I heard an interview on some NPR show a couple weeks ago where the interviewee, an economics professor, signed a contract with a friend stating that if he did not loose a certain amount of weight by a certain date, he would pay her $500. This worked for him and he was discussing the possibility of more people doing this. He pointed out that each person would have to figure out what amount would be motivating for them – too little and you could just say screw it, too much and the friend would either never agree to it in the first place or would refuse to collect it if you failed.
I kind of feel like my new running group is the same idea. I had been wanting to start running for a while, but was really good at finding excuses, like, I’m too tired. A friend told me about a local church group that formed to train for the St. Louis Half Marathon. I called and Mary, the coordinator, told me that the fee was $60 (this is a great fund raiser for the church, I have to say. The fee doesn’t include anything other than a training schedule that is really no different than the hundreds that are available on the internet and commitment from Mary that she would meet us on Saturday mornings for three months and run 5 to 11 miles – something she would be doing anyways as she always trains for the Half Marathon.) For some people, the $60 fee was not enough of a motivator – there are about 20 people on the email list, but only eight show up on Saturday mornings. Cheap bastard that I am, $60 is enough for me to keep at it.
So Saturday mornings we do our weekly long run and the rest of the week we have a schedule and run independently. Most people have access to a few things that make this a little easier, I’m thinking. I think this because they talk about when, where and how they run during the rest of the week – and I’m jealous. The first would be some sort of childcare other than their husband. Me, I have to run at night. Outside. In February. The other thing that most people talk about having that would make this easier is access to a treadmill. Because when it is 24 degrees and snowing with ice on the ground, about the last thing I want to do is go running in the dark. But the thought of the long run looming at the end of my week forces me out.
But the thing is, it feels great. I am so glad I paid my $60 if that is what it takes for me to keep at it.
Mary has been talking about doing another group to train for a summer 10k. I’m already writing my check…