This was a quote by an Officer, Lloyd W. Williams, from 2/5 Marine Corps Battalion in World War 1 while in the French Trenches. Marines have a reputation of tenacity. We can take an extreme amount of punishment and keep pushing. We are also “game” (see what “game” means in fighting lingo). This can be both a strength and a weakness at times if not paid attention to closely. As a former US Marine, I do not take giving up, or “retreating,” lightly. In fact, I have a reputation of not doing so. I may not be the fastest, or the strongest, but you can bet your ass on one thing, I’m going to stand my ground.
It could not be more true for this moment in my training. After my stressful training session a few days ago, I sat down with one of my coaches and talked it over. After speaking for awhile he helped me understand that perhaps the current programming I had picked up was a bit too advanced for me as well as it had an extreme amount of volume for my current lifestyle and what I could continue to give up in order to train.
This was a difficult pill for me to swallow. The Marine in me wanted to shrug it off and keep suffering the pain. Never give up, never retreat. Death before dishonor. That kind of thing. My coach explained that it isn’t giving up, you don’t have to stop training. Just choose a different route. A frontal assault, while brave, can be foolhardy in battle. He was right, it is only defeat if you give up. So I tweaked to a program that was more intermediate and I could easily handle the volume (especially after the last 3 weeks of getting my ass handed to me).
This is more in tune with my nightly conditioning sessions at CrossFit STAX in South Charlotte. My risk of injury is lower, my intensity can be handled much better and my nervous system has an adequate time to recover. So you see, it isn’t retreating, it’s assessing the battle and attacking at the right time and place. I’d like to thank my coaches in bringing this to light with me and understanding my personality and how it plays into my training. Athletes are not just programs and PR percentages… there is a bottomless complexity to each of them that must be understood in order to train effectively.
We have a saying in the Marines: “Adapt and overcome.” Sometimes things happen that are out of your control, a failure to adapt can result in a loss. Also, do not think I am the only Marine that loves Weightlifting, and I am sure has the same thoughts and mindset…. Do you know who this is?:
Here are the examples (on left is Power and Grace, what I was following, and on right is Burgener, what I am currently following):