Mind over matter. It's all in your head. Just suck it up. Whatever the form, we all intuitively know that training and sports are about pushing yourself mentally much more than physically. In How Bad Do You Want It?, Matt Fitzgerald looks at some of the best endurance athletes in the world—from Greg LeMond to Steve Prefontaine—to prove that what truly matters is what's going on in your head, not in your muscles.
Hard physical limits definitely do exist, but we never get there. We all quit way before that as we hit the maximum level of perceived effort we're willing to tolerate. In this pursuit of chasing down how bad you want something, you unlock your ultimate physical potential and what really makes you tick as a person.
To approach your sport as an ongoing fire walk, aiming to move closer and closer to the unreachable wall that represents your ultimate physical limit, is to embark on a journey of transformation in which you become more and more the athlete—and the person—you want to be as you tackle the obstacles that hinder your progress.
“The mind is the next frontier for significant performance gains . . . . Mental fitness, says Fitzgerald, means becoming your own sports psychologist and developing coping mechanisms to help you suffer better. Which, while not entirely satisfying, is a good start.”