1000 Runs – What Would You Do?

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Do you remember that abysmal Eddie Murphy movie ‘1000 Words’? (ok, to echo so many reviews, WHO thought it was a good idea to have a verbal comedian be silent?!?). Anyway, something Suz said recently made me stop and think … she said (wish I could find the full quote) that she believed her legs only have a certain amount of runs left in them before she is done.

Think about that – you only have a limited number of runs. We all know it is true, but not in the way that the movie suggests – that you will some day go to run and realize, nope .. all out of runs.

So if you had 1000 runs left in your legs, how would you spend them? Here are some thoughts:

1. Budget Them For the Long Haul

Think about it – I have been running for 25 years, and have run approximately 5-6000 times. If I want to be running for another 25 years I need to pace myself – 1000 runs divided by 25 years means an average of 40 runs per year.

Again, think about it – 40 runs per year. That is less than one a week.

And that is just for me, where 25 years puts me at 73. For some of you younger guys, 25 years still has you just around 50, with plenty of years left. Imaging running every other week so you can run for 50 more years!

2. Save them for My Kids … or Grandkids.

I have said that one thing on my bucket list is to run a race – 5k, 10k, whatever – with one of my boys.

With 1000 runs to spend, I would want to have the chance to run with them someday – or their kids if they choose to have kids (and no, we will NOT be putting that type of pressure on either of them!). But here is the thing – I would never want them to run a race FOR me, but rather choose to run a race, and do it WITH me. Make sense?

3. Run Boston – Qualify or Not

The reality is that while I might never run the Boston Marathon, it is something I would love to do. Without a fixed number of runs left, I don’t worry about qualifying – I will gladly just let it fade away and maybe run Baystate or Cape Cod or something and not worry.

But with a fixed amount of runs, I would make doing the Boston Marathon a priority. I would look at qualifying – either now or later – and also at raising charity money. The thought of being a charity runner for Boston is actually pretty motivating and uplifting in its own way.

4. Share the Love

One of my first thoughts gets back to something that came up a couple of times recently – that people find it motivating to see me out there any type of weather, day after day, no matter what. This came up from someone in their 20s, and it made me think – how could I give back?

If I only had a limited amount of runs left, I would want to share the joy of running I have with younger kids – high school, college, young professionals, and maybe even younger kids. I would want to do it NOT with ‘track types’ – though I don’t exclude them – but more with non-runners. I would love to help running change the life of someone just as it has changed my life.

5. Make Them Count

Suddenly the thought of junk miles is much more important, with only 1000 runs remaining. Suddenly the concept of a ‘run with purpose’ takes on new meaning. Group runs? Running with friends? Social running events? All of these would become something to focus more on taking part.

There are a few groups in my area, all are a bit of a drive (I know there are a couple that are local), but there always seems to be something going on in my schedule, and driving 45 minutes or more for a run on a schedule never seems to be a priority. If I only had a limited number of runs, that one run per week could be an important event, and it would suddenly be worth taking the time to make it worth while.

Bonus Use them to Transition to Something Else

Here’s the thing – as I was thinking about running once a week, a thought emerged: not running doesn’t have to mean not being active. I have thoroughly enjoyed recent bike excursions with Lisa and the boys, and I have always loved to spend time in the pool.

It is interesting to me that as I wrote this up, something that came through was that with limited runs left I would want to share my love of running – group runs, volunteering, races, and so on. It wouldn’t just be about me getting up at 4AM to do my daily run … which is why I was also thinking about what I would do for my daily exercise fix – because I know I’d want SOMETHING!

So how would YOU spend your 1000 runs?

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24 thoughts on “1000 Runs – What Would You Do?

  1. I think if I only had 1000 runs left, which is pretty sad since I just barely started, I would make sure they were fun quality runs. No more track work, no more training, no more 5AM alarms. Just running for fun. With friends or solo. I’d probably just do it once a week, and fill in the rest of the week with other activities that I’ve put on the back burner due to my training schedule. (I hear you calling me Spin Class).

  2. Thanks for making me think more about my own thoughts, lol. We had a horse who we only jumped on very rare occasion because he only had a “certain number of jumps left in him” (over a certain height), and I think that is where I got the idea, or should I say, the approach, from. Thinking in such a way has helped me to get the most out of every run, to not take any run for granted, and to be thankful for every mile that this little body of mine can give me.

