By Jon Lawrence
At the end of last year during the global pandemic and yet another lockdown I was finding it hard to stay motivated. I have always been someone who sets themselves goals and targets and plans against them. It is one of the key reasons why, when I first started running, I realised I needed to enter events, as that meant I had a goal and a target to train for, and a reason for getting out there every day, even if I did not feel like it.
For the past 12 years my routine for the year was always to kickstart it in January, February and March with marathon training building up to a spring marathon in April, and after that I would switch my focus to Autumn events and training for them. 2020 was obviously different with the events I had signed up for being cancelled and postponed to later in 2021 (fingers crossed) so I needed something to focus on.
To my relief, I then saw an email from Ben about the #findyour401 challenge that was planned to be held from the 4th of January through to the end of the month. It encouraged you to do something 401 related everyday and that could be whatever you wanted it to be as well. I was straight in for that, as I could give myself a challenge and a focus and I thought it needed to be something that challenged me, so I decided I would do 401 Sit-ups every day!!
I got myself a sit-up bench, set it up in my garage and setup a fund-raising page and was now truly motivated and happy as I had something to help kick start my year, and a daily and monthly. My aim was to raise £401, and I started the challenge on 1st January to prove I could do the sit-ups and then combined this with at least 4.01 miles of running daily. I had seen a few posts and words of encouragement from the group and then out of the blue, one day at the end of a run I posted a video saying how much I was enjoying the challenge and hoping that everyone else was too. Shaun replied and said I should do a daily video, which I took as an extra challenge, and so sure enough I started a daily video talking about the challenge what we were up to and how it was progressing.
The videos became part of that daily routine and over the course of the month we introduced the idea of TFI Friday and treating ourselves to crunchie’s.
The #findyour401 challenge was proving to be so popular and a real support network was growing and so the decision was made to keep the challenge going until 1st April. I had to think of new challenges other than sit-ups, so decided on doing 4mins and 1 second of continuous planking and ended up combining that with also doing my daily videos and pushing the TFI theme as the photo shows!!
Over the course of February and March, the planking continued and actually ended up on the 1st April with me doing 7 minutes of continuous planking whilst doing a live stream. I also kept up with the sit-ups and running and of course the videos, and I have to say it gave me a real focus and energy and something positive to focus on, as well as raising over £700 for the foundation.
As a group we came up with names for each day of the week, Motivation Monday, Tenacious team Tuesday, Well-being Wednesday, Fridays Friday (Thursday), TFI Friday, Super strong Saturday and Super Sunday!!
The challenge made me realise what an amazing group of people we have that are involved in the 401 foundation and group, and that surrounding myself with like-minded and inspirational people makes a big difference to my own physical and mental well-being and I am so pleased I am part of the group. Whilst I haven’t met many of the group in person, I do feel like I know a lot of the group and have made some new friends as part of this.
This year I have got fitter and stronger with the challenge as I am incorporating many core activities into my routine on top of running. The challenge not only motivated me, but it also made me realise I want to play a bigger and more active part in the 401 foundation and community, and I want to help make a real difference with this group. I was delighted to be asked to be an administrator for the 401 group and as part of that I am helping to think of ways to keep the group live and active and maintaining the support network for each other. We have a lot of great things to focus on in the coming year as we build up to Ben’s USA challenge which will be amazing, and I can’t wait to see what the 401 group can do around this to help and support.
What has been done so far by Ben and the 401 foundation has been truly amazing and we have all got involved because of the type of person Ben is.
I want to be part of the next chapter and play a big part in seeing where this takes us.
As ever everyone, you know “You’ve got this”.