Hi ya’ll! It’s officially 14 days after the New Year and that means that tomorrow will officially be two weeks into any New Year’s Resolutions or goals you may have identified for yourself. Which means you’ve only got 52 more days, according to behavioral scientist claims of 66 days before making anything become a habit. To help you hang in there and keep your eye on the prize I collaborated with a fellow runner from halfway across the globe to bring you today’s blog post and “Runner’s Monday Motivation“.
Guest Blog Post from Australia
A few weeks back I was reminded that running can connect people so randomly and evidently from halfway across the world. A fellow Australian runner by the name of Nicole Stirling, had reached out to me after reading my blog post called 6 Tips for Setting 2019 Running Goals.
Nicole, had been revamping her own “goals” from the usual runner’s targets of new PR’s or longer distances and focused more on consistency with her running. I do believe there is a huge lesson to be learned from her story as well. So, here is her story for your Monday Motivation with a prefatory self Bio from Nicole.
Nicole Stirling is an avid runner and the author of 366 Days of Running blog. Nicole started running in her 20s to get fit and lose a little weight. But her start was rocky; she ran irregularly and was prone to injury. To address her consistency, Nicole set herself a challenge: to run a minimum 3kms every day for 366 days. And she achieved her running streak!
Since then, Nicole has run 12 marathons, 9 half marathons and explored the US, Europe and Asia through running tours and races. She’s heading to Italy, Slovenia and Croatia later in the year to run a marathon and trails on a group tour.
How running 3kms every day for 366 days was life changing – By Nicole Stirling
It was in 2011 that I signed up for my first half marathon. I gave myself plenty of time to train but I didn’t use that time wisely. I naively believed I could squeeze four months of training into two weeks and run the half marathon easily. All I did was run myself into an injury; shin splints!
When race day arrived, I couldn’t hide the pain as I shuffled the few hundred metres from my hotel to the start line. But I wasn’t participating. I was there to support my friends and fellow runners. I was a spectator to the race I’d signed up for. When the gun fired, I fought back tears watching the pack leave me behind.
This was an invaluable lesson for me in the importance of running consistently and regularly.
How I became consistent
There I was an inconsistent runner who only had myself to blame for my injury. All I could do was wait for my shin splints to heal before I could run (and race) again. During the downtime, I planned. I knew I couldn’t repeat this mistake. I set myself a goal of a running streak. I was determined to run 3kms every day of 2012. That was 366 days of fitness. For me, that’s roughly 20 minutes of running plus another 10 minutes to put on my gear and running shoes. I needed only 2% of each day to make this goal happen. For those days where I needed a rest, I’d walk 6kms instead of running.
This was a goal I was positive I could achieve.
The benefits of running regularly
Like all fitness activities, running consistently has many, many benefits. Consistent running has been known to:
- Prepare the body and mind for the effort required to push your limits: Have you noticed how regular running becomes easier and easier as time passes? It’s because your body and mind are being trained to know what to expect ahead of each run. As your training increases so too does your body and mind’s ability to accept longer runs. When it’s time to push your boundaries and achieve new limits it’s not nearly as tough because of the prep work that has been invested.
- Increase your body’s ability to recover quickly: In November 2012, 11 months into my challenge, I underwent surgery that required me to fast the few days prior and stay overnight in hospital. At my post-surgery appointment, my doctor was surprised and pleased to hear that I had returned to walking the day after my surgery. It was a very, very slow walk but I was out there still getting it done. And I was back to a slow jog within 2 weeks. My doctor was impressed with how quickly my body had recovered and put this down to the previous 11 months of daily running.
- Take the pain out of race day by spreading it across training runs: I look at race day as 100% pain without training. Regular training runs steadily chip away and reduce race day pain. Consider it this way: instead of 1 day of pain and suffering, it’s spread across 4 months of training runs. It sounds terrible, but it makes race day far more enjoyable!
- Reduce the risk of injury: Don’t I know this one! Running ad-hoc caused me shin splints which resulted in a DNS on race day. And as my massage therapist has pointed out, when I only run 2-3 times per week, my calves end up rock hard. I squeal when she touches them. I’ve found that by running regularly I reduce my injuries and any soreness and pain.
- Improve your mindset: Whether it is the running, sunshine or fresh air, getting some exercise in always resets my mind.I take my frustrations and problems to the pavement and usually finish happier and with solutions. I also use running as an opportunity to focus on the positives and to work through what I’m most grateful for. I find that a positive mindset helps improve my running performance too.
3 things I learned from running 3kms every day for a year
1. I can do anything!
I learned that anything is possible including running 366 days in a row. I didn’t doubt myself, although I did sometimes question why I’d set such a long challenge. And I did have naysayers who said I couldn’t possibly achieve this goal because life always gets in the way of things we want. But instead of getting upset, I used their comments to feed my determination.
And I did it! I ran 3kms every day for 366 days (actually, I went on to run a further 3kms the very next day!) and didn’t I just feel on top of the world. This challenge taught me that if I set my mind to a task then I can make it happen. I’ve carried that lesson with me into new jobs, a new home and 12 marathons!
2. To be organised
The distance I set for my goal wasn’t particularly difficult but finding time each day was often challenging. On one occasion, I had a 6 am flight from Sydney to Auckland. That day I woke at 2 am to fit my 3km run into the day and applied my makeup at the airport. A few months later, after driving 12 hours from Sydney to the Gold Coast, I found myself running 3kms at 11:30 pm.
This challenge taught me organisation skills I don’t believe I had before. While out for a 3km run I was thinking ahead to the next day’s schedule. Where would I fit 3kms in? My preference was always to run in the morning but sometimes that wasn’t possible. I always knew at least 24 hours ahead when and where I’d be running next.
3. To prioritise myself
Self-care seems selfish but it’s vital to allot yourself some solo, reflection time each day to be your best self. I’m extremely open with my family, friends and colleagues about how I will be a crazy person if I don’t get a run in. And that has a little to do with needing the sense of achievement I get after each run and opportunity to work through any problems and just generally feel grateful for my life.
This challenge taught me that I have a right (and an obligation) to prioritise my own needs each day AND that I can find the time in what often seems like a busy schedule.
In summary, a running streak can be a life changing experience. It’s also a great way to teach yourself to run regularly and to learn a lot about yourself along the way.
Special Thanks to Nicole
I’ve always been a believer and supporter of sharing personal stories and the power of motivation and learning tools that can be drawn from it. Special thanks goes to Nicole Stirling for sharing her story to motivate others and to teach the importance of consistency.
In reciprocative collaboration, I will follow up her story with some simple tools to help address the reasonings, symptoms, and preventative measures related to the dreaded shin splints that so many runners like Nicole, suffer from.
Keep Em Coming People!!
Would you like to contribute and be able to inspire others with your own sources of motivation? Perhaps you’d like to submit a guest post as well? Don’t be shy! I love hearing from you all and so will others!! I encourage you to submit your Runner’s Monday Motivation material thru the short form below. Or reach out and contact me with your guest post ideas and submissions thru the Comment & Contact page located at the top of this post.