How to prepare for a major endurance challenge?
"I am not ready, I could easily have trained more, I will never make it to the end, I am determined to accept defeat ..."
It is so often easier to quit than to go through with a big challenge that you set out on yourself.
What is the human desire to win in a trying situation related to? What is the intimate reason, deeply buried in, that allows us to face our limits and pushes us to go further? What are the limits that we impose on ourselves and for what reasons are we dependent on them?
In the past, as a filmmaker and adventurer, I have pushed my limits a few times. Surpassing ourselves pushes us to explore unknown interior areas, hostile territories as much on the road as in our mind. Crossing rivers and streams usually helps me gain strength. I hold on tight and go for it, still stronger than the day before, thanks to the hardships I have overcome so far. I got cold and very hungry a few times. I got dehydrated, I tested myself.
Over time I have picked up a few tips to mentally prepare myself to overcome great physical challenges. Here are a few examples that are useful to me on a daily basis. I often rely on these in order to regain control over me in the most difficult times.
Say yes to the unknown
Having very little knowledge of adventures before heading to the South Pole for my first Xp Antarctik expedition, I felt that the novelty and the principles of rope management, safety and control of my body heat in a a place with such extreme conditions could easily lead me to abandon the project before really devoting myself to it.
Over time, a few successes and failures marked the route of this enormous challenge that I had set for myself. Quietly, step by step, without necessarily foreseeing the finality of all this preparation, I faced a part of the unknown by equipping myself with daring and surrounding myself with experts, friends and trusted people who gave me the means and the courage to continue.
Accept the difficulties
On the Pull of the North expedition, I rowed over six hours daily for two months.
This is a situation that makes you think a lot about yourself. Mind and body are trapped in a canoe where the repetitive movement of the paddling arms and hands carries us deep into our thoughts. Km after km, I learned to accept the situation I found myself in.
At first I found it difficult to have to row so much. The more days passed, the more resilient I became and stopped fighting to try to escape the pain. I also stopped complaining. I did this because I feel that when I row with the flow, that is, by accepting the negative elements that come to me, I am more open to receive the beauty of everything around me and things that I hadn't paid attention to in the first place. This experience of accepting the discomfort of the body taught me not to give up some races that I did in the following years.
The general achievement
It's not just getting to the finish line that's an end.
Personally, what I take away from my long-term adventure experience is that you can learn every step of the way, from preparing to the final challenge itself.
By investing from day 1 until the event, we became stronger. We will leave tears, sweat, failures, but in the end, we will have refined our courage, our vision, our discipline and our motivation throughout the adventure and not only on the podium or when we cross the line. arrival.
We can therefore be a winner by starting a project from the start without knowing how it will end.
Positive anchoring in images
Trailrunning athlete Anne Bouchard recently gave me the idea of bringing pictures or objects when doing endurance activity. She brings a page from the Unknown Territories book by Patrice Godin everywhere with her during the various racing events in which she participates. Here is an excerpt from what we find on this inspiring page:
"The doubt. You doubt, of course. Doubt is a damn bug. It eats away at you from the inside, it creeps into your veins, drowns your heart. It takes your breath away, it cuts your legs. So don't doubt. Dark. Advance. Do not look back."
In her bag, she also keeps the drawing of her daughter Charlotte. These 2 sheets which may seem very simple are full of meaning and pushes her to surpass herself and go further. These are its positive anchors.
One step closer
When I feel like I can't go any further, I know that this is often the best time to keep going; I must take one more step. It is from this movement that I often learn the most.
When I or someone else on my team can't move due to lack of energy, it is essential to push ourselves to keep going. It seems that when we verbally state that we cannot move forward, we still have 50% of our energy left. This situation is also transposed in my life in the city.
When I have given my all, 100%, after my day, this is when the benefits are greatest. My mind sometimes resists going any further, but I skip over the thought that tells me to stop and give myself a chance to try just a little bit harder.
Through those moments of doubt that we all experience at one point or another in our lives, we become authentic and transparent to ourselves. Because when we overcome certain challenges in our daily life or during an adventure, we are not only grappling with snow, rock, wind, storm or crevasses on our way, but also with ourselves and our human fragility.
By going in search of stories to tell in a context of surpassing oneself, by filming and producing documentaries, I come to better understand my essence, my reason for being.