Running solo: Challenge yourself
Happy March, everyone! Here in Berlin, the snow has melted, the days are sunny and warmer, and it’s getting easier and easier to feel inspired to run. I hope it’s the same for you, wherever you are!
In many European cities, lockdown will continue through this month. So for the next 5 weeks, I hope to motivate you all with some new ideas for solo runs. Maybe these Monday articles will give you some new things to think about and experiment with, out in the running world.
It seems to me that this March is a month for challenges. Midnight Runners is holding a “World Tour”, taking us around the world. Some runners are also trying the 48-hour “Goggins Challenge” this weekend. I challenged myself to do 1,000 burpees before month’s end. And James Lawrence, aka “The Iron Cowboy,” will attempt his “Conquer 100” challenge in the next 100 days.
What I really like about all these challenges, is that they are more process-oriented, as opposed to performance or outcome goals (such as finishing a race faster than someone else). As written in the article:
“These goals focus on your individual actions, and are not dependent on or connected to the performance or actions of others.”
I first heard about “The Iron Cowboy” when he completed 50 Ironman triathlons, in all 50 U.S. states, in 50 days. One thing that stuck out to me about James’ story: for the last 5k of every run, his 12-year-old daughter would join him. I thought to myself, 50 days of Ironman would be a huge stretch for me, but running 5k a day for 50 days was a process goal within reach.
I decided to run the same route at approximately the same time each day. This might sound boring, but ended up being a very meditative challenge for me. Even though I was technically doing the same thing every day, there were always myriad new things to observe: the weather, the people around me, how I was feeling. I enjoyed myself so much, I actually ended up doing 100 days straight of my 5k route, doubling my original goal. I feel like I was both physically and mentally tougher after challenging myself in this way...the only thing that could have prevented me from achieving the goal, was me. I didn’t let that happen, and was extremely proud of myself for that.
To kick off yet another month of solo running, I invite you to set a goal for yourself this month. Not an “outcome” or “performance” goal...as I mentioned before, working toward races or other events is generally not an option right now. Instead, think about a “process” goal for the month. It could be similar to my challenge, running or walking 5k every day. It could be something else. But sometimes committing to a process challenge, instead of focusing on outcome, is exactly the motivation we need to keep moving.