John Schrumpf officially joined Withum 300 at the end of July with the daunting goal of hitting 300 miles in just five months. John not only achieved that quest — he shattered it. As of the end of August, John managed to complete 302 miles, split between the miles he ran in the months of July and August. In this month’s Withum 300 blog, John talks about how he went from struggling to complete a couple of miles to finishing his fourth half marathon:
In the year 1954, on a rainy morning in the city of Oxford, Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes. At the time, this feat was considered impossible by most informed observers. By 2016, thousands of runners have run a mile in under 4 minutes, and the current world record sits at 3:43.13.
While most of us runners will never be able to match Bannister’s accomplishment, there is something that we can all share with him – achieving something that you once thought was impossible.
When I first started running a little over three years ago, running one or two miles was enough to leave my legs sore for days. The thought of running a 5k filled me with dread. Running seven, eight, nine, or (gulp) TEN miles seemed downright impossible. Rather than letting that doubt deter me, I continued running and training the best that I could by taking things one step at a time, and getting better every day. Slowly but surely, I found myself checking off those milestone distances that I once thought were impossible. In fact, I’ve gone above and beyond my original goals. Earlier this month I completed my fourth half marathon.
Through my experience with running, I’ve learned three important lessons about reaching that seemingly impossible goal:
1. Interim goals are important
When I started running, I was often frustrated with how slowly I was progressing. Once I started recognizing smaller improvements as achievements I became much more enthusiastic and optimistic about reaching my ultimate goals. Setting a short term goal of running 10 miles in a week or completing a 5k is a great place to start! As you achieve these interim goals you will feel great about yourself and you will be surprised by all of the progress that you have made.
2. Embrace the running community
I’ve met people through running that I will be friends with for the rest of my life. We are constantly texting each other words of encouragement, and we run together whenever we have the chance. When I started at Withum just a few months ago, I was thrilled to learn about the Withum 300 group. Having a group of like-minded people to support you along the way is an invaluable resource.
3. Believe in yourself
This is perhaps the most important lesson I learned from running. What makes running such an incredible activity is that it is one of the purest tests of determination and strength of will. When your entire body is tired on that last lap of a run, belief in yourself is the only thing left to keep you going. Once I started trusting and believing in myself, I found that I was running longer distances and taking less days off.
Despite all the pulled muscles and sore legs, becoming a runner has been one of the greatest blessings in my life. I’ve accomplished goals in running that I once thought were impossible. I have grown so much as a person and I will carry these lessons with me through all aspects of my life. Whether your goal is to run a marathon, run 300 miles in a calendar year, or something in between, please remembers that anything is possible if you put your mind to it; Roger Bannister and I are proof.