocking? I’ve never heard fatigue described quite like that, so it got me thinking.

Any Spartan Racers, Tough Mudders or Iron Men reading this? Keep reading.

What if I told you that I heard it from a renowned fitness researcher?

I was lucky enough to come across a lecture by Dr. Tim Noakes, MD, DSc titled: Challenging Beliefs. If you can spare 15-minutes of your time, I highly recommend watching the video of the Ted Talk.

Anyway, he briefly touches on the subject since his lecture is about a few other topics as well, asking very logical questions that debunk the fatigue reasons commonly quoted, such as lactic acid build up in the muscles. I know. It’s what we’ve all been taught.

He elaborates on his theory by giving other influencing factors, such as anticipation affecting pace; this means you can pace yourself and go much further (lower intensity). He uses a sprinter to illustrate his point; the runners pace was steady until the end when a huge speed increase is noted.

Basically, he states: we can always go further, there is always reserve and we are always capable of an end spurt.

His entire paper, on the subject, can be read here.

At the bottom of the paper is where I found his most interesting hypothesis:

At the end of the race, it’s not the body that wins or loses, but it’s the 2nd or 3rd place finishers mental decision that they aren’t going to win that loses the race…

I want you to go forth with this and see if it holds true for you too. I’ve already tried it in my own running and I think he is right.

FATIGUE is purely an EMOTION.

Today, we should decide to win.

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