While I was attending a conference in Charlotte last week, an audience member asked one of the speakers, “How do you build endurance?” Honestly, I didn’t like the speaker’s answer, so I won’t repeat it here. But, while out riding my bike on Saturday, I gave it some thought.
Here are the four rules I came up with on how to build endurance:
- Don’t stop to rest while pedaling uphill
- Don’t stop to rest at the top of the hill
- And, don’t stop to rest while pedaling downhill
- When approaching the next hill, repeat steps 1-3
Stopping during an uphill climb takes extraordinary effort to restart, regain momentum, and make it to the top. Stopping at the top of the hill is pointless. The worst is behind you and it only gets easier from there. By the time you’ve pedaled halfway down the hill, you’ve recovered, you’re moving at top speed, and you’ve forgotten you were tired in the first place. Enjoy this part of the ride. Abiding by these rules over many hills creates endurance. And, the hills get easier with repetition.
If you extend the rules to building team endurance, the four rules are even more important. It’s incredibly hard to get group momentum restarted if you stop to rest in the midst of a great challenge. Nearing the top, it takes just a little encouragement to get the team over the crest of the hill. And, the momentum of the whole team’s weight really propels the group to maximum speed during the downhill portion. And the rush of satisfaction for having conquered the challenge is rejuvenating to the team. Once you’ve led the team through several challenges, team endurance is created. Leading through challenges gets easier and easier with repetition.
“So, you never stop to rest?”, you might ask. In fact, you DO stop to rest. If there is a finish line, that’s a great place to stop and rest!! If there is no finish line (as true as this seems at times), pick a spot someplace in the middle of a flat road. Allow any stragglers catch up. And, catch your collective breath. Make sure that the flat spot is close enough to the last decent that the team can still recall the great feelings of speed and success, yet out of sight of the next major hill such that the team’s mind is on rest and not the next hill.
Question: How do YOU build endurance? And, what techniques do you use to get yourself or your team over the hills?