Monday, October 17, 2011

And on the Seventh Day, I ran

Tonight was the seventh straight day of running.  Wow!  I have been running about three miles a day for the past week.  This is my longest streak since I have started the Running Without a Watch plan.  The biggest factor contributing to this success is not taking a watch or music with me during my run.  Instead of worrying about maintaining a certain speed, I focus only on my run.  This freedom allows me to speed up when I want to, slow down when I need to, and ultimately complete the distance.  I feel great at the end of each run. 
I stopped listening to music as a personal choice to help me let go of the pressure I placed on myself.  You see, music for me, was just another way of letting me know how fast I was running.  Since I ran the same route and listened to the same playlist on my IPod, I could measure my speed based on which song was playing at a given location on the route.   Even without a watch, I knew if I was going to have a fast run or a slow run, which in turn led me to feelings of elation or despair.  Realizing that I needed to make a change from this all or nothing thinking led me to create a healthier balance with my running, and I have since left the music and the watch at home.
As you know, one positive change tends to lead to other positive changes, and so I have also tried to stop focusing on how many days in a row I have run.  Right now, I am up to seven, and that is a huge accomplishment for me.  However, I may decide to take tomorrow off since I am taking my wife out for dinner.   It all comes down to balance, and it feels really good.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is a remarkable
story of a guy who has been running every day for 30 years straight.   
And he is proud of The Streak.
Yesterday, when Shatzman laced up his running shoes and set out from his home in Ambler for his daily three-mile trot, he was also celebrating an anniversary: 30 years without missing a single day of running.
The Streak began Oct. 9, 1981. The day before was Yom Kippur, a day when Jews customarily fast. Figuring he'd be light-headed if he didn't eat or drink, Shatzman didn't run that day. But he did run the next day, and the next, and the next. He hasn't skipped a daily run since.
"It has to do with perseverance, persistence, hard work, and accomplishing a goal," Shatzman says.
Shatzman keeps track, of course. He records his daily mileage in a log. From Oct. 9, 1981, to Dec. 31, 2010, he had run 52,932.5 miles, his records show. He estimates he's added 800 miles since.
When I suggested that Shatzman might be a tad obsessive-compulsive, he readily assented.
"Of course!" he replied, his smile broad and unabashed.
"It would be easy to take a day off and more fun to watch TV. Not giving in is the important thing."

While I admire and respect Mr. Shatzman’s amazing accomplishment of running every day for the past 30 years, the pressure must be immense.  Having set similar goals in the past, I was left feeling disappointed and dissatisfied with myself when I missed two or three days of running.  

This brings us to the great thing about the Running Without a Watch plan.  It helps you create a balance of running, eating right, socializing with friends, and seeing your family.  The streak that I am most proud of is 40 days straight of improving my lifestyle! 

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