From the Art of Manliness – “Finding an Existential Second Wind”
If you’ve ever prepared for a running race, you know how in training you reached a certain pace that seemed like your absolute limit; it seemed impossible to go any faster. And yet, on race day, you did go faster. Even though you thought you were pushing your hardest during your workouts, this was an illusion.
We often think we slow down and stop during athletic training because we run out of physiological energy — that it is the strength of our muscles or the oxygen in our blood that caps our maximum expenditure. Yet research finds that when individuals feel they’ve reached their physical limits, they actually have the capacity to go on for much longer. It isn’t your body that shuts things down, it’s your mind.
The brain exercises a miserly control over the body’s life-sustaining resources; it monitors the environment within and without, and when it feels there’s a risk of your getting too fatigued and run-down, it puts the brakes on your efforts, throwing the switch far from the actual point at which you would become dangerously exhausted.
When something compels you beyond this premature barrier — such as the animating pressures of competition — the parsimonious brain relents, and opens up another store of energy. You experience the proverbial “second wind.”
The phenomenon of the second wind manifests itself not only in regards to physical work, but intellectual, moral, spiritual, emotional . . . and even existential efforts as well.
There is a lot more. To read the rest of the this excellent article, click here to go to the Art Of Manliness.