This week I’d like to talk about a quality that can take you a really long way called staying power.
Athletic ability is great if you’ve got it, but even that only takes you so far. Pretty soon, you’ll run into someone better equipped and just as talented, if not more. At that point, it becomes about conditioning, preparation, experience, and finally, who simply wants it more.
Back in my competition days, I won quite a few matches against better, more talented fighters simply because I was able to outlast them. I couldn’t defeat them, but I could defend long enough to survive the initial onslaught. Then, when their meter started running down, I still had a pretty full tank of gas. As their reactions started slowing down, I could often catch them with one or two moves I’d practiced a thousand times. That was good because I only had a couple moves back then!
That’s why when I work with athletes during the off-season, my goal is to teach them how to train so their workouts are much harder than their actual events. The game should be easy compared to the training.
But if skill, conditioning and experience are equal, it comes down to one other thing: “Who wants it more?” This is about heart and desire—where staying power goes past your actual physical capabilities.
There’s an awesome long distance runner named Dean Karnazes with the nickname Ultramarathon Man. He runs marathons (26.2 mi) on the way to 50 mile races! This guy has actually run 50 marathons in 50 days. He’s also run 100 mile races in the desert, and gone even further under other extreme conditions.
Dean’s obviously an amazing athlete at the super elite level, but these events take it to another level. He has an ability to keep going, when the extreme pain and suffering would make almost everyone else on the planet to stop.
Look at our combat soldiers. Their training is designed to develop this capability, even at the basic level. Then, as the warriors become more elite, their training gets even more intense, weeding out those who might give up under such extreme circumstances—with no shame, by the way—all of us would. But those elite few who survive learn their mind can take them a lot further than their bodies alone.
We see examples of this quality here in our normal lives too. People right around us are often faced with unbelievable trials and challenges like dealing with disease and disabilities, and still find a way to keep on going.
And I don’t know anyone who got a college degree by dropping out in the first semester. You have to finish before you can graduate and get that degree.
What we need to do, is learn how to put that kind of staying power in our exercise and weight loss programs. When we can learn to apply that kind of discipline and attention to staying the course and getting it done, that’s when we’ll finally see the results we want.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tomdolanfitness !