Sunday, January 24, 2021

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

The guys and I have been doing socially-distanced CrossFitâ„¢-style training for awhile now. In between sucking wind for fireman's carries, box jumps, and battle rope sessions, I wondered how someone in the best possible shape would do. What drives some people to run further and lift more than others? And what keeps them from doing even more? Alex Hutchinson's book, Endure, investigates the answers:

In case you couldn't figure it out from the Malcolm Gladwell foreword and cover quote, Endure is the kind of sprawling popular science survey that synthesizes dozens of disparate anecdotes and studies into Big Picture messages on exercise and human endurance - sort of an athlete-only version of Outliers: The Story of Success. You get entertaining (and sometimes tragic) stories about the truly exceptional (and somewhat nuts) endurance athletes - the ultramarathoners, the mountain climbers, the deep sea free divers.

Framing it all is Nike's famous Breaking2 project aimed at running a sub-two hour marathon, perhaps the greatest feat in endurance sports. If you've seen the documentary, you know how that ends, but for Eliud Kipchoge and the other inspiring extreme athletes featured in Endure, there really never is an end.


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