I have a dream of running the Boston Marathon again, as described in a previous post. That dream is shared by many runners. To get to Boston, you will obviously need to train hard. What will drive you to get out the door consistently and complete those necessary long runs is your purpose for running Boston.
To determine your purpose in running the Boston Marathon, you need to explore the reasons it is so important to you. The Reasons represents the R in the DREAMSCycle ™. In a quiet place, away from distractions, think of the reasons you want to run the Boston Marathon. Here are a few possibilities:
- Weight control – having Boston as a goal will encourage you to train which will allow you to lose weight or stabilize your weight
- Company – you like to run with others and running a Boston Qualifier will provide lots of company
- Travel – you like to travel and you have never been to Boston
- Pleasure – you love the feeling of running, the energy it provides you, the feeling of euphoria when you complete a marathon
- Health and well-being – training to qualify for the Boston Marathon brings you physical and mental benefits that make you feel energized
- Relaxation – training for the marathon brings you a sense of peace
- Meeting new people – you like to meet new people and you can meet many on your way to qualifying for Boston
- Winning – you might aim to win or place well overall in the race or in your age category
- Fame – you would like to be famous and telling people you ran the Boston Marathon brings its own fame
- Money or fortune – you might be of a caliber that you can place high enough to earn money in Boston, or maybe you are sponsored
- Accomplishment – competing in the Boston Marathon is an accomplished that you will cherish for the rest of your life
- Build self-esteem – qualifying for the Boston Marathon increases your self-worth and sense of esteem; not everyone can qualify for Boston
- Appearance – training to qualify for the Boston Marathon will help in increasing your fitness and controlling your weigh which will help with your overall appearance
- Enjoying the outdoors – training on the roads to qualify for Boston can take you to some enchanting outdoor locations
- Prove yourself – by qualifying for Boston you can prove to yourself that you have what it takes as an accomplished runner
- Reach your potential – in attempting to qualify for Boston, you will push your limits
- Meet a partner – through training, you can join others and possibly meet a life partner
- Join a friend – a friend might already have qualified for Boston and you would like to join them
- Freedom – training for the marathon can give you a sense of freedom from everyday demands
- Sense of belonging – being part of a training group or even part of the people who qualified for Boston will increase your sense of belonging
- Recognition – you want to be recognized for all the effort you have put into your running, and qualifying for Boston is a badge of honour
Personally, here are my reasons for trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon:
- Weight control – I found that when I run more than 40 km per week, it is easier for me to control my weight.
- Travel – I have been to Boston many times (I even lived there for a few months), so it would be great to go back now, 20 years later, with my kids who have never been.
- Health and well-being – I feel more energized and alert when I train hard for a race.
- Relaxation – Training for the marathon brings me a sense of peace.
- Fame – I like when people recognize the accomplishment of having run the Boston Marathon.
- Accomplishment – I ran the Boston Marathon over 20 years ago and the sense of accomplishment was terrific; I would like to feel that sense of accomplishment again.
- Build self-esteem – I feel that much more special knowing that I qualified for Boston with its challenging standards.
- Appearance – I am slimmer when I run the necessary distances to qualify for Boston.
- Prove myself – Now that I am getting older, I again feel the need to prove to myself that I can do this.
- Join a friend – My spouse qualified for Boston last year; I would love to run Boston with her again.
- Freedom – When I train, I tend to forget the everyday demands.
- Recognition – Now that I am older, qualifying for Boston would be recognized even more than my first time around.
To determine which of the multitude of reasons are more important, the list must be pared down. To achieve this, I pare the list down to my top five reasons, then to my top two or three. From these key reasons, I attempt to create a purpose for trying to qualify for Boston. The exercise resulted in the following:
Top 5 Reasons:
- Build self-esteem
- Prove myself
- Join my spouse
Top 2 Reasons:
- Prove myself
- Join my spouse
From my top reasons, I determined that my purpose for qualifying for the Boston Marathon is to once again share the wonderful experience of running the Boston Marathon with my spouse, this time with my children as witnesses. The statement that would clearly reaffirm my purpose would be:
“I qualify for the Boston Marathon to be able to run Boston with my spouse again.”
The 5 Whys
Another exercise that can also be used to identify the core reason for trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon is to ask the 5 Whys. You start by asking “Why?” until you come up with the root reason. Five Whys is a good number, but it could be more or less.
By using the 5 Whys, here is what I come up with. In this case, it only took four Whys.
- Why do I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon? Because I would like to run the Boston Marathon again with my spouse.
- Why do I want to run it again with my spouse? Because it was such a great experience.
- Why was it such a great experience? Because we supported each other and shared a common experience.
- Why do I want to support my spouse and share a common experience? Because I love my spouse and participating in events together makes me happy.
Whatever your purpose for qualifying for the Boston Marathon, it will direct your goals and ensure you spend your resources appropriately to achieve the goals that matter to you.