As most people reading this will know, I am a former Royal Marines Commando. During my time in the Marines, the advertising campaign for the Corps became all about the Commando “Strength of Mind”. Something I have always told Recruits, clients or friends I am training is that:
The Mind Fails Long Before the Body
The questions I guess, is what does this really mean? To me, it has always represented the fact that we humans usually convince ourselves in our minds that we cannot do something; cannot continue with something hard long before our bodies will actually collapse or force us to stop. Think about it; have you ever actually run until you collapsed? Trained in the gym until you were forced to stop by vomiting or passing out? The truth is, that very few of us have ever pushed ourselves to these limits. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not an easy thing to do. I’ve only pushed myself to vomiting a handful of times, one because it’s not a nice thing to do and two because realistically, it’s not good for you! We have a central governor on our brains telling us this exercise/training is “painful”. That pain is a way of reigning us in to stop us doing permanent damage, so long-term it’s not a good thing to override frequently.
However, having said all that, all too often we take the easy route. We stop short of where we should. I’m not saying we are innately lazy, but people certainly tend to convince themselves to stop sooner than they really need to. It’s natural. So I dare everyone out there reading this to think the next time they are training hard and thinking of stopping, to remind themselves that “The Mind Fails Long Before the Body”. Instead of stopping keep a strong mind, get 2 or 3 more reps, another minute or two on the long run, another few hundred metres on the ergo or whatever it may be. Push harder and stop when the body feels it has to. You’ll know when that is as you will feel like your bowels want to release! That’s always a good indication to stop… 😉