The impossible and the whiteboard.

Have you ever thought something was impossible?  Have you ever looked at a workout and said “No Way” or that will take more than (XX:00 time)?  Have you ever wondered if it was possible to do some movement y times unbroken?


On the 6th of May 1954, six runners gathered at the track at Oxford College in England.  One of the runners was pretty famous locally for setting the British 1500m record at the Helsinki Summer Olympics in 1952, although he had finished in 3rd place.  At the starter’s gun, two of the runners, both named Chris (Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway), provided pacing for the local hero who had been training around his rigorous medical studies.  They ran only 4 laps together for a total distance of one mile. When the time was announced, Roger Bannister had broken the world record with a time of 3 minutes 59.4 seconds, a feat that was thought to be impossible.  His record stood for an incredible 46 days.

As amazing as Sir Roger Bannister’s achievement was(…and it was amazing), what I find spectacular is that his record was broken in 46 days and now (10-8-18) there are at last count 522 American athletes who have broken that record (10 while in High School).  Link  

Why is it that what was once impossible, is now common (although still brutal)?


This is one of the reasons we put scores on the whiteboard (or in wodify). Our minds are incredible things.  Once we see something as possible and not impossible our outlook changes and we stop wondering if, and start thinking about how.  All of a sudden the pain that was intolerable, is almost too much, but we can stand it. It is why we strive together and can often do better with a stronger pack or someone working out right next to us.  


This whiteboard phenomena is why we see such incredible changes in our members’ performance and physical fitness. What we have learned is that high intensity elicits the best response neurologically and hormonally, and ultimately this is expressed in physical adaptation (muscularly and in our energy systems).  One of the tools that we use to get higher intensity is posting scores on the whiteboard. It is not just the pride of accomplishment, it is also the knowledge of the possible.


We use the whiteboard for other things as well.  We track performance records and, like the refrigerator when we were young, it gives us a chance to show our work to those we hold as friends and teammates.  


Roger Bannister died on March 3, 2018.  He was 88 years old. He was a distinguished Neurologist, the first Chairman of Sport England and was knighted in 1975.

Sir Roger knew what was possible and achieved it.



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