Book Cover
 

Endure

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

Alex Hutchinson

Endure is a collection of stories and anecdotes showing different aspects of human endurance and performance.

This is an engaging read for any athlete. It's somewhat focused on running, but by no means would only runners appreciate the information - it's much more widely applicable.

As an aspiring ultramarathoner myself, it is fascinating to learn how much of performance is purely mental, and to what extent we can train our mental fortitude. I came away knowing that my body can physically go further than I ever thought possible, and yet dejected that I probably don't have access to those extra reserves. This isn't a training manual, and I'm not sure you'll become better in your sport of choice by learning all of this information. There are a few pearls of training wisdom, but to try and take away lessons is to miss the point. The value of this book is to learn the anecdotes and marvel at our bodies in all of their unknown capabilities.

My only complaint is that I still have so many questions on what the human body is capable of - like I should have had some more concrete takeaways. I think Alex does a great job at showing the malleable limits of our bodies, describing the situations where our body would be able to push through to unimaginable limits. Yet, I came away confused. I didn't grasp the bigger picture. Perhaps if I read it again I would able to succinctly describe a larger theory of human performance. Then again, perhaps the point of the book is that a larger theory is still unknown, and maybe unknowable.