for Body and Mind
Use Zendurance to hone your athletic performance while you develop a quiet, stealthy, laser-ready mind.
Zendurance is a combination of the words “zen” and “endurance”. I coined this word in 2000, as I was writing Zendurance, A Spiritual Fitness Guide for Endurance Athletes.
“Zen” is meditation, a challenging practice to develop mindfulness. Zen is complete engagement in the present moment. No judgments or fantasies. No dwelling on the past or preoccupation with the future. Here and now. Stealthy-quiet. Laser-focused.
“Endurance” is your ability to sustain an activity at a chosen pace for a chosen duration. This is usually a simple movement pattern, repeated over and over.
Zendurance is a maximum mind approach to endurance training and racing. Your stealthy-quiet, laser-focused mind is the secret to executing each stroke, each stride perfectly - for maximum efficiency.
You have a choice each time you train:
Treat the session as another task in your busy day. Get it over with! Who cares about quality? As long as you hit the target heart rate for the prescribed duration. Invest minimal attention and awareness. Divert the rest of your energies to worries, desires, plans and schemes that are relevant only to the past or the future.
Treat each session as a zen practice – an opportunity to engage every ounce of your perceptive capacity and mindfulness in the pursuit of excellence. Train the functionality of your mind as well as your body. Build your zen fitness.
The distinction is in your approach.
Be honest with yourself: Are you simply pushing through another workout, or engaging in a practice? Here is the distinction between a workout and a practice: A workout is an obligation, a task to be crossed off the “to-do” list - ASAP. A practice is a long-term investment for life.
Your quality of life depends on your zen fitness. Engage and use your mind as a powerful tool in every area and every moment of your life. Here's how:
Start with your athletic training: Each time you prepare to train, pause for a moment and enjoy a few deep breaths.
Be grateful: Less than one-tenth of one percent of the world’s population has the health, wealth, and political and cultural freedom to enjoy this active lifestyle.
Beginner’s mind: Pretend that this is the very first time in your life that you have ever done this activity. It is fresh, new and exhilarating! (Remember, swim, bike, run – these are activities from childhood.)
Finalist’s mind: Pretend that this is the very last time in your life that you will have the privilege to enjoy activity.
Expand from there: As you strengthen this approach through your athletic training, you can approach every moment of life with the same mindfulness.
Zen Fitness and Martial Arts:
Pure, traditional martial arts focus on developing mindfulness to maximize precision, speed, grace, stealth and perfect response. Isn’t that what you seek as competitive athlete?
All warriors (including athletic warriors) must completely engage the mind in the present moment.
Speaking of Martial Arts, it’s no coincidence that Zendurance is strongly rooted in my daily practice of T’ai Chi – one of the oldest and “purest” of the martial arts. It is a vital part of my craft as an ultra-endurance multi-sport athlete. T’ai Chi is the ultimate form of cross training. For more information on this, visit: T’ai Chi: The Ultimate Cross Training.
Do you strive for perfection each moment of your life?
With Zendurance you can transform your everyday aerobic fitness into zen fitness:
Recalling the Training Cycle Triangle: In every training session you create stress. Each time you put on your bike helmet and head out for a ride, each time you lace up your shoes to head out for a run, you are consciously choosing to create stress. You benefit from that stress – it makes you stronger, faster, more enduring.
You choose the stress and orchestrate a balance between stress, recovery and adaptation to get stronger, faster and more enduring.
OK, so you return home from an excellent training session. You shower, help get the kids off to school, and head to work. As soon as you arrive, your partner begins to nag you about a project the two of you are working on. “What’s wrong with him? Why is he stressing me out? Why is he doing this to me?”
Stop! Ask yourself, “Can I embrace this stressful experience as an opportunity to strengthen my life fitness with the clarity and mastery I had for my training session this morning?” This is your opportunity to transform the stressful experience into a training session for your life fitness.
If you choose instead to view this as a “you-did-this-to-me” moment, you are choosing to be the victim. As a victim, you cannot master the stress to balance and orchestrate the cycle of stress-recovery-adaptation. It is a lost opportunity.
Zen fitness is the power of mindfulness. You can develop that power through your zendurance training... and improve your athletic performance at the same time!
"Where should I start?"
Start with your relaxed, easy recovery workouts. They are your Golden Opportunity to improve both your technique (pursuing that perfect stroke or stride) and your mindfulness.
Many training programs prescribe drills during recovery sessions. Drills are the perfect place to start! Drills: From Monotony to Discovery
Triathlon Motivation: Kinetic Intelligence
Zendurance Cycling Home Page