Launch Time: My 24 month journey as a runner

By Patrick Donohue

July 28, 2018

Launch Time:  My 24 month journey as a runner

I have never thought of myself as a runner.  An athlete yes, I played three sports in high school and played college baseball.  A runner?  No, running was the thing you did at the end of practice that you dreaded.  I took a couple of stabs at running in my 30s and 40s, but I never kept going for any significant amount of time

About 24 months ago at the age of 52, I thought I am going to start to run. I did not really totally believe it, but I thought why not?  I had been reading a bunch of things about habits and how to maintain them, so I decided to try it out.  My first few runs were short (1-2 miles), but I made up for it by going slow (13-15 minutes/mile).  For the first month, I ran a couple of times a week, slow and steady. 

The habit books tell you that real habits are built on the 3Rs (Reminder, Routine, Reward).  They stress that making it slightly easier to perform your habit greatly increase the chances that you will do it and stick with it.  Armed with this knowledge, I decided to create my own 3Rs.  The Reminder or trigger was easy, I put my running shoes, shorts, headphones and heart rate monitor all prominently on the floor in my bedroom, so I would see them as soon as I woke up.  I could no longer use the excuse, "Oh where are my shoes or where are my headphones to keep from running."  It is amazing how powerful that one little step has been to keep me going.

For the second R of Routine, I decided that running in the morning was my best bet.  Truth be told, I have never been a morning exercise person.  I just thought it was cooler in the morning, so it was better weather to run. My routine became simple:  1. Get out of bed.  2. Immediately sit on a chair and put my running stuff on  3. Make sure my fitbit and heart rate monitor were ready to roll  4. Turn on my Spotify playlist (always start with Jump Around) 5. Turn on May My Run and roll out the door.

The third R is Reward.  I love looking at my fitbit steps and seeing myself at the top of the daily challenges after  I have run an early 10,000 steps.  I love looking at the data from the heart rate monitor and seeing my progress over the entire month.  I feel excited and proud when I see that data.

My runs increased to 3 miles and eventually to 5-6 miles each day.  For the last three months, I have run over 100 miles in each month.  If you would have told me two years ago I would run 100 miles in a month, I would have laughed.  I am not sure I am a "true runner", but I have learned the habit of running and now it feels weird when I do not run in the morning.  Talk about your real upsets!

 

 

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