“There are always opportunities every single day to challenge yourself mentally and grow and progress as a human.”
– James Lawrence, Iron Cowboy
James Lawrence, The Iron Cowboy, is a man with seemingly no limits. He holds not one, but two different records in the Guinness Book of World Records for insane Ironman Triathlon feats. His most recent record was called the 50-50-50. He completed 50 Ironman distance triathlons in 50 consecutive days in 50 different states. Many said it could not be done, but he redefined what others said was impossible. From there, his endurance career has continued to branch out with a trip to Mt Kilimanjaro with his mountain bike, a 235 mile walk across Greece with Navy Seals, and doing the 4 hardest Ironmans in the world this year (Alaskaman, Norseman, Keltman, Swissman).
He wasn’t always an endurance machine. He was a couch potato with a mortgage company and his wife was sick of it. It all started when she empowered him to do a what James called a “pathetic mess of a 4 mile run.” She then signed him up for the Salt Lake City marathon and told him he had 6 months to get in shape. Never in their wildest dreams did they imagine that a 4 mile fun run would lead to a career of inspiring others taking on the hardest physical endurance challenges in the world. It’s a great example of how important it is to get started and try something because you never know where it can take you. James also includes charity as a huge proponent to all of his adventures and truly believes in giving back.
Iron Cowboy James attributes his success to not just physical strength, but mental toughness and speaks about it all over the world. He says, “I’ve seen some incredible talent just be unrealized because they (people) can’t figure out the mental side of it…they are looking for one answer or solution to it and it truly comes down to that it’s another facet of training.”
In this podcast, we dive into some of the details of his 50-50-50 adventure, some of the events he has done this year, and a huge theme of how to stay positive during the hardest situations. Mental toughness is a choice and is something I love to talk about on this podcast. We don’t just tell you to be smile and be positive; we actually discuss how you can work on mental toughness and mindset on a daily basis without even having to take on extreme physical challenges. Iron Cowboy James says, “Through the course of every single day, you have micro-opportunities to start that mental training and toughness and your route of adaptation. … There are always opportunities every single day to challenge yourself mentally and grow and progress as a human. If you’re not finding those opportunities, then you’re not looking or searching or wanting to grow. You’re happy in your miserable state.”
James Lawrence also has 5 kids and they are involved and his life and career as an ultra endurance athlete. In this podcast, he also tells us how to be a parent as an endurance athlete and world traveler.
When asked what his favorite sport is despite everything he has done, James said without hesitation, “cycling, without question.”
I loved chatting with James Lawrence and I hope that this exchange gets you as excited as it got me!
- how to have mental toughness and how to work on it
- Iron Cowboy’s 50-50-50
- His book, Redefine Impossible
- Parenting as an endurance athlete
- His other adventures this year around the world
- Get Iron Cowboy’s book: Redefining Impossible
- Iron Cowboy’s coaching program
- Red Bull’s article on 50-50-50
- Outside Magazine’s article on the 50-50-50
- Mt. Kilimanjaro video
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