At the very end of November, I added a goal in the app I use to track my running (and hiking, sometimes), Map My Run. It was, I felt, a modest goal of 10 miles per week of running. That would just be 5 miles on the weekend for a long run, then 2.5 on two weekdays, typically Tuesday and Thursday for me. And if I was ever short, there was Saturday to make up some miles.
I made that goal for 11 weeks in a row. And I thought the app would stop tracking the goal once I failed to meet it – or restart the number of weeks. But the goal doesn’t appear to care if I meet it or not. It keeps counting.
And, in an odd way, that encouraged me to pick it up after I dropped it. I still ran that twelfth week, just not the full 10 miles. And there has been a week or two when I didn’t run at all – but there are far more weeks that I met the 10 miles or ran some.
And that’s pretty awesome. Over the course of 20 weeks, starting in late November, when the weather in Boise gets cold (though not very snowy), I managed to run nearly 187 miles. Not the 200 that I would have gotten if I’d kept religiously to the goal, but a whole lot more miles than if I hadn’t had that goal motivating me.
There were weeks when I absolutely did not want to run on a given day. And if that day was a Saturday, and I had miles left in the week, then I pushed through that mental mire and did it anyway. One day, because I skipped Sunday and knew that the following Saturday wouldn’t be good for running, I got up early, ran 4 miles at 5 am, and then ran another 3 miles at noon.
No way I would have tried that without the goal.
Nor would I have run 4 miles during my lunch break.
I am going to pause the goal once backpacking season is here. But I will absolutely start it up again in September, because keeping myself conditioned for backpacking is just so much easier than starting fresh every spring.