    • Thanks – isn’t it funny when someone else is thinking about stuff we said and using it for a reference and then we have to re-think all those thoughts? Funny stuff! I like to think I make the miles count, but I know that the reality is I take my ability to go out and run for granted. As part of this post I plan to think about it more regularly.

  3. Wow, what a thought provoking question. I never really thought about it, which I suppose is because I respect my body and I am overall really healthy, so I don’t ever think (or hope) there won’t be a time where I cannot run (wishful thinking maybe) but if there were a cap on my running days, I think I would want to cross off some things on my running bucket list, a Relay race, some fun races, more time running with friends, etc. Since I know I would still be able to work out in this scenario, I would be okay since I really do love to x train!

    • Thanks Sara – I know I am fortunate to have a history of just running, and a body that has supported and forgiven me through the years. Who knows how long it will stay that way – but my goal is to treat my body well to extend my running for as many years as possible.

  4. I think I’d save a lot of my runs to do in new-to-me cities or countries. It’s one of my favorite ways to explore, get oriented, get a feel for the early morning life there, etc. And all the rest, I’d do with my running buddies. We’ve run together three days a week for almost a decade now, and I’d want all my local remaining runs to be with them — and also never on a hill loop.

  5. Awesome post. It actually makes me sad to think that I would only have 1000 runs. Boston would definitely be on that list. Honestly I would just want to spend every run with my husband. Doing them together and seeing new places together brings me so much happiness.

  6. What a great post! And it sounds to me like you need to get involved with coaching or some other kind of youth fitness volunteer work– why wait til you have 1000 runs left– you certainly have the passion to motivate a lot of people 🙂

  7. A dear friend of mine is doing the transition right now. She was a runner for a long time but has recently been told that she shouldn’t do it anymore because she needs a knee replacement. At first the thought of it was very devastating, but now she’s thinking of biking as an option because it doesn’t hurt her knee.

    I don’t know how many runs I have left. I definitely don’t have many marathons left. The way my body is built is just not conducive to very long distance running. So whatever I can do I’m just going to enjoy it whether it be 10Ks or halfs or whatever. And I definitely want to save some runs for Betty because it looks like she is going to want to be a big part of that as she grows up. (Fingers crossed!)

    • I know biking can also be hard on your knees, but in a different way (I know this because of Lisa and our older son). So I hope that it works well for her!

      I think runners should focus on what they enjoy – doing a marathon is great, but if it is a bad thing for your body, let it go … 🙂

  8. 1,000 runs left – hmmmm that is about 2-3, maybe 4 years at my current pace, which puts me in my 60’s and I plan to keep running into my 80’s. Well that’s some of that modern math and it means it ain’t gonna work for this old buzzard ;-).

    Personally, I would choose to keep running, just like I am now and worry about that 1,000 run down the road. Perhaps the powers that be would be impressed by my passion for running that they would allow me to just keep going. I have a feeling that I would find a way to keep running, even if it was only in my head, by re-reading and replaying all the runs that I write about on my blog 🙂

    No that choice is the grasshopper choice and has nothing to do with thinking ahead, being philanthropic or even generous…to be honest my running is something that I do for me. I love to share my love of running, but if I had 1,000 runs left, I do not want to waste them on tomorrows that might never come or give them away.

    Yes, I am being selfish and you know something is okay to be selfish about some things and this is one of mine.

    • Love this comment – and it is so true, our running is about US. I also love the charge ahead and worry late … such a ‘Harold thing’! haha

      And like you, I really want to be running into my 80s. I was just reading about Jeff Beck continuing to tour at 70, even after ZZ Top had to drop out … amazing stuff.

  9. This is really something to think about. I would definitely focus on doing other things like swimming, biking, and more yoga. Also make BQing a priority (although that is tricky because it has the potential to take up a significant number of runs, and then may not even be a success). But I would also want to spread them out and make them last as long as possible!

  10. What a thought provoking (yet sad) idea!
    I’d definitely be the “budget my runs” type. The hardest part would be figuring out how to determine what days of the month to run. When I’m sad? When I’m mad? When it’s sunny & gorgeous outside? Should I save my runs for spring & fall when the weather is the perfect temperature? Run on vacations/in new places only? So many questions!

  11. I really like the idea of budgeting your runs. Honestly you only have a certain amount of good runs and why use them all up so quickly. I’ve always thought that and to rather enjoy life and the process of running versus cramming runs as soon as possible you know? Great and thought provoking post. You always do.

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