Tim Noakes, famous sports physiologist, is fond of saying that 80 percent
of endurance success is physical, while the other 60 percent is mental!
However humorous that may sound, the truth is that once we’ve lost the
weight and cleared the lungs, the physical advantages to be gained from
training, in the domains of progressive overload and super-compensation,
are rather small—about 12 percent in some cases. After this stage,
physical training mostly provides us with opportunities to confront our
In his book, “Every Second Counts,” Lance Armstrong reflects on the 2000
Tour de France and his troubled climb up the Joux-Plane Mountain. He
writes that if he allowed temporary pain to cause him to quit, “it would
have lasted forever, that surrender, even the smallest act of giving up,
would have stayed with me for the duration.” He suggests that when we feel
like quitting we have to ask ourselves, “which would we rather live with,”
the immediate pain of continuing or the lifelong memory of quitting.
Buddhist philosophy also asserts that when one transcends suffering, he or
she reaps rewards. Armstrong provides an example of this when he writes
that when the pain of climbing the mountain subsides, “something else
takes its place, and maybe that thing is greater space. For happiness.” By
swimming, cycling or running through the temporary pain, we experience new
emotions that were, prior to transcending the pain, inaccessible.
Excerpts from Bobby McGee, Beginnertriathlete.com