This spring kicks off with three of the most extreme marathons out there: the Antarctica Marathon, the Dead Sea Ultra Marathon and the Marathon des Sables, which unfolds in the Moroccan Sahara. Entrants in these races are not necessarily expected to finish – just placing is an accomplishment. In fact, with the insane weather conditions, simply showing up to run on the sand or ice is a feat.
Wondering what it would take you to get to a marathon starting line – or up on a mountain bike, surfboard or skydiving plane, for that matter?
Here are three sports mental training secrets that help Adrenalists do more when it counts.
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There was once a prevailing belief that success stems from high self-esteem, but today the consensus is that success originates from self-discipline. Why do psychologists believe that this trait cuts it? Largely because of the classic “marshmallow test,” which was conducted by the American psychologists in the late 60. The study explored delayed gratification: the ability to pass up an instant reward in favor of a delayed but more desirable one. The subjects, 4-year-old children, were told they could eat a marshmallow they were presented, but if they waited for 15 minutes without succumbing to the temptation, they would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. A third of the group remained iron-willed enough to delay and claim the greater prize. Aim to emulate those successful kids and demonstrate patience, persistence and restraint in your extreme sports ventures. Success does not come immediately, so harden yourself to wait for it as you perfect your Adrenaline-fueled craft.
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We learn through repetition, the more you practice the better you get, as the Greek philosopher Aristotle knew. How many hours should you practice? The answer is 10,000, according to Malcolm Gladwell, which pans out as about 10 years of deliberate training. The more hours the better, because that way you become supremely efficient – a goal machine.
How do you maintain your stamina for hours upon hours of practice? The trick is to visualize the end result – and help mentally train your muscle memory for success.
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You have probably heard a thousand times that you should never, ever give up. Cliche, but true. You cannot achieve meaningful success without intense tenacity. However dire a predicament may seem, with a little luck, will to win beats skill to win. However, science does warn that we have limited reserves of willpower, which is dependent on glucose – the main kind of sugar in the blood, which is a finite energy resource, which means that discipline is fatiguing – your resolve runs out like the gas in your car. So beware of trying to be superman or superwoman in everything you do. Focus on the goals that matter to you – whether you want to execute a ”tailwhip” on your bike, carve a monster 100-ft wave or just somehow get your beat body over the finish line at the end of a marathon.