1000 Runs – What Would You Do?


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?