Goggins' 4x4x48 Challenge. Why?

Updated: Mar 9


Devised by David Goggins, the challenge is to run 4 miles every four hours for 48 hours, and in my case, break that up with a few workouts and a kata round. Why? A number of friends have already commented on how crazy this is. So why do it? The answer is simple. Because it’s hard. You don’t stand out by doing what’s average. If you want to lead an exceptional life, do exceptional things. Personally, my training had fallen into a rut lately. This challenge is inspiring! Nothing motivates like a difficult goal. (side note: this is precisely why karate has a belt system.) This goal is definitely difficult, and it kicked my training into high gear.


This challenge meets my definition of the epitome of toughness. Toughness isn’t how hard you hit, or how fast you can run. In fact, it isn’t physical at all. Toughness is all in your head. It’s mental toughness. It’s discipline. In this challenge, you don’t even have to run every 4 hours. You can substitute in any workout you like. The discipline is in going every 4 hours for 48 hours. For me, I’m plugging in 3 lifting sessions, and 1 kata round. I normally love lifting. When everything hurts though, it would be far easier to lace on the sneakers. The kata round I’ll love even exhausted. This is moving meditation. Goju Ryu, Kobudo, White Crane, Koryu Uchinadi drills, Niten, Jodo, and if there is time, even my Tai Chi sets. Ahhh...


Another element I love about this challenge is that it addresses the single hardest part about training: getting started. It’s easy to train karate, workout, or run once I’ve started. The hard part is in finding the motivation to begin. Every 4 hours for 48 hours, I begin again: taking that first step, picking up that first weight. Forming the habit of starting is what drives success.


As we live through this COVID Spring, this challenge will be a standout memory.In the day-in-day-out routine that has defined the lockdown, what has been memorable? Memories are made by doing exceptional things.


The final reason I’m doing this challenge is simply because I can. I know so many who let their age or their injuries define them. When we are together, conversations will turn to the latest infirmity. I enjoy the benefits of training kids, and I speak from experience when I say that people of all ages have this predisposition. Those that rise above though, spend more time talking of their great experiences over whatever is holding them back. As kids, we have our parents helping set challenges for us. As adults, we need to seek out those challenges, otherwise it’s just Netflix on the couch.

If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this blog, I apologize for this rambling post. I am running on little sleep, and it’s entirely possible I’m just trying to psyche myself up for the next round!


#4X4X48CHALLENGE - What's Next?


That was 48 hours of going hard every 4 hours for a total of 51.2 km, 3 hours of lifting, and a Kata round. What’s next is easy: just train. I was slow, particularly in the later rounds. I know I can get stronger, and in the fog of hour 40, there was more than one Kata that was simply not in muscle-memory. There is still work to do.


In my long rambling list of reasons why I took this challenge, I neglected one of the absolute main key reasons. It’s only by pushing our limits that we actually know where our limits are. Most people quit way too soon. The body can do more, but the mind says “oh you can’t do that”. Discipline toughens the mind and drowns out the negativity. We are capable of greatness, just train.


And dah!!! With a little more speed, I won’t get passed by those damn horse-and-buggies! So close.

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