I believe that things happen for a reason and usually happen to help you learn, or remind you of, something you need to know at that time.
I’m sure this is what happened with me here.
I recently ran 114.8 miles in just 11 days after making a chance discovery.
This is not a guide on how to run 114.8 miles in 11 days (unless you really want to do that). This is an insight into how I did it and the process I used to do it, the same one I also use to help my clients achieve their goals.
I want to show you that you can achieve anything when you put your mind to it.
Let’s start with how I came to do it in the first place.
After reading a friend’s post on LinkedIn about her running stats for the year on Strava, I thought I’d check out mine. I hadn’t run for 3 weeks so had no idea where I was at. That’s when I discovered that I was 114.8 miles short of my target of 2000 miles for the year.
With 2 weeks to go to the end of the year, I could either grumble and vow to do better next year or go for it. Without hesitation, I chose the latter.
Not If But How
You see, I don’t look at goals as a case of IF I can achieve them. I look at them as HOW I will achieve them.
The common approach is to build from the ground up hope you’ll arrive at your goal. I do it the other way around. I imagine I’ve already achieved it then work back the way to figure out the steps to get there. With this goal, I needed to work out the best way to do it. Not being able to do it never crossed my mind.
Don’t get me wrong, this was still a huge challenge with a lot of uncertainty around it. It would need me to run more than my average weekly mileage in marathon training earlier in the year.
We need that uncertainty though to get us out of our comfort zones to try it. The uncertainty around achieving our goal, and that little bit of pressure makes it all that little bit more exciting. It’s that excitement that gives us the motivation to keep going.
That’s why I encourage you to go after the things you’ve always wanted to do. Going after safe, easy goals doesn’t provide the same excitement or motivation to commit yourself to work towards it.
Even if you miss your target, you’ll still be closer to achieving it than you are now. You’ll also likely have achieved lots of other things along the way so you can’t really fail.
Of course, it’s not the goal but the person you become along the way.
“The major value of reaching goals is not to acquire it, but it’s the person you become while you’re working to acquire it” – Jim Rohn
Breaking It Down Into Smaller Chunks
To achieve this goal, like any other, I needed to break it down into smaller chunks. 114.8 miles worked at just over 8 miles each day but that didn’t appeal to me.
I decided on a better way to do it – just run everywhere!
The easiest way to achieve your goal is when you integrate what you do into your daily life. Exercise doesn’t have to be limited to what you do in a gym.
In this case, I decided to run to and from client sessions, run into town to get a coffee then run home again. I even ran into town one morning to do my Christmas shopping, ran home then went out a couple of hours later to deliver Christmas cards to relatives who live locally!
Instead of trying to do 8 miles a day, I did a series of smaller runs of around 2-3 miles more often. Most days I’d end up covering 10 miles relatively easily. I deliberately reduced the intensity of my runs to an easy jogging pace so it wouldn’t take as much out of my body and I could recover quicker. Your body adapts quickly to change and so running everywhere felt just the same as walking everywhere.
Visualise Completing Your Goal
It’s important to visualise the moment you complete your goal. When you’re going to do it, where and how it will happen. It adds to the excitement when you know you’re getting closer to the finish line.
Sometimes completing the goal involves a grand gesture like crossing the finish line, sometimes it’s being somewhere and feeling a certain way.
This one was a bit crazy.
I went into the final day with 11.5 miles to run. This was made easy by having a couple of client sessions, both of which involved running. I ran down to my first client, Catriona, ran with her then ran across town for my session with Phil. I stopped my watch at the end of each run then worked out how far I had left to run. By the time I finished my session with Phil, I needed to follow a convoluted route home to hit target. I actually ended up running back and forth along the street in front of my house to run the little bit that would end with Strava showing “2000 miles completed”!
Just The Beginning, Not The End
The main thing to remember when you achieve your goal is that it’s just the beginning, not the end. The problem many of us have is we focus too much on the destination of our goal that it can feel harder to think of a new one once we’ve completed it. This is a common problem with weight loss goals and even Couch to 5k. Once that goal has been achieved, where do you go to next?
The real success is found in the journey, not the destination. You have to dream another goal or think of a progression from the goal you’ve just achieved and continue from where you’ve left off. The new goal needs to feel as challenging, crazy yet exciting, to motivate you to discover what more you can achieve.
My next goal is to run a 3hr marathon or quicker at Stirling in May in order to achieve the Good For Age standard for the London Marathon. This was meant to be my goal for 2021 but was postponed due to covid restrictions.
I’m taking a few days rest before I start my training on Monday.
Essentially, this challenge has been a great way to get me running again and the perfect warm up for the training I’m about to do!
What’s your next goal going to be?
What help do you need to get there? If you’d like some help, get in touch and let’s have a chat about it and create a plan.