Yesterday I went for a run. It’s something I do quite a lot. I normally run at least one 10k and one 5k a week and often, more. I’ve run a couple of marathons, the last one back in 2016. The longest run I’ve done in the last year was 11 miles, a month or so back. Yesterday I ran 18. Why?
My motivation is to help a buddy who has just got back from rowing the Atlantic to run a marathon within a month of returning (Chris has his own blog here). He wanted to see what he was capable of. I have sad news for you. You will never reach 100% of what you are capable. That isn’t because you’re a failure or you didn’t try hard enough but because 100% or perfection just isn’t possible. Perfect is past tense. The only perfect things are dead things. However, there’s good news, you can be a better version of yourself. The Japanese call it Kaizen, the practice of being a little bit better in whatever you do each day. By making incremental improvements we can be the best version of ourselves – but not perfect.
My legs ache. I’m tired. I’m thirsty. I’m grateful. I’m grateful that with no additional training I put my trainers on and ran 18 miles yesterday. My aching legs remind me that at least I have legs capable of running and that I should stretch more. I’m tired but got to sleep in a warm, comfortable bed last night and tomorrow I won’t be tired. My thirst reminds me that I need to drink more but also that I’m fortunate enough to be able to turn on the tap and get clean drinking water whenever I want it.
What’s your Kaizen thing? What can you do a little bit better than last time? “Surprise your doubts with action” – Danielle La Porte. When you’ve run 5k, run another one. Make your signature dish taste a bit better by spending a bit more time on it. Read to the end of the chapter not just the end of the page. Check social media later not now when you have friends or family with you. Pick something today that you can do just a little bit better. You’ll be surprised what you can do. It doesn’t have to be huge, remember life is a marathon not a sprint. Good luck out there.