Updated: Aug 15, 2020
Challenge yourself to 150 miles of running over 30 days
A colleague, quite casual-like, asked, ‘What challenge have you got lined up next?’ I said that I’d be running 5 miles every day for 30 days. After a moment’s pause he said, ‘What’s the point in that?’ There was an air of mockery mixed with contempt about his words. But maybe I’d just misinterpreted them. Anyway, my ego felt challenged and so in an instant I flipped from green to nihilistic to misanthropic answering with, ‘What’s the point in you bothering to take another breath? You’ve procreated; your progeny have reached that stage of maturation where they no longer need your financial and material support; now all you’re doing is wasting valuable oxygen and using up diminishing resources. You might as well do the honourable thing and jump off of a bridge!’
A conversation closer if ever there was one, I later felt, after reflecting on this verbal exchange, that my rebuttal was a touch, shall we say, tactless – maybe even offensive. But for some reason I was annoyed that he’d missed the glaringly obvious point of the challenges. Though in all honesty, I had not made this so called ‘point’ explicitly clear. In the sobering light of retrospection, I had to swallow the possibility that I may have overreacted and my colleague could be forgiven for his failing to see the purpose of the 30 Day Challenge initiative.
Sometime after our little tete-a-tete it occured to me that I myself was not fully aware of how beneficial these challenges actually can be. My colleague’s ‘What’s the point’ comment got the old cogs turning and I sat for a while in solitude deliberating over the 30 Day Challenge ethos. On emerging from the deep dark depths of deliberation I realised that the central theme of the challenge is not the primary concern. In actuality, it is the ability to maintain a change in habit for an extensive duration of time that, ultimately, is the challenge.
Allow me to elaborate. I am a fairly decent runner. Not only am I physiologically and anatomically suited to this particular exercise discipline, I very much enjoy running – for me it’s not a chore more a form of meditation. Now I’m not intentionally trying to inflate my arse with smoke here. What I’m trying to say is that, a five mile run is not so much the challenge as is – metaphorically speaking – the juggling of another ball.
When your life is over brimming with commitments, and you obsess over time utilisation, and pride of place on your bookcase stands Seneca’s On the Shortness of Life, accommodating an additional 45 minute training session into a day that is jam-packed with activities such as reading, meditating, guitar playing, a pre-existing exercise regime, writing, eating and, not forgetting, work, this then becomes a challenge in itself. One is literally forced to ‘make time’ – which can sometimes be extremely difficult to do.
Another side to these challenges is the necessity to cultivate the discipline and commitment required to see the full 30 Days through. Not the no-brainer this at first seems. If I’m honest here, there were some mornings when, on alighting from underneath warm comfortable bed covers at 5am in the dreary darkness only to be greeted with the prospect of jogging five miles in the wind and the rain, I really could quite easily have chucked the towel in. Yet, through the din of the rata-tat-tat of rain colliding with glass and the incessant wind whistling the only tune it knows, the indomitable spirit of the Challenges, cutting through it all, would whisper a word of encouragement into my incredulous ear.