Belief and Action
Belief and Action.
An adequate supply of both can take your fitness to levels you never dreamed possible.
A lack of either will guarantee your failure…
Back in 2015 during my time as a Royal Marine commando, myself and three other “hoofing” lads decided to run a marathon in Kenya.
We were raising money and awareness for poverty and poaching issues in Africa.
Naturally, being Marines and thus unhappy with anything less than brutal hardship and discomfort, we decided to do it in combat clothing and carrying an extra 21lbs of weight.
For a race across open savannah, with an average altitude of 1700m.
The extra weight was representative of “fighting order” which accounts for 24hrs worth of water, rations and ammunition and the minimum that a marine would carry in combat.
We figured we would need to push a bit harder than the average runner to help raise money and to uphold the reputation of the corps.
A few hours into our race it became staggering clear why, out of over 1200 participants, less than 100 including us we’re running a second lap of the course to go from half to full-marathon distance.
The cool morning air we had enjoyed at 7am had evaporated.
The temperature had risen above the typical average for that time of year, somewhere close to 30c and humidity was high.
The morale from accompanying runners and the hordes of spectators that had spurred us on during the first lap was also now vacant.
We came in almost bang on 6-hours and as you can see from my expression in the picture, you could be forgiven for thinking I’d just been evacuated from an actual combat zone.
The truth about our training for this event is that we didn’t really do any.
We were part of an extremely busy unit at the time constantly being sent away on various courses and field exercises and in the end none of us really had the time to do much specific preparation.
What we did have was belief.
We’d had the benefit of experiencing one of the longest and hardest elite-infantry training regimes in the world.
We’d been through countless exercises and physical tests designed to push a person past their perceived limits and out the other side.
And that belief, as per usual, would prove to be enough.
To many people what we did in Kenya would seem pretty impressive.
But it really wasn’t.
We’d barely done any proper running at all in the 6 months prior to that event.
We simply got on and did it because we said we would and I guarantee there’s literally thousands of you out there firmly sat in the “I could never do that” corner that could go out and crack it if you set your minds to it.
Listening to a JRE interview with Zach Bitter recently, the world-record holder for the fastest 100-mile run, some points were raised that reminded me of our Kenyan marathon and the incredible feats all humans are capable of.
More specifically, the value of belief and action over preparation.
The tragedy for most of us is often that there is such an enormous gap between what we perceive ourselves to be capable of and what we are truly capable of.
When we free our minds of pre-concieved possibilities and set ourselves towards new goals in spite of expectations, that is when real wonders can happen.
As many of us will know, nothing beats the feeling of accomplishing something that has taken us to what feels like our absolute limits and beyond!
The Zach Bitter interview mentions the comedian Eddie Izzard who, a while ago, ran 43 marathons in 51 days after only 5 weeks of training.
After completing what many would consider an astonishing effort, Eddie was then quoted as saying "I don't think what I did is that amazing, anyone can do it".
Truth is - he's right. Anyone of us can.
Anyone of us, that is, who would truly set their mind to it.
Zach Bitter, by the way, is one of the few and quite possibly most successful elite athletes on the planet that predominantly employs a low-carbohydrate diet.
This is a strategy that until now most experts in the field of nutrition would agree, would not possibly facilitate the world-record-breaking athleticism that Zach has been able to demonstrate.
Again, freeing our minds of expectations and opening them to new possibilities is when impossibilities can become new realities.
Do not allow your expectations of yourself to become your prison.
The most critical elements that separate us from our current realties and our dreams of what we could achieve are simply having belief and taking action.
Decide on something now that you will do beyond your “limits”.
Believe in it.