If you're a runner then I wonder if you're feeling like me at the moment. A bit listless and directionless - not sure of the point of running at all other than a vague notion that you should be doing it.
If you regularly run races then you'll have a sense of what I'm talking about. It's the 'Runner's blues' on a larger scale: all the effort done, the event over and the realisation you've got no reason to run anymore.
I know it's just because I'm at the end of the year, and looking back at what I've achieved over the last 12 months, I'm pretty chirpy. I finally broke the 40 minute 10k barrier, competed in my first (well, technically second) triathlon without dying and finally joined my local running club.
So that's good. But any runner will tell you that achievement is a fickle beast: on the one hand, she gives you the warm, fuzzy memory to enjoy and on the other, she makes you wonder, well... what's next?
I started to think. Could 2016 be the year I finally take on the ultra distance? Do a proper marathon? (I don't really think one on a treadmill will really count).
But those were the same goals I idly had for 2015, which doesn't feel very progressive. Then a few days late I got an email from Smashrun, the service I use to track all my running stats, letting me know there was a bevy of new badges on offer.
For those that don't know, Smashrun tracks your progress with every run by sucking in the data from your running watch / app to pore over, and gives you badges for all different kinds of achievements: running harder, longer, earlier, more regularly with ever-increasing difficulty.
Man, the new list was horrendous. Running further month on month, doing it around the world and strapping the trainers on every day to name but a few - it was a massive list.
It seemed insane - impossible, even - and I wondered if I'd ever get around to completing them all.
Then came the stupid thought. The one that usually precursors a decision that risks friendships, tests relationships, pushes the boundaries of injury and is just, well, totally dumb:
What if I could get EVERY badge in 2016, do it all in 12 months?
I looked at the list of badges left to achieve again and had another wobble. You'll see what I mean if I lay out the main highlights of what I'd have to do:
- Run every day.
- Run 10k every OTHER day
- Run in 10 countries and four corners of the globe
- Complete my first ultra marathon
- Run a marathon in under 2:55
- Do a run that packed in over 2,500 metres of ascent
- Run 300 miles in a single month
And those are just a few of the challenges. There are LOADS more* and, frankly they terrify the life out of me - even the first point above (and especially the second one) presents logistical difficulties that I don't think I could iron out.
And that's without thinking about injury, illness and a million other reasons that would mean I couldn't run a single day and ruin the whole thing. I also have no idea how I'll get to all those countries and their locations (or how I'd ever afford it).
But... but.... but. There's that little flicker that refuses to die, the thought of how amazing it would be to hit them all. How it would give me a new focus each day and teach me new things about running that would be impossible to achieve normally.
That's why I've written this column. I need your help to know if this is a stupid idea that could ruin everything and make me resent running for the rest of my life, or whether it's the very definition of what running is all about: finding an obstacle that's brilliantly stupid and just running right over it for no reason other than I just can.
You're probably wondering where technology fits into all this, as that's probably why you've come here in the first place.
The structure of this makes that part easy: I'll do a monthly group test of tech from the newest watches to apps to tech-enabled socks, where I'll wear / use four gadgets and try each out for a week, giving you the insights that you can't get with an average review.
I won't lie - the idea excites the hell out of me. And scares me too the bone - even the daily planning alone will be horrendous, and that's before I even work out the logistical nightmares present.
But... maybe. Just maybe.
*You can check out the full list here.
- Gareth Beavis is TechRadar's Running Man of Tech, testing the latest in fitness technology in a never-ending quest to run further and faster and bringing you the results in a weekly column.
- If you want to say hi, he's @superbeav on Twitter
- You can see his stumblings on Strava
- And for more data, follow him on Smashrun
- And if you want to get the full lowdown on the latest and greatest running tech, read the rest of the Running Man of Tech story here
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