Building your super power: 14 Lessons from endurance training – Part 1 of 4

Next in this series: Building your super power: 14 Lessons from endurance training – Part 2 of 4

Endurance training is the act of exercising to increase endurance. The term refers to developing the aerobic system rather than the anaerobic system.

At one point in time, I hated running. And I kept wondering why people run. Fast forward to present day, and I’ve run 60+ km in the last week.

I couldn’t imagine how anyone could run even a few hundred meters without music. And now, I leave my phone at home when I go for my runs.

While I can’t say I’ve developed this superpower, I can confidently say, that I’m learning how to develop it. Along the way, I’ve been lucky enough to learn a few things.

1. Slow and steady motions can achieve anything

Learning any skill is about going through the motions slowly and steadily, every day over a period of time. Slowly, it starts yielding results.

Developing skills like learning how to play a musical instrument, learning a language, learning programming, negotiations, managing teams all take time. Any of these can be learned by training yourself over time. It helps you understand that nothing worth achieving has a short cut to it.

Imagine that you’re trying to develop negotiating skills. Will you be able to jump straight into a multi million dollar merger deal or will it make sense when you’ve developed the skill purposely over time? Will it help you to understand people and their motivations? If you put in the effort steadily into understanding the nuances of negotiations, you’ll find that one fine day, you’ve become an expert. It’s a skill like any other, which can be learned by deliberate motions.

To gain expertise at any skill, be it endurance sports, computer programming, listening, coaching, mentoring teams – slow, purposeful motions will take you there.

2. There are no shortcuts

All learning takes time and effort. There are a number of times during the journey when you’ll feel like “WTF is happening here”. It’ll not make any sense. It’ll be frustrating and demotivating. Those are the times when you need to block out the noise and concentrate on the long term. Blinders on – do your thing. Push yourself every single day to get to that big dream – the dream of achieving something you’ve set out to.

During my runs, I notice continuous improvements over several days and then I suddenly hit a wall. Performance starts to dip. It is the most frustrating thing that can happen in the journey. There isn’t shortcut – I just have to go through those motions, learn how to take disappointment in my stride and move on. It helps me overcome challenges in all other aspects of life – work, business, relationships and dealing with frustrations. It doesn’t mean I am immune to it, it just means I learn every day how to better deal with disappointments. Have I now attained nirvana? Certainly not, but I think I’m a lot more aware.

3. Overnight success takes years

The only time you achieve overnight success is when you’ve spent years training for it. The best you can do overnight is to wake up one morning and decide that you want to learn something new.

It’s like you’ve decided to own a super power. To own it, you’ll need to work hard towards it and you’ll need to remember that it will gives you strength like nothing else.

There’s another thing about super powers. If you don’t work on them every day, you lose them. You become rusty. It’s true for every aspect of life – relationships, work, business, music, endurance training. They all require hard work and they become better the more thoughtfully you spend time and effort on them. The good part is, that by the time you realize you own the superpower it has already become a part of you. At this point it’s a lot easier to maintain it. Rather, it’s not easier, but you’ve become stronger, and it flows without much resistance.

The age old adage is true – taking something for granted is a sure shot way of losing it.

Continued if the next post…

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