Throughout our lives there are transitional moments, starting or ending things like high school or marriages, celebrating awards and achievements. In running it’s no different – we had to start running, and depending on whether we race or not there will be a variety of memorable moments along the way. Running milestones are worth celebrating – let’s talk about why!
As a preface, right now I am in the midst of several personal milestones, including:
– Mid-February marked 26 years of running for me!
– Early March marked 7 years since I started at Corning, which also means 7 years since moving to a new location and starting to deal with my rapidly crashing thyroid.
– Early April marks 3 years since I started ‘serious’ running … and since then I have averaged 6 running days and more than 55 miles per week.
– Also in April I will mark another birthday – 49 and in the best shape of my life.
1. Milestones Remind You Where You Have Been – someone at work was showing a picture from 2011 of a project team, and it is interesting me to look at where I was then: more than 110 pounds heavier and struggling to restart my running or other workout habits. Since starting running was part of my major weight loss 26 years ago, for many years that running and weight loss stood as a reminder of where I was.
2. Milestones Help You Recommit to Your Goals – the reality of any sport is that you will often find yourself wondering about your goals – what you signed up for and why?!? Why are you doing a 20 mile weekend run? Why are you pushing your pace when it is below zero outside? Why are you even out of bed when it is so cold? Setting goals helps you focus your efforts, and having past milestones reminds you that you CAN do it … which makes doing it again that much easier!
3. Milestones Allow You to Appreciate Your Achievements – this past December I had an amazing PR at the 5K distance, but before running I was worried, because I hadn’t done a 5K in 2.5 years, so what if my pace hadn’t improved enough? It turned out well, and allowed me great pride at the improvements I had made. Also, coming up to 26 years of running is an incredible milestone – sure they weren’t all great years, but every year I got out there and did something. And in all of those years I have achievements that make me proud of what I have done.
4. Milestones Help You Through the Rough Times – we are just now clawing our way out of the coldest winter ever recorded, where the average *high* temperature between December 21st to March 20th was 11ºF – more than 6 degrees colder than the last record winter! That is cold enough that some of my treadmill friends don’t even want to trek to the gym! Two years ago I did a long running streak – 65 days straight with an average of 7.5 miles per day … in the middle of winter! That helps me remember what I CAN do, which helps keep me motivated to get out there!
5. Milestones Are a Common Touch Point Between Runners – I find that I can talk to pretty much any runner about winter running, about getting started, about a certain race, hills, ice, or whatever and find some common ground. Sometimes it is incredibly motivating to hear about how someone else approached a struggle or their milestones, and sometimes YOUR past helps to fuel someone else – a couple of years ago a young woman who had run track through high school and college and then stopped for several years got back into it after hearing me talk about it with others nearly every day and credited me with the motivational push due to my passion.
So how do YOU use milestones in your life? What milestones are you hitting now?