With an attitude that reeked of defeat, I journeyed to the army camp where my IPPT (Individual Physical Proficiency Test) would take place. Affecting my mind was the dismal self-test score from a week ago for both my broad jumps and 2.4km run.
How was I to get the Gold award for the fitness test with such standards? What was the point of the weekly jump trainings when it was useless!
Everything was messed up.
Snap out of it Logen! You haven’t even taken the fitness test yet. If the Gold does indeed elude you today, retake the test every week till you get the award!
The undesirable self-inflicted penalty of burning my Saturdays shifted my attitude – I needed to get the award or die trying.
Military Fitness Test Results
So, what was my fitness test score and award…
Pull ups – 12
Broad jump – 243cm
Sit up – 50
Shuttle run – 9.6s
2.4km run – 9 mins 26s
HELL YEAH! I got the gold award with full score awarded for each fitness station!
Wait… what was with the defeated attitude before? Why was I so sure that I’d remain at Silver (or pass)?
Why was I able to do it? A lesson in attitude and confidence
1. Never doubt your training if you trained smart (and hard)
To avoid the hassle of measuring the distance jumped with a tape, I did the self-test for the first time at a public broad jump station in my neighbourhood.
Before, I actually gauged my distance jumped by multiplying the number of shoe strides by the length of my shoe. While not accurate, but it was good enough for training purposes.
So, confident that I was consistently jumping at 235cm, I was shocked when I landed on the 225cm marker when self-testing. Suspicious that the markers were wrong, I measured the distance via shoe strides; according to the markers, 7.5 shoe strides was 225cm. I accepted that my training was a flop and felt demoralised.
When I did in fact jump during the actual fitness test, the first attempt was 229cm and the final attempt was 243cm. This was my consistent distance. It seems the public broad jump markers’ were wrong.
If anything, I learnt to have more faith in my training and not trust public fitness facilities. To think I was yelling at myself in my head throughout the entire journey to the army camp…
2. Never compromise your do-or-die attitude by being stupid
Weeks prior to the test, I fell ill twice from getting the flu virus but chose to train against the doctor’s advice. As a result, my running performance and state of mind deteriorated.
One incident that forced me to stop sprint-running midway (due to breathlessness when training with the flu) affected my subsequent runs psychologically. Add that to the four days of Chinese New Year family reunion and binge-eating, I just couldn’t believe I could match my prior Gold-standard speed.
But on the day of the test, I rediscovered why I had been able to speed in all my runs. What I lost after the “running with flu” incident was the combined power of focus, competitive-spirit and self-belief, essentially the attitude of “do or die”. Because I chose to train stupidly, I managed to kill my do-or-die attitude.
Thankfully, the following motivations during the test revived that self-belief and competitiveness:
- the penalty imposed upon myself, which was to burn my Saturdays to retake the test
- the fact that the old fitness test, which I regarded as more difficult, was being scrapped in a month and I wanted to get Gold at least once under that system
Self-belief and persistence are crucial to improving performance, and I should never have done things that compromised that underlying do-or-die attitude – stupid things like: training when moderately ill, not getting enough sleep and trying to take on too much in a day can create a self-fulfilling prophecy of failure.
Now that I have achieved the goal of getting the gold award for the IPPT, I will be tweaking my training plans to target the other goals in my list. Of course, I will be training smarter from now on… or at least try…