It’s Sunday the 19th April and lockdown is in full effect. I’m out early in the morning for a 5K run. All I can think about are the early and awful images of NHS staff with face burns from wearing masks and PPE for long shifts. I shed a few tears and think to myself I need to do something to help, I need to raise some money. And so my 100-day challenge was born. Alternate days of 5K run, 20K cycle raising money for The Matt Kendall Foundation and The NHS. So what did I learn during those 100 days? They actually turned out to be 120, as I carried on until the Just Giving Page closed!
1. Fit and Trim
After 120 days of running and cycling, I’m a firm believer that most of us can lose weight and get fit by completing 30-60 minutes of ‘out of breath’ exercise every day. At the start of my challenge, I weighed in around 12 stone 4 pounds and currently, I’m exactly 11 stone. It was an interesting journey, initially putting on a little weight as my body reacted to being more active and then gradually losing weight. I didn’t change my diet, but I was conscious of what I ate and actually I ended up eating more as my body needed the fuel. So no excuses people if you want to get fit and lose weight then daily exercise should be part of the routine!
For me, announcing such a challenge on social media added the pressure of not finishing. I was aware that I could have looked silly to the world but I’d set myself this challenge for two great causes. This drove me to then run 5K or cycle 20K every day and it was consistency that got me to the end. It was consistency that raised over £2K and it was consistency that helped me lose weight and get fit. One month on I’m still running every morning because consistency builds results. Whatever you want to achieve and receive, you need to be consistent.
3. Set achievable goals
One of my IT reseller friends also had an admirable idea of raising money for a great cause during lockdown. But he aimed his daily target too high by trying to complete a marathon distant walking on his treadmill every day for five days. What may feel achievable because it’s indoors and seems straight-forward may not be. If it’s over 24 hours then it actually needs training to get the body conditioned. I know this well from my previous charity endeavours of walking 200 miles and cycling 500 miles. Unfortunately after completing one day my friend realised he couldn’t carry on. Four months was a long time for my challenge but 5K running and 20K cycling were very doable. So set your goals and make them achievable, otherwise, you might just fall at the first hurdle.
4. The Power of Social Media
Captain Tom Moore inspired my challenge. He walked 100 laps around his garden raising an astounding £32 million for the NHS. Every day after completing my 5K run or 20K cycle, I would update my online communities using Facebook and Twitter. And every day I would tag Sir Toms Twitter handle into these updates. I was lucky enough on two occasions to receive a personal message from Captain Tom Moore congratulating me. One message received over 200 likes, 18 retweets and a number of donations from those following Captain Tom. During my 120 days, I found social media to be a fantastic tool for promoting my challenge and helping me to raise over £2K for The Matt Kendall Foundation and NHS. So don’t be shy, jump into the world of social media and you might be surprised just who promotes you!
5. Connecting with Nature is good for the soul
Lockdown was a very difficult period for the majority of the world’s population. Living in the leafy village of Harbury in Warwickshire, I had it easy compared to others. My 120 challenge gave me the opportunity to get out every day connecting with my local area and wildlife. Every day I enjoyed staring competitions with local deer, chasing green woodpeckers down lanes and watching lambs turn into adult sheep. Busy working lives can make us forget those parts of life that fill our souls with the simple joys. So why not stop staring at your phone and computer screen and get out to enjoy what’s really important in life.
Not being one to shy away from a challenge I’m aiming to complete a triathlon in 2021 to raise money for The Matt Kendall Foundation yet again. A challenge that I’m sure will teach me a thing or two so lookout for the next blog piece on that one! 🙂