David YonGuest columnistDavid Yon(Photo: David Yon)
There is a bewitching effect that comes from chasing an unreachable march, both on a personal basis and a worldwide stage. Especially, when those achievements previously were thought to represent the outer reach of human achievement. Running examples include the 4-minute mile and the sub 2-hour marathon.
Most active runners (and other athletes) spend at least some time trying to test their limits. And of course, racing is one way to do so.
Perhaps the 4-minute mile becomes the 6-minute mile and the sub 2-hour marathon becomes sub 3-hour marathon.
While the weeks of quarantine keep ticking by choking the life out of the racing season, the memories of what it is like to race are growing dim. It is a great time to turn to a book.
Quite some time ago, Gary Griffin loaned me a book titled "Endure," written by Alex Hutchinson.While I loved and highly recommend this book, be aware it contains a lot of detailed statistical analyses looking for the limits of human endurance in many activities.
Of course, that analytical approach is also what makes the book a fascinating read. Its subtitle says it all Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance.
Hutchinson, a writer for Runners World, Outside Magazine, The New Yorker and the New York Times, and other periodicals, takes readers on a journey around the globe to get the latest and best science research looking to answer the questions of what sets the limits of human endurance, assuming limits exist.
He was a two-time finalist in the Canadian 1500 meters Olympic Trials. That background is helpful, no doubt, but he also delves into the endurance worlds of cycling, deep diving, mountaineering, expeditions and much more.
The book begins with Hutchinson watching the first attempt to host a sub-two-hour marathon. He breaks away for the rest of the book and returns to the race for the final 1.5 laps.He moves on to talk about Roger Banisters sub 4-minute mile. He takes us to almost every continent to look at the latest in research. There are also mountain climbers and ultrarunners, cyclists and many more who do truly give it their all, literally.
The search is to understand how real perceived limitations are on the human body . Why do those limits get pushed back. The thread through the book is the tension between three ideas: (1) The body as a machine; (2) The (subconscious) central governor; and (3) The conscious quitter.
The body as a machine is perhaps the oldest way of looking at endurance.Muscles fatigue and the runner stops or gets cramps.The physical characteristics of body plus how much pain the mind can stand set the limits. A marathoners limit could be determined by their aerobic capacity (VO2max), running economy (efficiency), and lactate threshold.
The second idea is the belief there is a central governor buried somewhere deep in the brain and it constantly monitors the bodys ability to perform without blowing up. It then gives the commands to go, slow down or stop.This is all done at an unconscious level.
Finally, the conscious quitter idea is like the central governor theory except the decision making by the brain is more often on the conscious level. It also differs in that it operates more on a perceived effort basis.
One researcher described endurance as the struggle to continue against a mounting desire to stop. The brain, or some part of it, shouts out commands based primarily on the perceived effort of the runner, shutting everything down when it believes danger is too great.
The warnings from thirst versus dehydration surprised me and clearly suggested I have been wrong to skip the last water table in a race. The author spends a lot of time trying to dispel inaccurate information about hydration. After noting the human body is 50-70 percent water, Hutchinson states that a 150-pound person generally carries around 40 liters of water. Clearly dehydration can kill but it may not mean much in a marathon.
A century ago, Hutchinson writes, the prevailing advice was to avoid drinking during a race at all cost. And the thinking was that water could lead to an upset stomach and could not pass through the intestines and be helpful until after the race was completed.
The advent of Gatorade and other supplements changed this, and the instruction became drink early and often. Dont wait until you are thirsty. Hyponatremia (when the body holds onto too much water), and the death of a runner at the 2002 Boston Marathon led to those instructions being changed.
When Haile Gebrselassie ran his world record marathon in 2007 in a time of 2:04:26, he lost 10% of his body weight. In lab tests he was sweating 3.6 liters of water in an hour, one of the highest amounts ever recorded.His gastric emptying rate (how fast water emptied out of his stomach) was only 1.3 liters per hour.
So rather than obsess with his total dehydration, Gebrselassie, simply focused on drinking what his body could handle and avoid thirst. Many other elite marathoners follow that same pattern.
Hutchinson made one more important observation. Thirst, rather than dehydration, was the key indicator for the need for water. Those famous words drink before you are thirsty may not be accurate for a marathon.
Apparently, thirst measures the concentration of plasma osmolality of the blood (sodium and electrolytes). Gebrselassie can be dehydrated, but as long as he is not thirsty he will be fine. A set of studies supported the key for performance is not whether someone is dehydrated, but whether they are thirsty.
The human body remains a remarkable performer and there is a lot to learn before we find its limits. When you think you have exhausted all your resources, push hard one more time there might be more left than you know.
David Yon is addicted to running. In his spare time, he is an attorney with the Radey Law Firm.
