On January 2nd I wrote in my journal "Run 1 mile every day. More is ok, but always 1 mile."
I hadn't given much thought to that fact that it was January and the days were short and cold. I figured I could do one mile. I had heard an interview with James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, a few days before. He suggested picking something small, like one push up, every day. Through my work at Spartan and the Spartan Up podcast I've come to think of ultras as no big deal. A mile seemed so small. But I started.
For 44 days, usually in the dark and usually in the snow, I ran one mile every day. I never looked forward to it, but I was always glad I had done it. I made it public - told my family and friends. But on day 45 I mixed up time zones coming back from a conference in LA and missed a day. So I started again at one.
I made it through another 25 day streak then one night sat up in the middle of the night and realized I had completely forgotten to run. Today is day 61 of my third streak.
Here's what I've learned:
1. I've heard it takes 30 days to create a habit. I disagree. It's been over 150 days (minus the two I missed) and it's still not a solid habit.
2. That moment of decision - "should I run today or take a day off?" - that is where the greatest challenge lies. Knowing that I will run every day, removes that hurdle.
3. In COVID times I've had the most consistent and predictable schedule I have had in years! Probably ever. I miss unpredictable, but the sameness has made me start look forward to my daily runs.
4. It's about more than running. I'm starting to think of myself as someone who runs every day and that starts driving me to keep doing running, but also to take on new challenges.
5. It's a bare minimum that I always know I've accomplished when my head hits the pillow. That's good.
Ultimately I think of it as practice keeping my word to myself.
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