Endurance Training for the Mind, Body, and Soul

August 5, 2011
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Sabra Bander & Robin "Pockets" Figurelle

Looking for an opportunity to strengthen your body AND your mind?  Consider training for an endurance athletic event. Central and Northern Michigan is home to hundreds of outstanding running, biking, and swimming events each year.  From Flint to Petoskey, events are offered for various ages and fitness levels, all held along the backdrop of Michigan’s beautiful landscape.

Will it be easy?  Probably not!  Consider this Buddha Quote:  “Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is the one who endures that the final victory comes.”  In other words, plan to work hard and struggle along the way, yet count on the payoff being worth it.  Having the ability to set an achieve goals whether athletic or personal is a sign of personal leadership and self-mastery – themes that resonate strongly within the Dale Carnegie Community.  Following are a few thoughts on achieving goals – in athletic pursuits and in life:

Set A Goal & Get Moving! 

You can’t get anywhere without taking that ever important first step.  If you are new to a sport or exercise in general, set a goal to simply “get moving” for 15-mins per day.  Although this sounds small, at the end of the week you have exercised for nearly two more hours than the week prior.  Then the following week, increase your time to twenty minutes, and so on.  Adding length to your activity in incremental steps will make the change easier to implement and keep you moving in the right direction.   Studies have shown that a fairly sedentary person can start training and complete a 5k run (3.1 miles) in just eight weeks.  Check out the Couch Potato to 5k running plan here

Strengthen Your Mental Resolve.

Endurance training, whether for Triathlon’s or single sport events, is hard.  Laura Fletcher of Flint gives this advice: “At times you really want to stop, but you can always choose to keep moving; one step, one stroke or one pedal until you cross the finish line.  This training prepares you for other hard times in life so that when you encounter challenges, you have the ability to focus, redirect, take action, and get things done.  The stronger I get my body, the stronger my mind becomes.”

Find A Workout Buddy.

While some people enjoy the peace and solitude of training alone, others find real value in sharing their journey with others.  Studies have shown that you are far less likely to skip your morning swim at the club if you promised to meet your friend there at 6am.  Workout partners share the pain and the glory. “At events, I’ve found that having the support of friends makes things much easier, and much more fun” said Sabra Bander of Whitmore Lake who recently completed the Warrier Dash in Mount Morris.  “In certain events, I could have gotten a faster clock time than I did, however, I found it more fun to cheer my friends on and push them forward than it would have been to run ahead.”

Face Your Fears!

Gloria Roberts faces her fear!

After running her first 5k in 2010, Gloria Roberts became “hooked” on endurance training and has completed several events since.  “I’ve discovered that sometimes the thing you fear the most really isn’t that bad at all,” said Roberts, and engineer from Warren.  She continued, “For example, my biggest worry in one recent adventure race was an obstacle where you jump over two fires. The fire looked so high in pictures, and it’s located near the end of the race, so I thought I’d be too tired to jump high enough and might burn my feet off.  When I got to the fire, it was nothing! So I gave my best war cry, charged the fires full speed, and cleared them both – no problem!  To sum it up, I train to be as strong, physically and mentally, as I can and I find that prepares me for any task I set out to conquer.”

Mind-Body-Spirit- It’s All Connected

Your mind sets the goal and strengthens your resolve to do it.  Your body responds to the pressure of training by becoming stronger, faster, leaner, and more equipped to challenge.  Your spirit is lifted by your new-found faith in yourself, and that spirit inspires you to set the next goal.  “Though my running, biking, and yoga, I have learned I am stronger mentally, physically and emotionally than I ever gave myself credit for,” says Teri Emrich, Health Care professional from Royal Oak.  “This confidence rolls over into my professional life, and I’m finally able to see strengths in myself that others have always seen in me.”

Ready to go? Mark your calendars for the CRIM Festival of Races, slated for the weekend of August 27th.  This highly-lauded running event is top-ranked event in its class, and a source of pride for the entire Flint community.  There is something for everyone, ranging from a 1-mile walk to a 10 mile run, and even special events for children.  Sign up at the CRIM website here.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Mid & Northern Michigan, providers ofprofessional development and management development courses and information in Mid & Northern Michigan. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

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