What’s your strength?

Strength is often the first word that comes to mind when describing one’s athletic accomplishment, impressive mental focus, and dedication to training. It’s also one of the most overused word in the athletic world.

“Five key exercises to build core strength.’
“Learn how best to improve your mental strength.’
“He must be so strong to run that fast for that long.”
“Imagine how strong she must be to race at that level.”

Dedication, discipline, passion, perseverance are some of the foundation for strength.
Strength alone is not much.

Good genetics, youth, gifted, sponsorship, family support are all a bonus but do not equal strength.

Being young in sports has a physiological advantage, especially when competing at an elite or professional level. But again aging is not necessarily an issue especially in endurance sport; the experience, the physiological & neurological adaptation over the years, the knowledge, passion, wisdom can all have huge benefit, it can be a strength.

I see it lots in Europe, friends in their late 30’s, 40’s, 50’s accomplishing amazing feats in ski mountaineering, trail running, climbing, cycling, going on expedition or competing at a very high level challenging the new younger generation!

Two inspiring examples:
Marit Bjørgen 37 years old, Norwegian cross-country skier. A five-time Olympian, in PyeongChang she won five medals: 2 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze, for a total of fifteen Olympic medals, the most by any athlete (male or female) in winter Olympic history. She is not slowing down!

Mike Horn 51 years old, South African-born Swiss explorer & adventurer of 30 years, well known for his solo journey around the equator, the arctic circle, the Pole2Pole, he continues to pursue his passion and lifestyle with on-going expeditions around the world.

Sports teaches many things, a lot more than strength.
Never too late to learn something new, to explore possibilities, pursue a goal, or discover your true potential.
You don’t need to sail around the world, climb an 8000m peak, run across Siberia, or ride the Tour de France either:)
But reach above, higher than what you think you can do.

The challenge is as big or small as what you want.
Society is a strange concept at times, too often focus is on success, failure, trends, money, gear, sponsorship, social media, dreaming of bigger.
Simplicity is best, use what you have, get out the door and just do it, thanks Nike!
The most beautiful strength to see in an athlete is humbleness
.

Also…

You have only reach 50% of your potential when you want to quit.

Some individuals are extremely talented but don’t take advantage of the gift they have to reach a higher level, nothing wrong with that!

Others have to train very hard, be consistent, dedicated to achieve one specific goal, which is impressive and inspiring.

For many it’s the social aspect, sharing that motivates them to exercise and train; meeting friends for bike rides, being part of a club, taking classes, trail running & cycling holiday trips.

For others it’s to be solo, their biggest inner strength comes out when alone.

The environment plays a big role for some, they discover the true climber / runner / skier / sailor / mountaineer in them by being out there, in the elements, on the trail, on the water, in the mountains.
The environment becomes the prime aspiration to get out.
This energy, this desire, can not be bought online.

Addiction is strength biggest weakness
The need to train every day, race all the time, never to stop, is a fine line between strength and weakness- It’s a compulsive behavior, too much, too often, all the time and with little to no rest even when exhausted or injured.

It’s important knowing when to slow down, to take care of a tired body, an overuse injury and to believe it’s the best thing to do.
Athletes have fears, one of them: the fear of slowing down!
When it should be the opposite: a small pause to get stronger!
If not, eventually natures will force you to do so via an injury or illness.
Be good to you.

You don’t have to race!
Training, enjoying, getting fitter is most important.
Racing are results- Great learning experiences, mental and physical.
Does not mean you don’t race that you are nor fit to race:)

People put limitation on themselves
The blame is on age, time, family, money, work or simply ‘I’m not fit or strong enough’ or ‘I could never do that’.
Insecurities, fear and lack of confidence leads to think of failure before even putting the foot outside.

Failure is not a weakness, it’s a good thing, it builds strength and the desire to get up and move forward.

We are all shaped differently; physically, emotionally, mentally.
It’s important not to believe everything you think, our lives are build on experience, to explore something new can open up an entire new perspective on yourself and your possibilities.

Every elite athlete was once an amateur
Every expert was once a beginner
Every runner started by walking
Every endurance athlete started with a few kilometers

‘Everything looks impossible for people who never try anything.’
Jean-Louis Etienne

Everyone has something unique in him; nobody, nothing, can take it away.
Each one of us holds a very special strength hidden deep inside ourselves, we all have a gift. Often we have to get out of our comfort zone to feel and realize what it is.

Some will never know
Some decide to live through others
Some will inspire
Others will make sports history
It’s never too late
You are never too old
Do not create limitation
Be wild
Explore yourself

Power & strength comes first from within.

Stay inspired,
Thanks for reading… Chloë
Photo: Took it while racing/riding the Iditarod Trail in Alaska, background the Alaska Range.

Extra note: Watch the PyeongChang Paralympic Games starting this weekend March 9th, behind each athlete there is an unbelievable story of strength & wisdom.

Our 2018 Mountain Running Camp Schedule is live, have a look!
Bimonthly educational articles for the passionate mountain athlete – New for 2018!
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