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"We are not problems waiting to be solved, but potential waiting to unfold.”

Frederic Laloux

Possibility Reminders

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Why oh why?

Having just finished Simon Sinek's excellent book "Start with Why", I spent some time reflecting on what my own why might be.

One of the phrases I came up with for my why was to help create more personal energy and communication, so that people feel more positive about their lives, themselves and others.

Putting it like that makes so much sense not only about why I love running, but even more how I love helping others to run, with the fabulous Sarah's Runners and also working as a pacer in last Sunday's excellent Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon.

What is the why that drives you to live the life you live?



When I ventured out this morning I was planning my minimum daily mile-and-a-bit as it was very icy and it was snowing again. Once I got going, keeping as much as possible to the thicker snow where it was less likely to be icy, I decided to push on to my 2-mile route and then again to my 5K.

As I was running up a snow covered private road, a lady outside her house with her dog said "Dedicated!" as I ran by. My immediate response was "Oh yes, every day".

Just a little further up the road, I realised that my dedication is only really there for a split second each day and that's the moment I start to get ready to go out for my run.

It takes energy to get anything moving from a stationary position, but as soon as that object starts moving, something called momentum takes over.

Once moving, it takes more energy to stop something than it does to keep going. (Not sure if this always applies to running up hills?!)

What I should have said to the lady who said "Dedicated!" is, "Actually I'm having fun. For me this is playing. It would be harder not to do it."

I was toasty warm with the woolly hat, gloves and layers I had on, and it was by far my most fun run so far in 2013.

It only takes a split second of dedication every day to create movement in an area of your life where you're currently not moving.

What area of your life could that be, and which is the second you're going to choose to start the ball rolling today?


That's 3 years

I'm sitting at my laptop writing this with a bag of frozen peas on my right knee as the pain in my knee, mainly when I run uphill, which started 15 days ago, is still niggling.

However on a much brighter note, in spite of my right knee, the mile-and-a-bit I ran earlier this morning means that I have now completed running at least a mile each day for three full years.

Another milestone.

I was thinking on my run this morning that I was 54 when I started this mile each day experiment, which was the age my dad was when he died. What I hadn't realised was that I was also within a month of the exact age he was when it happened.

So why am I still continuing this experiment?

If I'm honest I don't really know.

I do know that it starts my day in a positive way and makes me feel better about myself. It gets my heart working, my blood pumping and it make me feel really alive

And I guess that's reason enough.

So tomorrow will hopefully bring the first day of my 4th year of running a mile each day.

Let's just see where this experiment takes me.


Always done it this way

This morning, on my 1,057th run of a mile or more each day, I did something different.

I ran without recording my distance, my time or my pace.

When I started today I had an app on my iPhone where I had recorded every single run I've done since I started this jolly experiment on 1st January 2010.

Over coffee this morning I deleted that app and every single piece of data I had recorded.

It all started after I wrote my blog post on the chatting zone two weeks ago.

In that post, one of the things I said was "sometimes just cast off the shackles of measuring anything, go out there and run free".

Now although I have done that before and have always found it liberating and exciting, I realised that I had never actually done it since starting my "running streak" almost 3 years ago.

It didn't seem quite right to promote something that I don't do myself, at least at the moment.

So I asked myself the question, "why do I have to record every session?"

I thought about it, and realised that when I started running every day it helped keep me motivated and focussed. It was a useful support structure.

But when I thought some more I realised that it actually serves no purpose at all any more. It's become one of those habits that I do because "I've always done it this way".

Once I realised this, I decided that I'm not going to record my runs any more.

I may measure distance if I'm running a brand new route and want to ensure it's at least a mile.

I also have a training plan to get me up to the ideal mileage in preparation for being a pacer at the 2013 Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon. So I'll measure my distances for those runs but I won't record them.

I was really surprised at how free I felt when I deleted my running log from my iPhone.

What habits do you have that you do because you've always done it this way?

What freedom might you find if you stopped those habits?


The chatting zone

I was running with the fantastic Sarah's Runners yesterday morning and tried to start a conversation with a fellow runner who apologised that they weren't very good at holding a conversation whilst running.

I explained that for aerobic fitness, being able to hold a conversation whilst running is an excellent test that you're in the correct (aerobic, or perhaps I should call it the chatting) zone.

If you're unable to hold a conversation while running then you're probably pushing into the anaerobic zone, something you should only really be doing if you're racing, doing speedwork, interval or hill sessions.

The majority of you're running should ideally be in the chatting zone.

In my experience, your aerobic capacity and your natural pace will increase quicker by staying in your chatting zone than if you're constantly pushing yourself past it.

My running colleague, who I have to admit was now not doing too badly at holding a conversation, then admitted that they found that the human voice from the running app on their smartphone who kept giving them updates on their pace, made them feel that they'd better push a bit harder because they weren't running as fast as they were last time.

Now most of us do pretty well with our own internal critics telling us we're not doing well enough without the added critique of being scolded by our mobile phones.

My advice is to put a gag on your mobile phone, or just mute it for simplicity's sake, when you're running.

If you want to measure your distance, pace and time that's OK, but wait until you've finished.

Even better, sometimes just cast off the shackles of measuring anything, go out there and run free and if you happen to be with someone else why not have a damn good chat.

You might enjoy it even more.