February 19, 2019 8:41 pm

Wednesday, Test Your Endurance as We Enter the World of Triathlons

Can you run a mile? Can you run two miles? How about running 26.2 miles after you’ve swam 2.5 miles, and biked 115 miles? All in one day? There are certain people on this planet who find this, dare we say, fun, and we want to get inside the mind of a triathlete to understand the science behind the madness.

Triathlon photographs from the Chinook-Half-Ironman Calgary Alberta Canada, June 23 2007, Public Domain via JKrabbe at English Wikipedia.

Shown: Triathlon photographs from the Chinook-Half-Ironman Calgary Alberta Canada, June 23 2007, Public Domain via JKrabbe at English Wikipedia.

On this week’s episode of Playing with Science, hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly sit down with Samuele Marcora, Director of Research at the School of Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Kent, and Mark Allen, 6-time Ironman Champion and acknowledged by ESPN as “The Greatest Endurance Athlete of All Time.”

You’ll hear about fatigue and how it’s hard for scientists to agree on a baseline definition. Samuele breaks down the “perception of effort” and how to train yourself to increase this factor. You’ll learn more about the relationship between the body and mind during times of intense physical excursion. Can you fatigue your brain in similar ways to how you fatigue your legs? Can you fatigue an opponent’s mind? You’ll find out. You’ll also find out about brain endurance training and why self-motivational talks can increase performance.

Then, we go inside the mind of the greatest endurance athlete of all time, Mark Allen. He commonly describes his career in this distinct set of numbers: 1-6-21-Infinity. 1 equals his win of the 1st Official Triathlon World Championship, 6 equals his total number of Ironman victories, 21 equals his 2 seasons of 21 straight victories, and infinity equals ESPN’s label of Mark as “The Greatest Endurance Athlete of All Time.” Not a shabby career to hang your hat on.

Mark tells us how he overcame his early failures at the Ironman. You’ll hear what drew him into the endurance field in the first place. Find out how Mark finally cracked the code to win his first Ironman. All that, plus, Mark explains how the negative voice inside your head never goes away, you just get better at managing it.

Please join us tomorrow night for Ironman Triathlon, with Mark Allen right here on our website, as well as on our Playing with Science channels on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free.

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen