41(R) SQN – How about running every day for a year…?
An innocuous question during a quiet moment in the crew room, the usual chatter about the forthcoming summer between two “exercise freaks” a question that sparked the motivation to start a journey, a test of both mental and physical stamina keeping an ex-couch potato training.
What better way to sustain the motivation than to have a tangible and achievable target for a good cause?
Step forward to the 1st of March and the first steps of my personal challenge to run a minimum of 5k every day for children’s charity Dreams Come True (www.dctc.org.uk) were behind me, the self-imposed rules simple; Run a minimum of 5k EVERY day for 365 days and no roll over on the mileage (any distance over 5k will not count towards the target for the next day)
The biggest question I had for myself in the early days was “will I be able to avoid injury to be able to keep going for a whole year?”
Initially it was the physical side of the challenge that presented the most difficulty, pushing unwilling legs into running regardless of condition, rubbing liniment into stiff muscles to ease the soreness, but it didn’t seem long before the legs had toughened up, and it was mostly a mental challenge from that point on.
The first 6 months seem a bit of a blur now, fleeting memories of relaxed runs in glorious sunshine and mad dashes to “get the miles in” occasionally with company but mostly solo, the most vivid memories being the day I forgot to check my distance before stopping my run, resulting in having to go out again for another run (why bother just topping up, just run another 3 1/2 miles…) and a hill race with driving rain and sleet at the summit, an example of either my sheer stupidity, or willingness, to run in inclement weather dressed only in shorts and a vest!
One of the positive aspects of running to a target is that it drives you to push through the lethargy that leads to missed training sessions, often with the reward that the weather isn’t as unpleasant as you first thought, or a rare sighting of an owl ghosting past in the half darkness, sometimes it’s the view that makes you pause to drink it in, or the even rarer days when running seems effortless (more often than not meaning a later finish than planned!) however, not every day can be a great day and the tough days are the real test of character over the year.
Fast forward to day 200, a cool Monday in early September. The weather is still warm and sunny and I’m out again for a morning run. The initial feeling is to just run the minimum distance, a quick dash round the old bomb dump and back for a shower before work starts. As the legs start to warm up and the breathing starts to calm down and after some quick mental arithmetic, the route has changed and I’m off down towards New York village for a run round the airfield, as I’m turning back into station I can slow down to allow myself a little pat on the back, 200 days gone and just over 800 miles covered, no prizes or fanfare meets me on my return, just the satisfaction of another day logged, more miles under the belt and another day closer to my target of running every day for a whole year.
You can follow my progress at: www.facebook.com/#!/
Any donations will be gratefully received at:
“No one else is the authority on your potential. You’re the only person who decides how far you go and what you’re capable of.”– Ben Saunders
Highlights of the year so far include:
• Fell races in sleet and rain.
• Early morning runs in Wales before the days adventure training.
• Post thunderstorm runs at sunset.
• Vitruvian Triathlon.