Workout of the Day

The 4-Minute Mile

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Up until May 6, 1954, it was common belief that it simply was not possible for a human to run a four-minute mile. Sports scientists and general populations alike insisted that it wasn’t just a matter of it being challenging or dangerous or very unlikely: it was said to simply be impossible. In 1945, the record was set at 4:01, and it didn’t budge from there until Roger Bannister broke the four-minute barrier, running a mile in 3:59.4 nine years later. While this feat is quite remarkable itself, what’s more remarkable is what happened after. Bannister opened the metaphorical doors on the possibility of a four-minute mile, and it was just two months after Bannister set the record that another individual, John Landry, ran it in 3:57.9. Then more runners beat the record, and then more. In the following years, the sub-four-minute mile, once thought physically impossible, became commonplace among elite middle-distance runners. Current record mile time now dipping as low as 3:43, and high school athletes and over-40 athletes have gotten in on the accomplishment as well.

This story is remarkable for a few reasons. First, Bannister demonstrated certainty and strength of will that was unperturbed by what everyone estimated was humanly possible. Bannister was certain that a four-minute mile was possible, and he was certain that he would be the one to break that record. It’s hard to say whether this certainty was the deciding factor that did allow the record to be broken, but it is an undeniable strength in Bannister’s mental game. Second, the cascade of sub-four miles that came after Bannister broke the record tell us a bit about human nature and opportunity. Our actions and capacities are bound by what we think is possible. Sometimes this acts as a positive self-preservation limiter. Other times, it simply acts as a limiter. We all have the opportunity to look beyond what has already been done or what other believe can be done and to lead the way to making something extraordinary into something commonplace. In your world or my world this may not be a world record, but these opportunities still exist on smaller scales. High tide raises all ships, and sometimes that tide goes higher than it ever has before, and so do the ships.

- PS


6/21/17

  • Deficit deadlift - 5,5,5,5

  • For time, 2 rounds:

    • 100m SB front carry (AHAP)

    • 600m run

    • 30 sit-ups