Welcome to the fourth and final week of this Spring's Alps Challenge. By this point, we hope you’ve gained an appreciation for endurance training, practiced building your mental toughness, and gotten some more restorative recovery. To conclude the series, we wanted to leave you with some advice about bringing the fun to endurance. As Oars + Alps Chief Fitness Officer Matt Wilpers tells all his athletes: ‘Train Smart. Train Hard. Have Fun!’
What Is The 'Fun Scale'?
It takes a special type of person to think spending hours on a bike saddle, running miles through the wilderness, or swimming through choppy ocean waters is enjoyable. Climber and geology professor Dr. Rainer Newberry developed a whole framework for this counterintuitive experience. According to The Climbing Dictionary, Dr. Newberry would rate climbs according to what he called the ‘Fun Scale’:
- Type I Fun: True fun, enjoyable while it’s happening. Good food, good sex, …powder skiing, margaritas.
- Type II Fun: Fun only in retrospect, hateful when it’s happening. Things like working out till you puke, and usually ice and alpine climbing.
- Type III Fun: Not fun at all, even after a lot of retrospection. As in, ‘What the hell was I thinking? If I ever even consider doing that again, somebody slap some sense into me.’ (1)
What Is Type II Fun?
The term ‘Type II Fun’ has since jumped off the mountain to refer to any activity that’s unpleasant or even arduous in the moment, but considered enjoyable upon reflection. Sound familiar? Behavioral scientist Dr. Brooke Struck and Neuroscientist Dr. Alex Korb argue that these sorts of challenges fulfill humans’ natural desire for meaning and help build confidence. According to Struck, ‘Challenge is the site of growth, and growth helps define who we are as people’ (2); and Korb: ‘These achievements can give you a sense of control over things, which the brain loves…The result is more self-efficacy and confidence’ (2).
What Are The Benefits Of Type II Fun?
Dr. Struck also argues that engaging in Type II fun with other people offers a confidence-building enhancement. Other folks view tackling this challenge as positive so your tackling must be positive as well (2). Considered from a different angle: ‘Misery loves company.’ One strategy and benefit of pursuing endurance sports is the relationships you can build. Whether through competition or encouragement, other athletes can motivate you to go harder and farther than you would on your own. Plus, enjoying a post-workout feast or brew is way more enjoyable when you can reminisce about that crazy thing you did together.
Building Your Endurance: Challenge 4
So bring the fun this week by inviting someone of similar skill level to complete an endurance workout with you.
This could be a longtime friend or that guy at the gym you’ve been meaning to get to know. Pick an activity where you can check in with each other regularly, and try to schedule time for some socializing afterwards to reap the benefits of community during and after your workout.
How did your endurance partner impact your workout? How hard did it feel? How did you perform? How fun was it? Hopefully engaging a friend or community of like minded athletes can help make your training more enjoyable so you stick with it for miles to come.
Products for the Long Haul
Our products are designed for the active individual, so of course we have recommendations that keep up with all of your adventures.
It bears repeating that effective deodorant goes a long way to fight odor and retain friends. Our non-sticky, cornstarch-based formula dries quickly and absorbs excess moisture while reducing friction from hair and inflammation that comes from movement.
Friends don’t let friends forget sunscreen. This lightweight mist lets you apply broad spectrum SPF 35 for quick, water- and sweat-resistant protection all over your head. Plus, it’s a spray, so you can share sunscreen not skin cells with your workout buddies.
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