adidas Outdoor’s strapline ‘Live without Limits’ is a refreshing mindset in today’s busy career-driven world. It gets you in the frame of mind that anything is possible. And it is. Whether you want to run your first marathon, break the freediving record or take the jump into outdoor climbing, you need only put your mind to it and you can do it.
Last Wednesday my gorgeous photographer LJ and I travelled up to London for the launch of adidas Outdoor’s new trail running shoes, the terrex Boost, and were treated to a short talk from three fab athletes including serial adventure seeker and endurance sportswoman Sophie Radcliffe, the UK’s No.1 bouldering champion Shauna Coxsey and Michelin-starred chef and double World & European AG Duathlon Champion Alan Murchison.
But what drives these world class competitors? Sophie, Shauna and Alan share the things that motivate them to be the best they can be. (If you want to hear it for yourself, just click on the exclusive sound clips.)
Waking up early — Everyday life can be really draining, so I’m always on a mission to keep the fire stoked. One of my favourite things is waking up early and enjoying the world before everyone else wakes up and life gets really crazy. When I lived in London I loved going for sunrise cycles around Richmond Park or swimming in the Serpentine. Occasionally I’d take a couple of friends and camp out on a work night. These small things keep my fire stoked and make me want to keep pushing my limits.
And I still do it now that I live in Chamonix. At 6am one morning I walked up the Vertical Kilometre with a friend, watching the sun rise over the back of Mont-Blanc. It was so insanely beautiful. At the top we met another friend to paraglide back down again. And that was all before I got to my desk at 9am! I feel incredibly lucky that this is right on my doorstep, but it all started when I was living in London and wanted to make the most of my time outside of work. One of my favourite quotes says, “How to live a fulfilled life — fill it with living.” You just have to find those little things that get you out of your comfort zone, those things that are a bit different.
Setting yourself challenges — I started doing challenges — an adventure race in Borneo, the Three Peaks Challenge, cycling London to Paris. That led on to triathlons, Iron Man and climbing Mont-Blanc. And all this has led to where I am today, living in the Alps and following this life of adventure. They were what made me who I am, the things that motivated me. And I figured that when I’m motivated, I can achieve more. I’m constantly trying to find ways, both big and small, to challenge my limits. For me it’s all about baby steps, and taking those baby steps has led to huge leaps and progress.
Set goals — They have to be achievable and realistic. When I first started running, I ran for 10 whole minutes, so my next goal was to run for 11 minutes and then 12 minutes and it’s taken me two years to get to 40 minutes. It may not sound like great advice, but it’s working for me. If I said I wanted to run a marathon, it probably wouldn’t be realistic in the next few months or maybe even the next year, but maybe in a few years. So be realistic with your timescale as well.
Write your goals down somewhere you can see them — I recently painted our back door black so I could write all over it in charcoal. The idea was we could write our goals down and see them every day. And I do this with everything. If I want to eat better or sleep better, I just write it down and then if I don’t achieve it, I have a constant reminder that I need to do it.
I know myself. When I get in at the end of the day after three training sessions and I’m supposed to go out running that evening, I sit down and just don’t want to get up again. But there’s this sign on the wall, constantly reminding me, and the longer I leave it, the more exclamation marks and stars and arrows I draw on it. It gets worse if I don’t do something throughout the week. So it motivates me to meet my goals.
Do it with friends — If you’re meant to be meeting a friend at 6 o’clock in the morning it’s a lot easier to get up and go running than it is to get up and go on your own. I’m the worst person at getting up in the morning, I’m just not a morning person. I really wish I was, but I’m not. So I find friends to train with. And it’s ironic, because I don’t really like running with other people, but I know it makes me get up and go out.
It’s all about excellence — I think mediocrity in any capacity is a very unattractive thing. It’s all about pushing boundaries and making sure you’re the best you can be. I was a good runner, I ran for Scotland and I ran under 30 minutes for 10km. 29 minutes 48 seconds to be precise. It was good, but it wasn’t excellent. I mean 29 minutes for 10km is alright, but it’s nothing special.
I then decided to pour my energy into cooking. I chose to be the best I could be. I wanted to get a Michelin star, that was my aim. But excellence comes in many forms. Seeing anything done well motivates and excites me.
I get excited by McDonalds! I won’t spoil it for you, so if you want to know how a Michelin-starred chef can be inspired by a fast food chain, listen to the sound clip above!
Strong role models and leaders — You always remember your favourite teacher… We can all say who motivated us at a very young age and I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some really great people over the years. I spent five years working for Raymond Blanc, and although I averaged 95 hours a week, he was probably the best person I’ve worked with. He’s one who truly practices excellence. He’s a micro idiot, looking at every single detail of every single thing.
He had a clock on the wall and the clock was there to remind you not to look at the clock, but it had round it “Push yourself” and that’s what you had to constantly do, because you were tired and you were running round, but we practiced excellence. Raymond Blanc has trained more Michelin star chefs than Gordon Ramsey and the Roux Brothers put together. He’s just got this passion, this drive, this enthusiasm for constantly reinventing things.
If you want to know what these athletes will be getting up to with their terrex Boost trail running shoes this summer, keep an eye out for my review of the shoes in the next few weeks…
All photography courtesy of LJM Photography