‘This book is AMAZING!’ – MALCOLM GLADWELL
‘If you want to gain insight into the mind of great athletes, adventurers, and peak performers then prepare to be enthralled by Alex Hutchinson’s Endure.’ – BEAR GRYLLS
How high or far or fast can humans go? And what about individual potential: what defines a person’s limits? From running a two-hour marathon to summiting Mount Everest, we’re fascinated by the extremes of human endurance, constantly testing both our physical and psychological limits.
In Endure Alex Hutchinson, Ph.D., reveals why our individual limits may be determined as much by our head and heart, as by our muscles. He presents an overview of science’s search for understanding human fatigue, from crude experiments with electricity and frogs’ legs to sophisticated brain imaging technology. Going beyond the traditional mechanical view of human limits, he instead argues that a key element in endurance is how the brain responds to distress signals—whether heat, or cold, or muscles screaming with lactic acid—and reveals that we can train to improve brain response.
An elite distance runner himself, Hutchinson takes us to the forefront of the new sports psychology – brain electrode jolts, computer-based training, subliminal messaging – and presents startling new discoveries enhancing the performance of athletes today, showing us how anyone can utilize these tactics to bolster their own performance – and get the most out of their bodies.
‘This book is AMAZING!’ — MALCOLM GLADWELL
‘If you want to gain insight into the mind of great athletes, adventurers, and peak performers then prepare to be enthralled by Alex Hutchinson’s Endure.’ –BEAR GRYLLS
‘Anyone who has ever felt exhausted, whether from heat or cold or altitude or pain or simply a loss of will, is going to find their own experience in this book.” — DAVID EPSTEIN, author of The Sports Gene
An essential read for every endurance athlete.” — AMBY BURFOOT, 1968 Boston Marathon winner and editor of Runner's World Complete Book of Running
‘This is an excellent resource for anyone seeking to better to understand how our minds influence our ultimate performances.’ — TIM NOAKES, emeritus professor of exercise science at the University of Cape Town
‘An intelligent, exhaustively researched study.’ – The Times
About the author
Alex Hutchinson is a contributing editor at Popular Mechanics magazine, senior editor at Canadian Running magazine, and columnist for the Toronto Globe and Mail. He holds a master's in journalism from Columbia and a Ph.D. in physics from Cambridge, and he did his post-doctoral research with the U.S. National Security Agency.
In this intricate and probing exploration, Hutchinson, an Outside magazine columnist and avid runner, chases down various theories concerning how the brain and body work together to either limit or stretch the boundaries of human endurance. In delving into this puzzle, Hutchinson finds many contradictions: for instance, at times pain slows athletes to a halt, and at "other times it drives them to even greater heights." Though a good portion of the text is devoted to running (including a recap of one of Hutchinson's own races), readers are also treated to the trials and tribulations of motorcyclists, mountain climbers, free divers (who risk their lives by diving without oxygen tanks), elite race walkers, and other athletes, as well as to commentary by the scientists and sports physiologists who study them. Hutchinson examines how the brain and body interact, observing, "Your brain is looking out for your well-being in ways that are outside your conscious control and that kick in long before you reach a point of actual physiological crisis." Readers seeking simple answers or straightforward workout directives won't find them in Hutchinson's intriguing study, but they will be prompted to think deeply about how human limits can be transcended.