Never miss a story: Subscribe to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Read or Share this story: https://www.tallahassee.com/story/life/wellness/2020/06/29/really-everything-you-have-give/3274352001/
View original post here:
Is that really everything you have to give? | Yon - Tallahassee Democrat
- Yes, Mr Cummings, energy efficiency is boring if you have a one inch deep mind - The Fifth Estate - July 7th, 2020
- Breaking News - Documentary "Stockton on My Mind" Debuts July 28 on HBO - The Futon Critic - July 7th, 2020
- The Importance and the Consequences of Writing a Will - The Wire - July 7th, 2020
- Deep cultural shifts required: open letter from 500 legal women calls for reform of way judges are appointed and disciplined - UNSW Newsroom - July 7th, 2020
- Married to the Military: Dont neglect your mental health - The Fayetteville Observer - July 7th, 2020
- Suddenly, The Investment Market Comes Out Of The Deep Freeze - Bisnow - July 7th, 2020
- In Conversation: Thandie Newton - Vulture - July 7th, 2020
- Backstory: Emergency by Any Other Name Cuts as Deep - The Wire - July 4th, 2020
- FAMILY MATTERS: Open eyes and mind to teen's ascent to adulthood - Eagle-Tribune - July 4th, 2020
- Experts see 'deep trouble' for Trump overcoming plummet in the polls - Missoula Current - July 4th, 2020
- Love that stifles... - Deccan Herald - July 4th, 2020
- The long road back from COVID-19 - The Boston Globe - July 4th, 2020
- The Ripple: Healing Divisive Minds and Grieving Hearts - Aledo Times Record - July 2nd, 2020
- Deep sea coral garden found in the unlikeliest of places - Metro.co.uk - July 2nd, 2020
- Georgia on my mind - The Parliament Magazine - July 2nd, 2020
- COVID-19 and Teletherapy May Be Changing How Much You Know About Your Therapist - Michigan Medicine - July 2nd, 2020
- A conversation about racism opened my eyes The Foothills Focus - Foothills Focus - July 2nd, 2020
- Eric and Wendy Schmidt back Cambridge University effort to equip researchers with A.I. skills - CNBC - June 29th, 2020
- Change Our Mind: it is your civic duty to buy performance estates - Top Gear - June 29th, 2020
- Research: Artificial neural networks are more similar to the brain than we thought - TNW - June 29th, 2020
- Moving forward by turning to the past: Oregon Historical Quarterly takes a deep dive into Oregons white supremacist roots - KGW.com - June 29th, 2020
- Trump's scorched-earth handling of environment extends to oceans too - Las Vegas Sun - June 29th, 2020
- Why Facebook chose to open its first European A.I. lab in Paris and not London - CNBC - June 23rd, 2020
- Decoding the link between Artificial Neural Networks and Deep Learning Algorithms - Analytics Insight - June 23rd, 2020
- Deftones' 'White Pony': 10 Things We Learned From Chino Moreno - Revolver Magazine - June 23rd, 2020
- Stranger Things: David Harbour compares Hopper to Gandalf the White - lcbcradio.com - June 23rd, 2020
- #9 Ways How Meditation Can Strengthen Our Mind, Body, and Soul - Entrepreneur - June 23rd, 2020
- Which Type of Yoga Should You Try? - United News of Bangladesh - June 23rd, 2020
- If You Want to Change, Start from the Ground Up - SFGate - June 23rd, 2020
- The Ripple: Equality and Balance is an Inside Job - Newton Press Mentor - June 20th, 2020
- Matters of the mind: Impact of lockdown and Covid-19 on marriages - The Indian Express - June 20th, 2020
- Something to Muench on: In a word, priceless! - The Cross Timbers Gazette - June 20th, 2020
- What came to mind when I acted dead - Daily Trust - June 20th, 2020
- The race to develop AI chips heats up as Graphcore says it's shipped 'tens of thousands' - CNBC - June 9th, 2020
- Stay Home, Watch Horror: 5 Deep Space Horror Movies to Stream This Week - Bloody Disgusting - June 9th, 2020
- COVID-19 Pandemic Spurs Strong Demand for Cloud AI in Warehousing, Healthcare and Conversational AI - Olean Times Herald - June 9th, 2020
- Thanks To Renewables And Machine Learning, Google Now Forecasts The Wind - Forbes - June 2nd, 2020
- New York's state of mind: Part II -- Former TH reporter shares account of COVID-19 in Big Apple - telegraphherald.com - June 2nd, 2020
- Dalai Lama and UW expert share message of hope, determination, and education of the mind - University of Wisconsin-Madison - June 2nd, 2020
- The top ten Scottish bands ever (from the mind of Alan Partridge) Aidan Smith - The Scotsman - June 2nd, 2020
