How to run 4 miles when you really don’t want to. - Jon Acuff
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How to run 4 miles when you really don’t want to.

If I ate queso as often as I tweeted about it, I would be dead.

They’d serve it at my funeral with a fountain in one final nod to the melted cheese dream that put me in the grave, but it would be game over for me.

In order to eat queso, I have to work out.

Is that the weirdest reason ever to exercise? Surely no one in the history of mankind has told a trainer, “My motivation for hitting the gym is cheese, glorious cheese.”

Cheese

 

Traveling makes exercise difficult so I have to plan ahead. I have to pack my workout clothes. I have to pack my sneakers. I have to pre-select a time in my schedule when I can fit in some time on the hotel fitness center.

Calling two old treadmills and seven barbells in a closet does not a “fitness center” make, but hotels are creative with their words.

Three weeks ago I planned to run three miles in Houston, Texas. I got everything ready before hand and was laser focused on running three miles. A little voice inside my heads said, “Why don’t you run 4?” But like most times in my life I was quickly able to shut the positive voice up. (The negative voice in my head? I tend to hold open mic nights for that guy and listen and listen and listen.)

I ran into my friend Ryan Boon in the lobby of the hotel after I checked in. He was working at the same event I was in town for. He runs. A lot. In the course of our five minute conversation we talked about running. Here is verbatim what happened as we parted ways by the elevator:

Ryan: Are you going to run today?
Me: Yeah.
Ryan: How far?
Me: Three miles.
Ryan: Nah, four?

Then I got on the elevator.

An hour later, I ran four miles.

For days I had been planning on running three. I felt good about three. Three was my number!

So why did I run four instead?

Because community calls us to heights we cannot call ourselves.

Ryan didn’t give me a long motivational speech. He didn’t quote Abraham Lincoln or ask me to make a vision board in my hotel room using the city magazine every hotel has. He didn’t even run with me shouting positive affirmations next to me.

All he did was say two words, “Nah, four?”

And I ran the extra mile.

I ran it because he believed I could.

That was all it took.

That’s the power of community.

Sometimes it is a hurricane of support. Sometimes though, more often than not, it’s a nudge. It’s two words from a five-minute conversation.

This January I’m creating a new community online. I’m going to create a space where you can get a nudge toward a dream or call toward a finish line. It’s going to be crazy simple, but I think it’s going to be crazy effective. I fear our 2016 goals will never know what hit them.

Going it alone is stupid. We’re built to need people who will challenge and encourage us.

If you want to be the first to know about the new challenge and the new community, sign up here.

7 Comments
  • David Mike
    Posted at 06:17h, 16 November Reply

    Why do I feel the urge to sign up for something that I already signed up for? FOMO!

    • Jon Acuff
      Posted at 09:01h, 16 November Reply

      Ha! I love it!

  • S
    Posted at 06:32h, 16 November Reply

    It isn’t the quest that will you. It’s what you dit in it to eat it! .

  • Mary
    Posted at 07:09h, 17 November Reply

    So, woke up with a plan to run 3 miles after Algebra class this morning (because the sun will be shining and my knotted brain will be demanding it after 3 hours of analyzing functions). Now it appears the goal will be 4 miles. Thanks Jon!
    And since I’ve finally mustered the courage to post, is there a goal setting 101 that you recommend? Something as basic as how to choose which goals to set?

  • Guy Andrews
    Posted at 08:28h, 18 November Reply

    Jon, hi…checking in…saw 30doh on FB My partner in business said he’s been a fan for years . I’m excited about getting in to the hustle and tribe hustle as well. A little hustle story… While at UNC Summer school I had a chance to play pickup ball at Carmichael with a former Duke great and 76 Olympian Tate Armstrong. As I was jumpin around swatting at stray balls, I was impressed when Tate said, “great, hus.” I have never forgot it. Guy

  • Austin Bonds
    Posted at 18:42h, 18 November Reply

    Hey Jon –

    I’m particularly fond of this post as I am probably like your friend Ryan who likes to run a lot. As someone who works in a specialty running shop in the Atlanta area, I have met many people who run for the sake of eating “anything they want,” be it chocolate, burgers, or even queso.

    I also applaud him for nudging you to go the extra mile. This is why community is such a powerful force in races, be they on the road or the trails. Strangers become friends as they connect on a deeper level through their shared mutual love of running. They encourage each other to finish the race as well, to push through the pain and complete what they started many miles ago.

    Run five next time for me.

  • peter jeong
    Posted at 18:45h, 18 November Reply

    Another layer to look at is that you thought “4” beforehand, it was already in your mind. You conceived it. He just stirred the pot a little. He was like a spark at the right time, the spark to your piston. If he had said that after some gordo’s queso, who knows what would have happened…

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