Earlier this week, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, posted a few new year's resolutions on Facebook (of course). His physical goal for 2016? To run one mile a day for 365 days. Props to Zuckerberg for bringing awareness to health and fitness, but he's not the first one to come up with the idea. We asked a contributor who's already been there and done that, to tell us what it's really like to run a mile a day, all year long.
In December 2014, I was thinking hard about resolutions for 2015 and I realized it was a complete waste of effort. I had not once, ever been true to any of them. So I told myself either commit or don't. It's that simple. From that moment, I made a vow:
Put in at least one mile per day, every day, for all of 2015.
In other words, if I ran three miles on Tuesday, that did not mean I could take Wednesday off. I was committed to running a mile Every. Single. Day. A minimum target that I could measure.
Then, I shared this plan on social media so my friends could hold me accountable. Should I fail, I'd lose $1,000 and my friends and family would decide where it went.
A number of people told me that I should challenge myself more, make it two miles or three miles.
I get it. One mile isn't a lot, but that was intentional. This wasn't about the distance or the run.
The mile was the easy part (it literally takes eight to 12 minutes for most of us). Who can't carve out 15 minutes a day for health? The hard part was to stay consistent, every day of the year, no matter what was going on.
The first day I put in a mile, I walked out of my house. I was pumped to start. It was 48 degrees outside and I stretched a little, and when I took my first step it began to rain. Chilled and wet I finished that mile. Day one done! 364 to go.
Over the course of the year, I had to put in time to my commitment at all sort of hours of the day. I ran in cold temperatures (teens and 20s), in extreme heat (101 degrees and 95 percent humidity).
The goal took me places I never thought to run before. I ran in circles in parking garages at least 18 times. I once paid for a one-month membership at a gym in Atlanta while traveling for business. I was only there three days, but the hotel gym was being remodeled and it was the only option I had in cold crappy weather in February in Atlanta.
I once ran in jeans. Why? Because I was ready to do my run and that’s all I had on me. In October, I ran in JFK airport in New York City. The TSA just looked at me with indifference as I passed for the fifth time in 10 minutes.
All these challenges didn’t come without amazing gifts attached. I was able to run in some of the most beautiful places and cities on Earth. The streets of New York City, San Francisco, Nashville, Miami, Paris, Bordeaux, Tokyo, Kyoto, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Reykjavik among others.
Along the way, as I mentioned above, some folks continued to say, a mile is no big deal. Many days I put in a lot more than a mile — some days, however, I just put in the minimum.
Listen, commitment is about not making excuses. Hell, we all have plenty of them. Yes, we are all tired, we met a friend for drinks and now I don't feel like it, you have a cold, we have kids to take care of, we have work and all that nonsense. But you are either committed or you are not.
This commitment doesn't come without struggle. About seven months through this journey, my left big toe began to hurt. At times it was excruciatingly painful. In fact, my doctor told me to stop. I ignored my doctor. By no means am I telling you to ignore a heart issue or something severe, but a hurting toe? The play has to go on. And so it did.
As my running experiment continued, some people became motivated along with me. A couple still are; others have dropped off.
I learned in this journey that commitment is all about consistency. Most of it is not very sexy. Most days were just simply me, alone on the streets where I live, or in a gym, on a treadmill, watching the same reruns of SportsCenter and Seinfeld.
I completed my 365 day commitment on January 1, 2016 with a 5K run on the beach at Kiawah Island (just outside of Charleston, South Carolina). My family was there with me, and my wife ran a mile of the 5k with me. My wife supported me the entire time, always gave me the freedom to get it done, even if that meant more work for her.
The greatest impact of this commitment was to challenge myself to consider where else I could commit. I found reinvigorated commitment at work with my team, I found commitment at home, to be more present with my kids and wife.
This small commitment to a mile a day had dramatic impact on all the peripheral details of my entire life. It has make me keenly aware of commitment or lack thereof in myself and others.
So for 2016, I made new commitments and I challenge you do to the same, and stick with it every damn day.
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