If you are stuck at home because of the coronavirus pandemic and have watched every endurance sports documentary on Netflix, fear not – there is an array of TED Talks perfect for runners, cyclists, swimmers and other endurance athletes at your fingertips.
Are Athletes Really Getting Faster, Better, Stronger? – David Epstein
Athletes are going further and faster than ever before. Distances that took people days to traverse a century ago are being knocked off by the likes of Kilian Jornet in a matter of hours.
It is tempting to assume humans are getting faster or stronger. But humans haven’t changed, only our understanding of them has.
The opportunity of adversity – Aimee Mullins
A Paralympic athlete shares a message all endurance athletes can relate to – adversity is not an obstacle to be avoided, but a part of our lives. Mullins discusses how we should meet adversity. Language is powerful, she said, and we should use it to empower our children and others around us.
There is the fact she is an amputee, and the subjective societal projection that she is disabled. Words are power.
How “Normal People” Can Train Like the World’s Best Endurance Athletes – Stephen Seiler
Want to get more out of your training? Learn about the two fundamentals of training – duration and intensity.
Intensity is the harder to measure but Seiler has worked to quantify the training of hundreds of athletes to find out if the adage “no pain, no gain” is true.
The Female Athlete: Missing in Action – Cheryl Cooky
Why is covering women in sport somehow a novelty? The media pat themselves on the back when they make the exception to cover women in sport. And when women are covered, too often the focus is on an athlete’s appearance, not performance.
Cooky discusses the issue and the problems it creates.
How Endurance Athletes Are Using the Power of the Now – Ned Phillips
Phillips was a cynic about mindfulness. But then he took on a coach for mental training and it altered his outlook and performance.
If you are thinking about how far you have to go, you can’t think about what you are doing in that moment. Learn to harness the “power of now”.
How I survived running 3000 kilometres across India – Samantha Gash
All of the barriers you perceive are illusions and Gash’s achievements are proof of that. Suffering is part of life but you have to embrace it. She discusses how to detach from plans when things go wrong, and create a new plan on the fly.
Gash explains how athletes often need a reason “why” that transcends the sport itself. She puts it in the context of her epic cross-India run, which she used to raise money for education in India.
The Eternal Suffering of the Endurance Mind – Colin Robertson
Robertson has studied humans preforming under extreme conditions and the effect on their mind.
To exercise at all is to embrace pain, he believes, but while pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. The talk focuses on how to embrace pain and how to fit training into your schedule.
Sport Psychology: Inside the Mind of Champion Athletes – Martin Hagger
Why are there some athletes who always seem to “get it right” and peak at the ideal time. There are a range of approaches, from being jovial on the start line to sitting and focusing in the build-up.
Hagger, a sports psychologist, explains how these different approaches that work to prepare you mentally for competition.