Patience and Consistency

12356774_1100109356673926_228953655148068323_oThis past month I read an article in Success Magazine on James Lawrence, the guy who completed fifty Ironman races in fifty days, in fifty states.

An Ironman race consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile marathon. To finish one would be an extreme accomplishment, but fifty in fifty days all across America seems impossible.

On the fifth race in, he injured his shoulder which forced him to swim with one arm over the next several swims (which reminds me of Cat rowing with one arm for our 10K benchmark workout a few weeks ago).

On the eighteenth race exhaustion caught up to him and he fell asleep on his bike, but only suffered minor road rash in the crash. Other injuries he suffered throughout included a few toenails falling off, a hiatal hernia, and pushing his body so hard that his heart had to focus on pumping blood to his major organs causing him to lose feeling in his extremities.

How many of these would have caused you to quit? Would these cause you to give up on your goal?

What really hit home with me was what he said he thought about during the races. Sometimes he would have long conversations with himself, but most of the time, it was about focusing on what he would do in the next minute. Lawrence says he tried not to think about how many miles or days he had left; he just wanted to be perfect at whatever he was doing- running, biking or swimming- for the next minute.

Talk about a time where you would think absolute perfection would be the farthest thing from your mind, during this daunting task, but this is what allowed him to stay focused.

In relative terms, how hard would it be for us to focus on making every rep perfect in the movements we do, instead of just doing whatever is needed to finish as fast as possible?

When asked how he did this Lawrence said, “patience and consistency.” He went on to say, “you have to do a lot of things right over an extended period of time. You have to focus on the basics, and you have to be perfect at them. That’s ultimately why I succeeded: I was perfect with the basics, and I had patience. I became an expert at a lot of things, and that’s how I became successful- that’s one of the keys to success if anybody wants to tackle something of this enormity.”

This going back to the basics, really made sense with my goal that I’m working on for 2016. I want to preface what I’m about to say with the recognition that the only way my experiences should even be in the same blog post as something as amazing as what James Lawrence did, was that all I have focused on for the first month and a half of my goal is patience and consistency and just keeping it basic.

My goal is to accumulate 10,000 pull-ups and 10,000 pushups throughout the year. As of this writing I’m a little over 1,000 of each- so about on the pace I will need to keep going through the rest of the year.

I know I set this as my goal because all of my weaknesses in the gym stem from weak upper body strength, but I did not expect to see such amazing progress in such a short amount of time.

Through the first month I can now do bar muscle-ups consistently. Also, I have been doing ring muscle-ups for years, but they have always been an extreme struggle for me, and now I can string multiple reps together regularly. Until the past few weeks, I was only able to do them with a false grip, but now I’m able to do them without a false grip every time. This makes it easier to string together big sets of muscle-ups.

My working regimen for pull-ups are mostly sets of five strict pull-ups at a time and I’ll just do this for about 30-40 reps daily for the most part. There have been days where I have done zero and also days where I have done many more, but for the most part it has been pretty consistent. Pushups are easy for any of us to practice, because you can do them anywhere at anytime.

I’m excited to see the progress that takes place throughout the remainder of the year.

What can you do on a consistent basis to get better at something that has eluded you up to this point?