Lessons from Mark Beaumont’s ‘Around the World in 80 days’ cycling record
So far, the discussion has been about how to keep going in spite of the fatigue experienced. Fatigue serves a really useful purpose. It is the body’s way of saying ‘stop!’, ‘enough!’ ‘it’s time to take a break.’ In healthy people, fatigue ensures we stop to recover and regenerate. It is not, as it is often portrayed, an illness, or something to fix. That feeling of sleepiness when driving that has us pulling over to have 40 winks, is a very effective mechanism to ensure we take the break we need to have the focus required to drive safely. We ignore it at our peril. The body is so effective that if tired enough, it will simply send you into sleep, no matter how much coffee you have drunk. Even Mark Beaumont slept for a few hours each night.
So if you too have your sights on a significant challenge like Mark Beaumont did, make sure you really know why you are doing it and what you hope to get from it. That understanding may be just what you need to get you through those dark moments when fatigue is haunting you. And if you do feel like you can’t go on, rather than give up, perhaps take a 5 minute break and then have another go, it may just be enough to get you out of that tough place. But above all, if you really cannot go on – stop! There’s a reason – you need a rest.
Dominic Irvine © 2017