What Philosophy Can Teach Us About Endurance – To train athletes to truly push their limits, it helps to draw inspiration from the French social theorist Michel Foucault.

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Insightful article. This in particular has been a problem: > In any training group, certain patterns emerge: the same runners tend to run at the front, others in the middle, others at the back. Over time, a pecking order crystallizes, such that each runner on the team internalizes their “correct” position. This spatial control can be helpful (“I’m hurting, but I know I should be able to keep up with Bob”), but it can also be a hindrance if you settle into your usual place rather than constantly challenging it. I think this also happens when you keep losing to the same competitor in one-on-one games, e.g., tennis, and you settle into a position. The way I’ve found of breaking that mindset is by actively focusing on my techniques (exploring and developing them further) instead of focusing on my competitor or winning or losing a point. > exercise of discipline—specifically the control of time, space, and movement—imposes a hierarchical burden that ultimately makes people docile I think the less your mind spends in exploring and testing, the more it adapts to the environment through simple predictive associations leading to docility, wherein the mind thinks it “understands” the environment. The difference between blackboxing versus first principles understanding. When you read an article, have you really read it (identified and tested the underlying points) or have you just developed associations between concepts you already think you know to evaluate the probability it’s true or false?


At first I thought this would be about how you need to train your endurance if you ever want to get through a whole Foucault book. But no, this was actually useful. Thanks!


Getting through Foucalts work is an arduous process and his ideas have a tendency to be completely co-opted and misrepresented but this was a good read.


This seems to correlate with what advanced exercise science says about training. You don’t want to constantly be pushing yourself to the max every time. You actually make better gains in muscle or endurance if you spend the majority of your training in around the 80% difficulty level. It kind of sounds like the coach just sort of fluked into this exercise theory and it doesn’t really have to do with philosophical concepts as much as it does with exercise science.


great link – thank you