WatchFit is thrilled to welcome Ness Knight – Endurance Adventurer – to our family of superb experts. Ness is a truly extraordinary young woman who finds adventure and excitement wherever she can, motivating us all along the way. She has made history more than once as she has pushed her mind and body to incredible lengths and she promises there is more to come! In Part 2 of our exclusive interview she tells us what she has been up to… Read Part 1 here.
6. When did you take on your first extreme challenge, what was it and was there a particularly motivating moment that sent you on this path?
In 2012 I became the first female to Stand Up Paddle Board 1000 miles. It was my big intro into the world of endurance and where I first opened my eyes to the possibility of a career as an endurance adventurer. Everything was new, incredibly challenging, slightly terrifying and beyond exciting!RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Rewind a few months prior to this and I was sitting in an office in central London, staring at a quote I had blue tacked to the bottom of my computer screen. In bold letters it read: “What would you attempt to do, if you knew you could not fail?”.
It was one of those cute little postcards we like buying and sharing online because it sounds cool and aspirational and we would love to be the kind of person who lives by those values. But lets face it, these comments and remarks are all well and good, but we never really heed them and do anything about them, do we?
Somehow, though, staring at it day in and day out, dangling from the bottom of my computer screen, really did have an effect. I sat reading it one afternoon and I took a minute to think about what I would dare to try to achieve in my life, if I took away all fear of failure.
As if on cue, an opportunity to SUP the Missouri reared it’s head and I just grabbed hold of it. I quit my job and took the giant leap.
7. Doing what you do must require a significant support network.
Yes, there is a lot of training, gear and planning that goes into each journey. First up is tapping into a network of various experts to get information about the expedition route, the right technique and training, (e.g. for open water swimming or trail running), and the right nutrition plan for both the lead up to and during the expeditions.
Family and friends are a massive support unit and always there to help and motivate me through thick and thin. I’m super lucky to have the most incredibly supportive fiancé, James, who is my rock. Never underestimate the power of having a solid support unit around you.
Gear is also a vital part of the set-up, as without proper, quality kit, you risk things like injury, hypothermia and general safety. I have some amazing sponsors who help kit me out and allow me to do what I do. Orca have provided me with fantastically good wetsuits, cycle clothing and compression gear.
Saucony look after my feet with road and trail running shoes (getting the right shoes is something you cannot mess around with. Get it wrong and you won’t be going far). Berghaus make sure I am ready to face the elements with top to toe sports and outdoor clothing.
Aquapac are the ones who protect my kit and equipment, keeping it dry on land and in water with waterproof bags and cases for everything, from cameras to large duffels.
And then there are the incredible people who follow my journeys online. The support they give is unreal and a huge motivation to keep going through the highs and lows of any expedition!
Waking up on expedition to read the messages of support and virtual high 5’s from strangers and friends alike across the globe is just utterly awesome. That will always put a massive smile on your face, no matter how exhausted you are.
Trail running, dynamic planks and weighted sumo squats.
9. What you do is physically very demanding, but this can of course be trained for. However, I suspect it is a mental struggle as well. How do you deal with this?
Absolutely. You can be as physically fit as you like, but without mental stamina and strength you are unlikely to make it through long-distance events and expeditions. I always tell people that the hardest thing to train will be the most powerful tool you have – an iron mind.
And this goes for general life too. Keep your mind healthy and strong and you can achieve anything. I have learned to control the direction of my thoughts and not let them wander to negative places. Complacency is killer, so consciously steer clear of any negative dialogue with yourself. It takes some practice, but you will learn how to find your ‘happy zone’ faster and faster.
During my endurance journeys and training I try to remember that it is only when we challenge ourselves that we grow and progress as human beings. This perspective is sound motivation for me to push through just about anything. The sense of achievement and confidence you gain when you face your inner demons and take on your toughest mental challenges is phenomenal!
Even if you don’t succeed at first, you come to realise that every so-called failure is in fact only a lesson to learn from. Our mistakes and failures are, simply put, life’s tuition.
10. Have you got any upcoming plans and is there anything you can share with us?
Yes! There are plans afoot for what will unquestionably be two of my biggest endurance challenges yet! The first involves a wetsuit, cold water and a few months worth of swimming. The second is an 8,500 mile solo Pacific Ocean row from the west coast of the USA to Australia. There will be plenty of update news here at WatchFit!