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Mind over fatigue? The science of endurance and how to beat the brain




Usain Bolt of Jamaica competes in the Men's 4x100 Metres Relay heats during day nine of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 12, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.
Usain Bolt of Jamaica competes in the Men's 4x100 Metres Relay heats during day nine of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017 at The London Stadium on August 12, 2017 in London, United Kingdom.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images for IAAF

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At age 70, “Godfather of Fitness” Jack LaLanne towed 70 rowboats in a mile-long swim against tumultuous winds and currents while handcuffed and shackled.

LaLanne tapped into a jaw-dropping reserve of endurance. And so have many human beings before and after him. But how?

In Alex Hutchinson’s new book, “Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performances,” the longtime science writer pairs the stories of men and women who have pushed beyond their limits in extraordinary feats with the latest scientific research on mental endurance. His book is also an exploration of the body’s physical barriers brought by pain, muscles, exhaustion and more.

In 2017, Hutchinson was one of only two journalists with access to Nike’s top-secret training program attempting to break the 2-hour 26.2 mile marathon.

The “Sweat Science” columnist and former long-distance runner joins host Larry Mantle on the making of his book and the resilience of the human spirit.

Guest:

Alex Hutchinson, author of the new book, “Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance” (William Morrow, 2018); regular contributor to Outside magazine, Runner’s World, and the New Yorker; he tweets @sweatscience