Lessons from the storm - Freedom Works UK Lessons from the storm - Freedom Works UK
Ken giving the 'thumbs up'!On 6th June 2020, on my 56th birthday, less than a year after I started running to get fit and take control over the type 2 diabetes which I acquired 3 years before, I created the Run 365 Challenge to run the equivalent of 8 kilometres a day in 365 days and raise £3650 to help the Hunger Project to do its work in ending hunger.

I asked many experienced, young and better runners to join me but none were forthcoming, only Mark Quinlan from Dublin agreed to join me.

At the time of taking on this challenge I remember having a conversation with my friend Dave Rindle what it would be like if I could manage it and I was in doubt and I saw this quote by Haruki Murakami which really inspired me to commit first without knowing everything and go on despite a lot of fear, uncertainty and trepidation.

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Haruki Murakami

I wasn’t the fastest runner at the age of 56 but I discovered that I am an endurance runner and in the course of my running I crated many records for myself.

Before I even began my challenge, I ran 30 x 8ks in 30 days to see if I could do it. Then after my 1st 8k I ran further 35 consecutive days (running 35 more 8Ks) in a row making it 65 8Ks in a row.

From August to November, I ran 3 x 40k runs and 1 x 32k run, this was how I took time off. If I ran a 40K that is 4 days off of running.

And when I had a knee injury because of running on worn-out shoes in October 2020, I ran 5 x 16Ks to catchup on the missing but just before I completed the end of May to early June 2021 I also ran 6 x 16Ks in a row.

Again in between December and February I injured my knee again and had to stop for 5 days when we froze and snow was covering everything, so, again to catchup, I ran 23 x 10Ks and had a break because of heavy rain one day and then again, another 31 x 10Ks in a row.

Also, I’ve run 3 x 20Ks once and 3 x 24Ks in a row twice, again, as I had to rest my weary bones some times.

My fastest kilometre was in 5.09 minutes and slowest 10.30 minutes!

These were the records but I also learnt many lessons along the way so, a week before the end of my challenge I decided to put together this blog to really hi light 8 key lessons I learned from this storm.

The 1st lesson of the storm: It’s the shoes not you.

That is absolutely true, in running what matters most is the shoes. If you wear the right, comfortable and cushiony shoes you will be able to run injury free.

You can find the best pair by going to a running specialist shop and trying them out for your style of running and your weight.

If you had to break in a pair of shoes they are not for you. You shoes should fit well, not too tightly and feel really comfortable straight from the start. And they do wear off, you know this when your knees hurt. If you ran in the correct pair of shoes your knees shouldn’t hurt, they may get soar but not hurt when you put your weight on them. But actually, you shouldn’t put your weight on your knees anyway.

That is the 2nd lesson from the storm.

LESSON 2: It’s the technique stupid.

Running has a specific biometric technique, one for fast sprinting and another for slow long endurance running.

Your power in running should come from your shoulders and the motion begins from your hips. If you move or learnt to move from your hips, you will find the rest of the foot lands perfectly. Also have your knees bent when you land your feet on the ground. That is really essential for saving your knees from injuring.

Also, the correct running style in general will help you to feel way more comfortable and painless even when you’re running fast.

Lesson 3: You can 100% do it when you don’t feel 100%.

Rely on your shoes and your technique. Like some days, I felt like a sloth on a motorway, but I still did it and still enjoyed it. The correct shoes and the correct running styles will help you to enjoy your run and even run with injuries or little pains and niggles which you will get will disappear and you will be able to enjoy your run.

Generally, my rule was if I can run for 5 minutes and a pain is still there, then I shouldn’t run.

Lesson 4: Don’t compare yourself to others

They might run faster than you but they can’t and won’t be able to do what you’re doing ie Run 8K a day for 365 days!

If you fail, you’ll remember it every day. If you succeed, you’ll go whoopee for a bit and forget it all soon as you take on your next challenge but something rom this one will be still with you. Like a skill or an experience or some wisdom that will nurture you in the years to come.

Lesson 5: Its 100% you 0% anyone else

2nd June 2021. Ah! What a day to run. 5th consecutive 16th K equalling previous best, tomorrows will make it 6th in a row.

Most people are useless f**kwits (just look at the state of the planet if you don’t think so.) A few people will help you and some will go a long way to do so, but its 100% your responsibility to deliver on your promise.

Lesson 6: Be present to the moment

Everything’s soar, 6th 16K in a row, a record for me but I’m spent, so glad only 2 days to do. But be present, mindful and focussed on the road just ahead with loose ankles!

Be present to now – other runners, cyclists, your own body and mind.

Focus on the road just ahead – poo, pee, spit, vomit, other unidentifiable liquids, broken glass and assorted rubbish. Don’t look too far or get distracted. You begin to develop a 6th sense when you learn to be present to the moment.

Loose ankles – for divets and bumps on the road, loose paving stones and broken tarmac and gravel.

Also be present to the wonder of it all.

Lesson 7: Be your own Buddha!

Yee haa. Almost there! (5th June 2021)

https://strava.app.link/ufr8Cm4bOgbStop listening to the intellectual masturbation of running tips and other well intended I examined advice. Find your own wisdom.

Eg there is absolutely no need to do pre running stretching! If you have the wrong shoes or the wrong running technique you will get injured! I warmup on the run instead, like today, my joints were tired, I had a sharp pain on my right knee. At the 3rd attempt I managed to correct it by adjusting my running technique! And ran the 9K i set out to do.

What’s really important is the after run care, cold shower and hot shower followed by deep heat on joints and muscles and the diet rich in protein and calcium.

Lesson 8: It doesn’t mean anything.

Ok you just done it but who cares really, and even if they did what does that matter? The only thing that matters is the difference the money makes.

That one little girl in India that you and I don’t know don’t get to marry at 12 and raise a family or that another little girl in Uganda stops having her genitals mutilated or a mother in Mexico gets to start a business and get her family educated or a low cast woman in India gets to become a politician by getting herself elected to the local council and starts shifting the priorities happened.

They do happen anyway but this will help a little but it still doesn’t matter or mean anything.
Only thing that matters is the commitment to do something for someone just because you did and that it actually helped someone in some tangible way.

To end with

If you are taking on accomplishing an impossible task, these 8 lessons from my storm will really help you to come out of the storm a different person, or come out at all as most people getting into storms don’t come out at all.

And if you think these 8 lessons are just about running then you have no sense of irony. They apply equally well to anything challenging of even impossible you may want to take on.

My next 2 impossible outcomes or challenges are

  1. to develop my coaching business in the direction of more community work
  2. to run 365k non-stop

Same 8 principles above will support me to find a way to make these happen because once you come out of the storm you are never going to be stopped by any other storm that come your way.