My First 12 Month Running Journey Explained

If you have read previous blog posts from me before, you would know that this blog started out as how a normal, everyday guy could make some major changes in his life just by getting up every day and completing mini goals.

If you have also read previous posts, you would know that I never started this to garner much attention. I am not an aspiring writer or someone trying to get noticed by the fitness industry. Just using this as an outlet so other real world, everyday people who may be struggling with fitness could come to read and see that they are not alone in this world.

That being said I have come a pretty far way since my original posts. Clearly I am no world class athlete, but at the same time I am down to sub 8 minute miles, running 5K’s regularly and competing in some pretty serious runs (half marathons, triathlons, etc.). So while I may not be in the elite status by any means, I am also getting away from just being a “casual runner”, and it is something that consumes my life.

At the same time I know this blog does not have loyal followers. I do not check my stats on my WordPress Dashboard, but from the brief interaction I have with people who comment, I can tell people aren’t patiently waiting with bated breath for my next post. And that is OK, again that wasn’t what this was meant for.

So having said all that, someone could stumble upon my blog, see the “Average Joe” title, read some of my posts and think “this guy doesn’t seem so average, he appears to have dedicated himself to running, I do not have time for that”.

So I am writing this post to recap where I came from and how I got to where I am to show that I am just the average guy who stuck to a bunch of mini plans and over time made a transformation.

I guess the best way to do it is a timetable of events.

June 2013: Ran my first mile in forever. Finished at a pace of 11:30. It was so difficult and I thought I would die.

Mid June ’13: Decided I would run a 5K in 3 weeks. Picked up this plan, and got at it.

Late June ’13: Completed the 5K! Decided immediately after that I would keep at it!

July ’13: Told myself I would run a Half Marathon, with little to no running experience. Picked this plan and went at it. 2 and a half months to train for a Half Marathon, eek!

September ’13: Completed my first Half Marathon! It was hard and grueling, but I stuck to my plan and kept at it, and I was successful.

Remainder of 2013: Decided the only way to keep up my running was continuing to schedule myself for races. I knew if I didn’t have anything to shoot for that I would stop doing it. So I schedule 1 5K for every month of the year.

Start of 2014: Continue my 5K once a month plan. Even in the bitter winter months I went out there and ran. See for yourself:

Yes that is a snow covered sidewalk. My running trail in February

Yes that is a snow covered sidewalk. My running trail in February

March ’14: Decided that I would complete a triathlon. I knew I needed something to test me physically at the next level. So I signed up for the Philly TriRock Triathlon in June of 2014 and began this 13 week training plan. Continued the 5K once per month and even sprinkled in a 15K, 10 Miler and Half Marathon to really push myself during training over those 4 months.

June ’14: Completed my first triathlon! It was such a great event and for sure wont be my last. It really pushed my limits.

 

That is how I got to where I am at today in one year. It seems difficult when you look at it from a birds eye view, but when you break it down like that it really is easy to get where I am today. Not easy in a physical sense, but it didn’t take a magic potion or miracle. Just hard work. Looking back there really were 3 pivotal moments that got me to where I am today:

  1. Not giving up after the first 5K. I could have easily finished the first 5K and decided to stop. But I did not.
  2. Setting monthly goals. For me it is easy to stop this whole running thing. If I do not have anything to shoot for I will just stop. But each month I registered for a race. By doing that it made me be active. Whether it was a 5K, 15K or Half Marathon I just gave myself small goals to shoot for to keep myself active.
  3. Looking at my training plans from a daily perspective and not monthly. If I handed you a 13 week training plan you may look at it and feel overwhelmed. But you don’t have to. You want to look at it as a bunch of little daily goals that will lead you to a major goal. If it is Monday, don’t think about what you have to do from Wednesday to Friday, just focus on what needs to get done today. If you look at it that way, the next thing you know you blink and you are crossing the finish line.

 

There is no secret formula to accomplishing your goals. Just have patience and stick to the plan you set out for yourself. My transformation is not complete, nor will it really ever be. I recently read somewhere that you do not want to ever feel complete when you are working towards a goal. Because completion means you are finished. And until the day I die, or physically am restricted to stop running, I do not know if I will ever stop.

Ultimately all I can say is do not get hung up with things like results, or wanting to be ahead of where you are at. In the past when I tried to stick to a fitness plan I would always give up because I felt I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. The problem was I was focusing on the wrong things. That is why this time around I am more successful because I am not focused on what I perceive are successful results. Instead I am just moving forward accomplishing what I want. I always give this advice to anyone who judges themselves against others: “run your race, not theirs”.

Focus on what you are accomplishing, not what you aren’t.

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