- 5 natural ways to boost your mental health during stressful times - wreg.com - June 2nd, 2020
- DeepMind's AI Can Predict the Progression of AMD Eye Condition - Analytics Insight - May 25th, 2020
- New AI from DeepMind and Google can detect a common cause of blindness - The Next Web - May 25th, 2020
- Best Deep Sleep Music To Calm Your Mind at Night - SheKnows - May 25th, 2020
- Crash mastered and all-time high in mind - Tradimo - May 25th, 2020
- 'This is my deep breath': New Jersey pro surfer returns to the water in Ventnor for the first time since coronavirus closed the beach - Press of... - May 25th, 2020
- Google wants to give 'superpowers' to clinicians. Today it's helping them find hotel rooms - FierceHealthcare - May 25th, 2020
- This free AI chatbot helps businesses fight COVID-19 misinformation - The Next Web - May 25th, 2020
- Orange Grove resident helps to heal your mind through sound - Rosebank Killarney Gazette - May 25th, 2020
- AI collaboration develops an 'early warning system' for AMD - AOP - May 25th, 2020
- Mind-Blowing Deep Cosmos Discovery: The Oldest Disk Galaxy From The Earliest Days Of The Universe - Dual Dove - May 25th, 2020
- Facebook's head of AI says Elon Musk 'has no idea what he is talking about' - Business Insider India - May 15th, 2020
- Elon Musk has a complex relationship with the A.I. community - CNBC - May 15th, 2020
- Mind the Digital Gap - World Coal - May 15th, 2020
- New "Mind the Gap" resource from IADSA focuses on threat to eye health from blue light - Nutritional Outlook - May 15th, 2020
- Lockdown really frees the mind to delve deep into thoughts of future - The National - May 15th, 2020
- 'Spring Rain' Is a Superb Graphic Memoir of the Vagaries of Mind and Memory - PopMatters - May 15th, 2020
- Henry Ford III is rising to top of dynasty in deep trouble - San Antonio Express-News - May 15th, 2020
- 6 Nutrition Tips to Help You Sleep Better and Run Faster - runnersworld.com - May 15th, 2020
- Plan2Explore adapts to exploration tasks without fine-tuning - VentureBeat - May 15th, 2020
- The Well Gardened Mind by Sue Stuart-Smith review unwinding with nature - The Guardian - May 6th, 2020
- Can the Modern Mind Find Peace Without Delusion? - On the elusiveness of gratitude and confidence in our times - Chabad.org - May 6th, 2020
- World Asthma Day 2020: Things asthma patients must keep in mind - The Indian Express - May 6th, 2020
- Deep-rooted canola holds on in the dry - Farm Weekly - May 6th, 2020
- Exploring the life and legacy of Selena, 25 years later - KHOU.com - May 6th, 2020
- Machine Learning Artificial intelligence Market 2020, Thrives the Growth at Impressive CAGR Over Forecast Period 2027 COVID-19 Impact on Global... - May 2nd, 2020
- Googles AI can adjust voice emotion, pitch, and speed with 30 minutes of data - VentureBeat - May 2nd, 2020
- The Original Pawleys Island Introduces the Comfort Collection Deep Seating Swing just in time for Mother's Day - PRNewswire - April 22nd, 2020
- 'Take Deep Breaths, Make Your Bed' Therapists Offer Tips for Maintaining Mental Health During the Coronavirus - Evanston RoundTable - April 22nd, 2020
- Putting AI to work against COVID-19 - PHG Foundation - April 22nd, 2020
- ''Like Free-Riding In Deep Snow - Inside The Mind Of A Red Bull Wingsuit Flyer - The Sportsman - April 12th, 2020
- How to meditate if you have never tried before - WHAS11.com - April 12th, 2020
- Apple, Google have teamed up to build system-level COVID-19 contact tracing, interoperable APIs for iOS, Android - MobiHealthNews - April 12th, 2020
- AUDIOBOOKS: Words, books and politics | - theberkshireedge.com - April 12th, 2020
- West Virginia peak now expected today, but Marsh says that doesn't mean back to normal right away - WV MetroNews - West Virginia MetroNews - April 12th, 2020
- DeepMinds AI models transition of glass from a liquid to a solid - VentureBeat - April 9th, 2020
- AI and the coronavirus fight: How artificial intelligence is taking on COVID-19 - ZDNet - April 9th, 2020
- Step away from the news and breathe - Waukon Standard - April 9th, 2020
- Companies are bracing for the toughest phase in business continuity: Karan Bajwa - Livemint - April 9th, 2020
- Applying Artificial Intelligence in the Fight Against The Coronavirus - HIT Consultant - April 1st, 2020