2016-08-03

Seven Days In A Row

Today, after a four-mile run at a pretty easy 7:11 per mile pace, I successfully logged my seventh consecutive day of running. After carefully reviewing every GPS-logged run I've been on since the year 2012, I realize that running for seven days in a row is something I haven't done in more than four years.

So this post is a little victory lap for me. It's not too difficult to run for seven consecutive days, but it's also not something that tends to happen all the time. In fact, the typical training regimen includes six days of running and a day of rest. I haven't even done that for many years. This is starting to look like a bigger accomplishment than I originally thought.

The tool I'm using to aggregate all this running data across the various GPS platforms I've used over the years - Nike+, Garmin, Samsung S Health and Microsoft Health - is a fabulous free website product called Smashrun. (Find it at the aptly named Smashrun.com.) The idea is simple: you give Smashrun your login information for any GPS running app you happen to use, then Smashrun logs in on your behalf, downloads the GPS file, uploads it into its own system, and then spits out a variety of statistics and gamification.

Smashrun isn't just cool (it's really cool), it also seems to reflect a big slice of the Stationary Waves all-encompassing philosophy. No, really. I mean it. Check out this excerpt from the "About" section of Smashrun's website:
The idea, at its conception was a simple one — that motivation and context are intrinsically linked. When you understand not just how an action fits into your goals, but how it fits into your history, then you understand purpose. And doing anything with purpose is a heck of a lot easier than doing it without purpose. So, if that's true, then the key to motivation might just be a matter of framing.
I mean, uh... I had nothing to do with the creation of Smashrun, but by golly, that sounds like something I might have written myself. It goes on:
Often it's not about the game, so much as it's about the sense of accomplishment. The cynical (or perhaps just honest) way to look at a lot of games is as virtual skinner boxes. By rewarding a repeated behavior, you condition pleasure response to that behavior, and in doing so, develop a drive. 
Now, what if instead of rewarding behavior, which has absolutely no real world benefit whatsoever, you set up the game to reward truly beneficial behavior. Let's say, for example something which might help, you to live longer, feel better, look better, even have a better sex life, not to mention improve your facility to get away from any real world zombies should they ever materialize?
If these guys (and gals) aren't Ryan, they sure are doing their best Ryan-impersonation!

Therefore, it should surprise no one that I have found Smashrun addictive as an online activity/tool, and also highly motivational. Strange as it might be to admit it, the whole reason I've run seven consecutive days is because I desperately want to earn Smashrun's "10 for 10" badge, which I can earn if I run for ten days in a row. I might not get it, but who cares? I haven't done this much running in literal years.

And that makes me feel great - not just for the sense of accomplishment, but also just physically great. My blood sugar has been low or normal, my body feels like it's ready for action constantly, my hormones are adapting. I phyiscally feel like a runner again. It's been a long time.