Let’s say you step out of your home for a two-mile run. It goes well at first, especially once you find a rhythm and shake out all the kinks and stiffness in your legs. You hit the mile mark and turn around to head home. About 1.5 miles into the run, it begins to hit you. Running isn’t easy, but it’s often around this point that the thoughts begin to creep in — just walk for a bit. It’s hot, and you’re not in as good shape as you could be. Taking a second break can’t hurt, you’ll push harder another time. No need to really push.

This is the three-quarter hurtle, and it applies to a two-mile run just as it applies to a five mile one. Your mind adjusts and prepares itself for most of the run — but even in a single mile, mental preparedness might not take you all the way there. The three-quarter hurtle is the point at which your mind is tired of fighting the battle at hand, but the end isn’t quite in sight.

It’s certainly not confined to running. It applies to any stretch of conflict that requires discipline, strength (physical or otherwise) and endurance. It could be a stretch of writing a book, painting a mural, raising a puppy, pushing out a set of dips, or building a house.

Of course, these things are limited to your ability level. If you’re not a runner, five miles might start to be a struggle before the first mile is even over. However, if you’re to stretch out a length of any battle, the finish line requiring fortitude and endurance to reach (relative to you) — beware the three-quarter mark. Beware that moment when you are waist deep in the battle, but the end is not quite within arm’s reach.

It looks like this firefighter might have hit that point.

In my own life, I saw this in many of the “difficult” military schools I was lucky enough to attend, like RASP or SERE. Ranger School starts to get real tedious as you approach the end of the mountains phase (second phase out of three). By the time you’re in Florida (the final phase), the end is in sight, and it’s easy to tighten your ruck straps and buckle down for the end, so long as you don’t get lax or overconfident.

Again, it applies to any conflict in life. I’ve been long-distance with my girlfriend for about 1.5 years, and I’m currently moving to be closer to her in upstate New York. The most difficult part was at around the three-quarter mark, a couple of months back — before that, my brain was able to buckle down and get used to it, but the most difficult part was before the moving process started and the end of our separation was in sight.

I got pretty tired of college at around the three-quarter mark (unusual for someone like me who loves school). I had attended a couple of years before my time in the military, so I only had two left after I finished my service. I guarantee you that I would have felt taxed at the three-year mark had I stayed in college at first and done the regular four years in school. Since I only had two years left, I got kind of tired of it all somewhere during the second year, but not during my final semester. I had to discipline myself to keep up my grades, and to continue to absorb as much knowledge as I could.

There are countless examples. However, knowing that the three-quarter hurtle is coming allows me to prepare for it. I can consciously grit my teeth a bit harder as I barrel through it and reach the home stretch.