Marine Corps Marathon 10k

Marine Corps Marathon 10k

Motivational Sunday

Here’s an interlude from our re-read of the The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People for the festivities around the Marine Corp Marathon 10K and a reflection on the difference between commitment and habit.

Commitment and habits can be positively interrelated. Commitment is being dedicated to a cause or activity.  Habits reflect a more or less fixed routine. The combination of commitment and habit is beneficial if the commitment is to a positive goal and habit does not become obsession. Once it is established, the combination can go into autopilot. In my world, running reflects a positive combination of commitment and habit.

Once upon a time I started running to cope with life as a road warrior.  It began as form of exercise. When you begin to confuse a french fry with a vegetable, an eye exam and exercise are necessities. That was approximately fifteen years, sixty pairs of running shoes ago and many blisters ago.  Over time the initial commitment developed into a habit and I had become a runner.  My formula:

  1. Start small and build – I began running the distance between two telephone poles then walking. Overtime time that became run two, walk one then walk three, walk one then suddenly it became 13.1 miles.
  2. Repeat again and again – Simply put, I run nearly every morning.
  3. Don’t let the day get in the way – I run first thing every day at approximately 4 AM.
  4. Rewards and feedback – The races have become my reward and feedback mechanism.  Starting a race with a few thousand of your newest and closest friends is stirring.
  5. Commit to yourself – The only person that will be able to hold you accountable is you.  Give yourself permission to hold you accountable by committing to yourself to achieve your goal.

The downside? I woke at 2:30 AM this morning in anticipation of running the 2013 Marine Corp Marathon 10K. I was keyed up. My commitment and habit has combined and become something more – passion. Even on the days when it is wet and chilly, even when the morning comes way too early. Over the years I have found that the most powerful commitments are those you make to yourself and then find a way to engage the human version of autopilot, habit.