Why is it the case that what should be the final push to the end seems to be the most mentally and physically draining portion of an athletic endeavor? Simply put, it is because the end is near. When we can visualize the finish, we can mentally picture the relief of completion. Although this can be the boost some athlete’s need to push themselves to the next level of effort, for many athletes this metal lapse in focus transfers to a physical decrease in performance. It is the maintained focus of the last ten percent that can differentiate the consistent athlete from the constantly improving athlete.
To maintain focus and drive in the last ten percent of a workout or race is not easy. However the ability to do so will build not only mental strength but physical strength as well. Studies have shown that strength and endurance are both increased once your muscles have reached the point of exhaustion, which normally occurs in the last ten percent of a workout. By fighting the urge to let up and go easy, you are actually building strength and endurance that will increase your threshold for your next workout. It is in this crucial time that athletes grow and improve. The first 90 percent of effort is ruined by a lack of effort in the last ten percent.