I ran every day for 1-1/2 years…Here is what I learned

August 17, 2020

Growing up, I was athletic.

As I got older and went to work, I got less athletic.

Picture a thirty-year-old colleague with a Dad Bod without being a Dad.

That was it, time for me to get fit. So, I started training for triathlon and worked my way up to an Ironman race.

Mission Accomplished — I was fit and somewhere in that training I became a Dad.

Wait…Mission Not Accomplished…I pushed too hard…I got hurt…I did not exercise for the next 3+ years…

In those 3+ years, I got promoted…I worked a lot…I got my Dad Bod back…

Success! You're on the list.

One day, we were having lunch with our bankers and one of the bankers and I got onto the topic of running. When a senior colleague overheard me say that I was a runner, he chuckled. Pointing at my belly he said you do not look like a runner.

That stung…I know he did not mean it maliciously; however, it was hard for me to take it any other way…

Being a person of extremes, as you will learn more about over time if you read my writing, I decided enough was enough, it was time to run…Every day…Forever…

I started my run-streak in December 2016 with a goal of a minimum of 3-kilometers per day and ended in May 2018. During that time, I averaged 7-kilometers per day with my longest run at 81 km, which is another story altogether.

On my running journey, I learned a lot of lessons, here they are for you:

I missed running

No, seriously. There is no better exercise than running.

While listening to a podcast the time goes quickly and at the same time you are learning. What more could I ask for? It was while running that I found Tim Ferriss and listened to years of his podcasts and learned tremendously.

Better, the calories come off quickly.

Excuses are excuses

A lot of us say we do not have time for exercise. I say it all the time. It’s not true. Putting the steps in place to run every single day showed me that there is time to do what is important to me.

Taking it a step further, it showed me that accomplishing what you want to accomplish is all about planning and prioritization. If you want it, you can achieve it, which is something I will continue to emphasize.

Preparation is important

It is not easy to run every single day.

Planning and preparation are paramount.

Looking at your schedule for the week in advance to plan when you are going to get your run in is important. When accepting invites from friends socially I needed to ensure that I would have enough time to get my run in. Date nights? Let me check my schedule? Poker night? Let me check my schedule.

The easiest way to achieve the schedule and to reduce calories was to get a 5-kilometer to 10-kilometer run in at lunch or in the morning before work. The key, as much as possible, was to not interfere with family life, with work or with my social life. Planning was integral.

Sometimes, that may mean running after a date night with my wife. These were not the easy runs. Regardless they had to happen.

You are only as good as today

When you set a goal of running every single day yesterday does not matter. I can not emphasize this enough. Yesterday Does Not Matter. You are only as good as today. Unless you get your run in, the streak is over.

Nothing provides as much incentive as knowing you may potentially be ending something that you have been working so hard for every single day for the last year. This reminds me of Stephen covey’s Flywheel Effect. once the flywheel is in motion, it starts to drive itself ever forward through sheer momentum.

This is the same approach I use in my everyday life at work, with my family, with learning. It is not enough to focus on the good things that I have done. Instead, I am always looking to how I can add value. Today. Tomorrow.

A coach can make life much better

When undertaking something as significant as running every single day with the intention of working your way towards ultra marathons, you should consider a coach.

My life is busy. I am a husband, a father, and a CFO. I do not have the additional time to plan out the right running program to achieve my goals. After getting a coach my run training was so much better that it had been and the amount of time I was putting into it was much less. Higher quality with less time? What is that worth to you? Where else can you benefit from that?

Where else in my life, in your life, could a coach prove beneficial? We are often hesitant to reach out for assistance in life when the reality is there are people who can teach us to be better wherever we want to improve.

It is the journey, not the destination

Too often, we focus on the result. The destination. I know that this is one of my faults.

Instead, we should be focused on the process. By focusing on the destination, we may often miss the everyday joys and accomplishments of the work that we are doing. This can often lead to a sense of frustration or even hopelessness When the end goal is achieved. For example, many Ironman athletes are despondent and even depressed on completing their Ironman. What next? What should I be training for? Was that it? It was so different than I expected.

In a podcast interview with Tim ferriss, Tony Robbins pointed out that it is not the experience itself that causes an issue; rather, it is the experience relative to our expectations. When we spend too much time focused on the result to the point where we have very specific expectations, we are setting ourselves up for unhappiness.

We are all runners, we just don’t know it

Remember when my colleague said that I did not look like a runner? What does a runner look like? Have you been to a marathon recently? Runners come in all shapes and sizes. Of course, you will see a lot more commonalities between the people that are winning the race then you will the people that are completing the race.

That said, they are still completing the race. they are still running. They are runners. I am a runner. You are a runner. All it takes, is putting one foot in front of the other. Start small.

If you set your mind to something, you can do it

I often talk about three pillars to achieve anything you want.

  • know what you want to achieve — the VISION
  • Know what it takes to achieve the Vision — the PLAN
  • commit to your Plan to achieve the Vision. Day in. Day out. Do the WORK

It is simple. It is difficult, but it is simple. Do The Work.

Even in craziness, there is a place for moderation

To complete the streak, there were a lot of crazy things I had to do.

For example, often I would have to run late at night. It was my wife who had one of the craziest ideas. She noticed I was running quite late and she suggested why not run at 11:45 at night, complete my 3-kilometers, rest, and do another 3-kilometer run home early in the AM of the next day. Effectively, I would run 3-kilometres with a goal of ending just before midnight, then when the Clock struck midnight, I would run home. This would then allow me to have more than a full day’s rest before I had to run again. She is a genius.

We went on a Disney cruise. It was a blast. Unfortunately, I had a debilitating back injury. I felt like I could not walk. While my wife and children were with our friends on the cruise, I was in our room lying on the floor crying. It was the most unbearable experience of my life. Regardless, I was not willing to give up the streak I pushed myself each day to get through the 3-kilometre run on the treadmill.

In the end, it was the lack of moderation that ended the streak. I completed my first ultra marathon, 81 kilometres (50 miles for our American friends) and it felt as bad as it sounds. It got dark. It got painful. I walked. I walked a lot. What felt like hours. What felt like days. I was coming up to a rest stop and told myself that if my family was there, I was quitting. They were not. I kept walking. Eventually, I was able to start running again. Then I saw my family. They were so happy. They were so proud. I kept running. I could not stop.

Unfortunately, my body was not holding up well after completing the run. Continuing to get after it every single day became problematic.

I felt good about achieving the run streak for 1–1/2 years. It was an accomplishment. I was sad to see it end. After my body recovered, I did start again. I lasted three months and stopped when I got sick. It was an excuse. It was weak. Remember, I kept going on the cruise when I could barely walk. How could a cold end the new streak? Simple, my heart was no longer in it.

If your heart is in it, there is absolutely nothing that you cannot accomplish if you are willing to do the work and make the sacrifices that you need to make. That is the greatest lesson that I learned by running every single day.

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