If you would have asked me a year ago to go run six miles for fun I would have told you you were insane. At that point 6 miles was the furthest I had ever run in one go in my life.
But in July last year I started training to run the Walt Disney World Marathon, which I did run in January.
How did THAT happen? How did I go from, “I will NEVER run a marathon!” to “I could do that again” ?
For me it all started with a medal.
Switch #1: A Worthy Reward
Disney has a marathon weekend in Florida (which includes a 1/2 marathon) in January and a 1/2 marathon weekend in Anaheim in August. If you run in both you get a very cool coast-to-coast medal. Those that know our family know we’re HUGE Disney fans…the parks in particular…and the medal depicts a statue of Walt and Mickey that has many memories for us from our trips to the parks. I have wanted that medal for five years.
But every year for five years I have dallied. Told myself I’d get around to registering for the January event but always getting around to it after the 1/2 marathon is sold out. Which has meant I have to wait until the following January to get in the cycle.
That happened again in 2013. I was bummed.
I stared at the now sold out 1/2 marathon in disbelief. I had missed it AGAIN! Then, and I still don’t know why I did this, I looked at the marathon and saw it was the same price. Hold on…you’re not thinking what I think you’re thinking.
Switch #2: A Fair Cost
Traveling to Florida is expensive and that expense had been one of the causes of my dallying year after year but now I had come to the doorstep of acceptance, ready to pay the piper, permission from my wife even! The cost was no greater for the full than for the 1/2 ?!?! I could still get the medal?!? I’LL DO IT.
Almost as soon as I had signed up I started to question my sanity. Twenty six miles is a long way. I had ridden my bike that far but never imagined traveling that far on foot. But I had done a could of short triathlons. I had used an app from Jeff Galloway to train myself up to a 10k and he did have a marathon app as well. Maybe it was doable?
Switch #3: A Motivating Plan
My thinking started like this:
- I don’t have to be fast, I just have to finish
- They require a 16 minute max pace, I can walk at about 14-15
- In my shorter runs I’ve been aiming for an 8 minute pace, this is twice as slow
- So it’s just a matter of not stopping
Breaking it down like that made this herculean task seem achievable. On top of that Jeff Galloway teaches a run-walk-run approach which means I didn’t have to think about running even a mile. I only had to think about running the next three minutes.
If you’ve been contemplating taking on an physical challenge such as running, biking, swimming, triathlon, climbing a 14er…whatever it is…look for ways to flip these three switches:
- Set a worthy reward out there…sometimes finishing isn’t quite enough, you need a tangible goodie.
- Compare the cost to something you DO consider reasonable. It’s helps remove that as an excuse.
- Come up with a plan that breaks down the big challenge into manageable bits. You may need help on this one. I’m glad I found Jeff Galloway’s plan.
In a coming post I’ll talk about the race experience itself but for the moment:
What challenge have you been considering for way too long? What is your biggest obstacle?