I hacked myself to run 2017 kilometres this year — RunWise

I love running — the way it challenges me and the places it takes me when I participate in races. But don’t get me wrong — many times I find it hard to keep running. This is because I have serious issues with consistency in my training.

As you can see from this graph, I manage to get some decent distance for a few months, but then I have downtime and don’t do much running. That downtime then kills much of the progress I made over the previous period.

The problem

There are plenty of reasons why downtime happens — busy times at work, a heavy travel schedule, being sick, and a bunch of other things that turn my focus away from running.

I’ve noticed that my problem isn’t so much maintaining a regular training rhythm, because I can do that when I’m in my usual running regimen. The hard part is getting back into that rhythm after downtime — for whatever reason.

So I’ve got to figure out how to hack that problem. Here’s what I need:

  • A reminder — something that prevents me from forgetting about training — a constant ‘kick in da butt’ solution
  • A mission — a long-term goal to aim for, like a big reward or an exciting race
  • Checkpoints — something that shows whether I’m on track, like small but frequent rewards
  • To have fun — something that turns my boring routine on its head and spices it up

A reminder

All running apps offer statistics or training plans, but these are usually hidden inside the app. If my main problem is that I “forget” to start running again, I’m pretty sure I’ll also forget to open these running apps — basically the story of my running life.

I decided to go old school and used a pen and paper to make a chart that I hung on my wall. It’s a simple bar chart where I can record my runs and quickly and easily see my progress. But more importantly, it’s constantly in my field of vision to remind me to keep going.

Download your free RunWise template here.

A mission

Last year I ran about 1200 km but had massive gaps in my training. That number could go much higher if I’m consistent.

I’ve decided that I’m going to run a symbolic 2017 kilometres in the year 2017. That’s roughly 168 km each month, or 40 km each week, so I would need to run “4 x 10 km” or “2 x 10 km + 20 km” in a week to be successful.

It’s definitely doable, but I need to be way more consistent in my training than I have been so far.

Checkpoints

I did away with all those fancy training plans that force you into a strict regimen, deciding instead to focus on simply running 40 km per week.

This allows me to decide when to run and what type of running to do, but it still pressures me to meet my target of 40 km by the end of the week.

Have fun

Running can become routine and kill your motivation if you don’t mix it up and keep it interesting. The flexibility in my new plan allows me to spice things up.

Whenever possible, I’ll get a running partner, run on a variety of terrains and tracks, mix in some different workouts (push-ups/pull-ups/abs in the middle of the run), listen to podcasts on longer runs, and find an interesting race to take part in.

The idea is to take it easy and not stress too much about what I’m doing but to instead focus more on simply doing.

Fast-forward four months and my progress so far…

Pinning this schedule on my wall has been super helpful. The last four months have been my best ever. I have run:

  • 822.03 kilometres in total (~150 km ahead of my goal)
  • 48.3 kilometres per week (206 km per month, or 6.9 km per day)

Weekly overview

Compared to my previous years

In fact, I’ve been so happy with the results that I decided to share this method with anyone who’s struggling to maintain a good running schedule over a long period.

Let me introduce you to RunWise.

Download your free RunWise template here.

RunWise

RunWise is a simple run tracker and ‘kick in the butt’ tool. You don’t need a fancy phone or GPS tracking, and it’s incredibly efficient at helping you maintain a consistent running schedule.

How to use it

  1. Print it out and hang it on your wall. Make sure you put it where you will see it every day.
  2. Pick a weekly DISTANCE you want to run. Make yourself accountable by writing that on your plan.
  3. After every run, note your completed distance on the plan.
  4. At the end of the week, write down your total weekly distance.
  5. When you’re falling behind in your running schedule, it will be there to kick you in da butt just by being visible, or it will reward you when you are exceeding your plan.
  6. Don’t forget to have fun!
Download your free RunWise template here.