I will run 2,017 kilometers in 2017

running1The title says it. I’m announcing to the world that I will run 2,017 kilometers by the end of 2017. There’s no getting out of it now without looking like a fool. I’ll hate myself for 364 days, but by December 31, 2017, I will think differently. I hope.

Running is my main means of exercise. I don’t hate running, but I don’t love it, either.  It’s boring, because most of the time I have to run on a treadmill. My family doctor told me that running outside is easier because something happens to your brain when you run outside. You sort of hypnotize yourself. That does NOT happen to me on the treadmill.

So, because I can’t enter a brain-numbed state of blissful detachment, I need something to distract me from running. I need something to help me forget that I’m annoying my body. Sometimes reading works, but it depends on the subject matter. Zombie apocalypse novels are good, because the scary parts provide a nice dash of adrenaline. I liked this one, for example. But there are only so many zombie apocalypse novels that are worth reading.

I also bought an Amazon Kindle Fire tablet so I could watch movies and TV shows while I run. This one only cost me $40 when it was on sale last year, it was ridiculously cheap.  That helps. The Quizlet app is another good distraction.

Now I can add another aspect to my exercise routine. I have set a goal for myself. I will run 2,017 kilometers in 2017.

The goal can also be broken down into sub-units. If my yearly goal is 2,017, then my monthly goal is 168. My weekly goal is 38.79. And so on. If I run for more than 39 km in a week, that’s great. That will mean that I have banked up some progress toward my goal, so I could take a break in some future week.

The concept of “gamification” is really intriguing. The idea is to add a level of competition, score-keeping and goal-setting to a task. You have to somehow quantify what you’re doing so you can keep track. In this case, it’s straightforward. I have a specific goal (2,017 km) that is countable in units. The more I run, the more units I accumulate, and the closer I get to reaching my goal.

This will also be a motivator to help me get to the gym. The psychology of gamification is that you “earn” some sort of “points” by doing the task. The points aren’t really real outside of the game, but the idea of accumulating points is motivating. The same principle applies to video games. The points that you earn by playing video games aren’t really worth anything, but they still have some value to the players.

So that’s my goal for 2017. I will run 2,017 kilometers by the end of the year.

What’s your goal? What can you do 2,017 of in 2017? Join the 2017 challenge.

Because I’m a nerd who likes to make web apps, I’m going to make a leaderboard web app where I will chart my progress. You can track your progress there as well. I’ll post a link as soon as it’s done.


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