Dec 2, 2022

On Running

One of the goals that I’m currently working on, is to able to run half-marathon (21 km) in one go by 31 Dec 2022 (5 weeks to go from writing).

I started this journey early October (on 7th October) with 3.78 km, and after nearly two months I’m at 14.11 km right now. On average, the improvement is about (14.11 - 3.78) / 8 = 1.3 km/week, which seems like I’m going to just hit my goal (with only 5 weeks left, if my improvement is consistent I’ll be at 14.11 + (1.3 * 5) = 20.61km).

Running has always been my go-to exercise since my university time (if I exercise) because of the following reasons:

  1. it is relatively cheap (in terms of money and time). There is no court rental to pay, no expensive equipment to buy, no coordination to decide a time where everyone can join.
  2. it is convenient. Running track is available in almost everywhere, and when if there is no running track, it’s usually fine to run on the road in residential area.
  3. it has very long lifespan. Compared to other sports, running athlete don’t peak at 20-30. It’s uncommon for running athlete with age about 40-50. So I know if I’m getting good at it I can enjoy it for a long time.

However, I’ve never been setting goal to improve my mileage before this.

What changes?

The main reason is that I’ve moved to Sydney, which introduces the following factors:

  1. Sydney is a highly walkable city (pedestrian walkway is virtually on every single road) and thus it is much more pleasant to run. Instead of running in circle in a park’s running track and keep track of how much I’ve run (which are both boring and mentally taxing), now I can run over a bigger area and use the location as anchor as how much I’ve run.
  2. I’m getting more conscious of my health. I know the medical fee here would be much more expensive, so I want to make myself healthier in general.
  3. I’ve almost no social life here, so I’m setting a goal so there is something I’m looking forward to other than coding.

One technique that I learnt during this journey is that it’s easier to keep yourself motivated by focusing what’s in front of you than focusing on the end goal.

When you just covered 1km, keep thinking that you still need to run for 9km to reach 10km usually will take away your energy.

Instead, if you just focus on completing the next km, it feels much more doable. You just need to continue focusing your next km for 9 times, then you’ll reach 10km.

It sounds ridiculous when I say it out loud, but don’t you think human psychology is ridiculous sometimes?

Of course this technique doesn’t just apply to running, you can apply it to many endeavours in our life. But this is not a LinkedIn post, so I’ll leave that to you.

Thanks for reading!

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