Caroline Côté's preparation

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 stop 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 him, that allows him to face his limits and pushes him 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 for 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.


Positive anchoring in images

Trailrunning athlete Anne Bouchard recently gave me the idea to bring pictures or objects when doing endurance activity. She brings a page from the book Territoires Inconnus 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 bloody 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.


Say yes to the stranger

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 tying, safety and control of my body heat management 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. Kilometer after kilometer, 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.


Watch 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. Some 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 launching a project from the start without knowing how it will end.


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 go one step further. 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 say verbally 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.

I train myself to push my limits by running every morning, regardless of the temperature, the little pains in my body and the head that sometimes says "no" to me. Whether I do a short distance or a long distance, I am proud that I did and that I did not give up.

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 with ourselves. 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.

 Caroline Cote