Doing 1,000 small things to prepare for a marathon in 2013

Update #2 (7/9): Hit 900. Current estimated completion date is January 1st, 2017.

Update #1 (3/19): Hit 975. Still liking the experiment, which I wrote a bit more about here.

I promised Kellianne on her birthday last year (10.15.2012) that I would attempt to run a marathon by her 2013 birthday as a show of commitment to the long term, to pushing limits, and to continuing to surprise each other. She sort of laughed it off… I haven’t run in years… but I was serious.

I went running for the first time in two years a few days later and injured my knee. Pretty bad.

I’ve been running on a treadmill occasionally for the last 4 months and it’s almost better. I can still feel it a bit but it’s not painful.

With less than 8 months to go, I suppose that I should get on this goal if I really do plan on doing it.

Being an amateur behavior change skeptic/fanatic, I strongly believe that in order to change my behavior, I have to change my beliefs and identity to be in sync with the change before it can stick. See behavior change is belief change and the epic branch that spawned from that conversation with a few other friends in the space.

Also, #10 in my long-held “rules to live by” posted at the bottom of states that I should “stake my reputation on my best self.”

Unfortunately, I don’t quite believe myself to be a marathon-runner at the moment. I feel like I’m getting older, and am out of shape, and my running nature isn’t going to just spring back to life like it did in high school and college (where I ran track and cross country). I need to change those beliefs about myself before I can change my behavior in a sustainable way.

Which is all just a long way of saying that I think this is a perfect opportunity to dogfood my own theories about behavior change (again).

So, starting today, February 28th, I’m going to double down and commit to doing 1,000 small things over the next 4-6 months to prepare for this marathon. And I’ll be doing it publicly of course because I need the accountability in order to make my identity feel at risk (and therefore provide the needed motivation).

I’ve changed my bio on Twitter and Facebook to point to this entry. And I’m going to try to do 1000 small things that “prepare” me for this 26.2 mile run before October 15th. Preparation, at this point, amounts to simply getting back in shape, eating healthier, and of course going on more runs.

Wish me luck. 1,000 small things to go.

PS. I wonder how many steps it takes a person to run a marathon?


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