Endure
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Endure : Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance

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From the National Magazine Award-winning Runner's World columnist, frequent NewYorker.com contributor, and Cambridge-trained physicist: a fascinating and definitive exploration of the science of endurance and peak performance


From the two-hour marathon to the summit of Mount Everest, we're fascinated by the extremes of human endurance. How high or far or fast can humans go? And what about me-what defines my personal limits? According to a century's worth of physiology textbooks, the answers lie in the size of your heart, the capacity of your lungs, and the strength of your muscles. But a wave of dramatic findings over the past decade has completely overturned our understanding of human limits. Endure, from Runner's World and NewYorker.com contributor Alex Hutchinson, brings this radical new science of endurance to a general audience for the first time, leading to a surprising conclusion: It's the brain that dictates your limits-and that means they can always be pushed a little farther.


Hutchinson traces our attempts over the last hundred years to understand human fatigue, from the crude experiments of the early twentieth century (physiologists cutting the legs of frogs and electrocuting them) to the use of sophisticated brain imaging technology. Hutchinson presents a wholly new understanding of endurance, untethered from the traditional mechanistic view of human limits (like a car with a brick on its gas pedal, we go until the tank runs out of gas). Instead, he persuasively argues, a key element is how the brain responds to distress signals -- whether heat, or cold, or muscles screaming with lactic acid -- and we can train to improve this brain response.


Traveling to the forefront of the new sports psychology landscape -- from brain electrode jolts to computer-based training to subliminal messaging -- Hutchinson makes accessible a host of startling new discoveries. An elite distance runner himself, Hutchinson shows readers how they can use these tactics to bolster their own performance and get the most out of their bodies.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 158 x 234 x 27.94mm | 476.27g
  • HarperCollins
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0062499866
  • 9780062499868
  • 28,541

Back cover copy

LIMITS ARE AN ILLUSION: A REVOLUTIONARY ACCOUNT OF THE SCIENCE AND PSYCHOLOGY OF ENDURANCE, REVEALING THE SECRETS OF REACHING THE EXTRA POTENTIAL WITHIN US ALL.

The capacity to endure is the key trait that underlies great performance in virtually every field--from a 100-meter sprint to a 100-mile ultramarathon, from summiting Everest to acing final exams or completing any difficult project. But what if we all can go farther, push harder, and achieve more than we think we're capable of?

Blending cutting-edge science and gripping storytelling in the spirit of Malcolm Gladwell--who contributes the book's foreword--award-winning journalist Alex Hutchinson reveals that a wave of paradigm-altering research over the past decade suggests the seemingly physical barriers you encounter are set as much by your brain as by your body. This means the mind is the new frontier of endurance--and that the horizons of performance are much more elastic than we once thought.

But, of course, it's not "all in your head." For each of the physical limits that Hutchinson explores--pain, muscle, oxygen, heat, thirst, fuel--he carefully disentangles the delicate interplay of mind and body by telling the riveting stories of men and women who've pushed their own ultimate limits in extraordinary ways.

The longtime "Sweat Science" columnist for Outside and Runner's World, Hutchinson, a former national-team long-distance runner and Cambridge-trained physicist, was one of only two reporters granted access to Nike's top-secret training project to break the two-hour marathon barrier, an extreme quest he traces throughout the book. But the lessons he draws from shadowing elite athletes and from traveling to high-tech labs around the world are surprisingly universal. Endurance, Hutchinson writes, is "the struggle to continue against a mounting desire to stop"--and we're always capable of pushing a little farther.
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Review quote

"This book is AMAZING!"--MALCOLM GLADWELL "Examines how we can push beyond our limits. ... Gives a gripping insight into the mind of great athletes, adventurers and peak performers to find out what gives them the capacity to push harder and achieve more."--The Independent (Ireland) "[Hutchinson] has a true gift for writing compelling sports stories and combining them with deft analyses of cutting-edge research. ... A captivating and often moving book with something to offer readers interested in health, athleticism, neuroscience, and the human condition."--Kirkus (*starred review*) "Persuasive and motivating. ... Transports readers to a realm where psychology, environment, and physiology all intersect."--Booklist (*starred review*) "The best popular science book on human performance I've ever read."--Mark Burnley, Ph.D., School of Sport and Exercise Sciences at the University of Kent "Cinematic. ... Thrilling. ... Hutchinson excels at making the science cohere around his central question: what limits us, our body or our mind?"--Canadian Running "Hutchinson looks at the art and science of endurance, with a focus on running but with take-aways that can be applied to any project, mental or physical."--Globe and Mail (Toronto) "Makes the case that we're actually underestimating our potential, and reveals how we can all surpass our perceived physical limits."--Adam Grant, LinkedIn.com "Want to achieve more? Often that means you have to do more -- and Alex will show you how."--Inc. "Fascinating (and motivating). ... Hutchinson sheds light on how humans accomplish our most absurd athletic achievements."--Esquire "If you want to gain insight into the mind of great athletes, adventurers, and peak performers then prepare to be enthralled by Alex Hutchinson's Endure."--Bear Grylls, Mt. Everest summiteer and host of NBC's Running Wild with Bear Grylls "Endure is a pure science book that goes deep, especially into the mind, and the pacing and story-telling are top notch."--Runner's World "So good. Smart, inspiring, and just fun to read. Makes me wanna be a better runner (and faster reader)."--GRETCHEN REYNOLDS, New York Times "Well" columnist and author of The First 20 Minutes "A fascinating exploration of the limits of the human body--and, to a large extent, the human mind. .... A must-read. ... Highly relevant for those looking to better understand and improve their performance off the playing field, too. "--BRAD STULBERG and STEVE MAGNESS, authors of Peak Performance "A perfect book for the armchair athlete. ... If you ever wonder, How do they do that? Hutchinson has the answers. ... Discovers that what we think of as our limits are set by our minds, not by our bodies."--Success ("AHA! Reading List") "Alex Hutchinson's Endure is so much more than a sports book. It is a voyage to the outer reaches of human capacity."--DAVID EPSTEIN, author of The Sports Gene "Carefully researched and based on the most current ideas in the science of running, Alex Hutchinson's Endure is written with a fluency that makes it easily accessible for all runners. This is an excellent resource for anyone seeking to better to understand how our minds influence our ultimate performances."--TIM NOAKES, emeritus professor of exercise science at the University of Cape Town "We're all intrigued by amazing feats of human endurance, from Everest to marathon world records to global Ironman competitions. How do they do it? Alex Hutchinson's Endure explores the topic from every conceivable angle. An essential read for every endurance athlete."--AMBY BURFOOT, 1968 Boston Marathon winner, Runner's World writer-at-large, and editor of Runner's World Complete Book of Running
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About Alex Hutchinson

Alex Hutchinson, Ph.D., is a columnist for Outside magazine and was a long-time columnist for Runner's World. A National Magazine Award winner, he is a regular contributor to The New Yorker online, pens the weekly "Jockology" column in the Toronto Globe and Mail, and writes for the New York Times. FiveThirtyEight recently named him one of their "favorite running science geeks." He was a two-time finalist in the 1,500 meters at the Canadian Olympic Trials, and represented Canada internationally in track, cross-country, road racing, and mountain running competitions. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Cambridge, and has worked as a researcher for the U.S. National Security Agency. He lives in Toronto, Canada.
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Rating details

2,689 ratings
4.17 out of 5 stars
5 39% (1,047)
4 43% (1,150)
3 16% (423)
2 2% (56)
1 0% (13)
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