Everyone loves a new year’s resolution. Hardly anyone ever sticks to them. Runners’ resolutions are usually to do with starting running; running more often; training harder; committing to a new routine; faster racing times; longer runs or “better” performances. But those new year promises frequently end up forgotten after a few weeks, and even the hardiest and most motivated of runners can struggle in the winter with the dark nights, cold, wet runs, and pounding the streets solo.
Three years ago, my friend Tom Williams and I were chatting about how to find ways to motivate ourselves, and each other, towards our spring running targets. We were both looking to a marathon but had different aspirations. We wanted to set ourselves a personal challenge despite having different running histories and experiences. We wanted to run in our own time and on our own terms, we wanted to be accountable, and we wanted a level playing field on which we could compare ourselves with others. We wanted to strive towards our own personal aspirations at our own pace and also to connect with each other despite living at opposite ends of the country. We wanted to be “rivals” but also part of a team.
Jantastic came about to help us and the running communities we shared stick to personal goals for running in the spring. Previously, I’d been involved in some post-doctoral work at Loughborough University that looked at the environments in which teachers learn best and how this can be translated into effective practice in the classroom. One of the key findings was that effective learning took place in collaborative, supportive, sustained, informal, connected and engaging environments. Tom and I decided to put some of this thinking together with some of our experiences in running, coaching, exercise, health and fitnessinstruction, and so Jantastic was born.
It’s a simple personal running challenge designed to keep people motivated to achieve their personal goals. It’s suitable for runners of all abilities, aspirations and fitness levels and is free to participate in. It’s about engagement in the participant’s own time, on their terms. There is no need to be anywhere at a certain time, run a particular distance, jump over flaming logs, climb electric fences or swim through ice cold pools of muddy water. Participants sign up as individuals or as part of a team, set their personal running goals and targets, share those and invite friends to join them.
We all know that better health, fitness and performance takes time, commitment, consistency and motivation. There’s no quick fix for this and Jantastic rewards effort. It works across three four-week blocks. Each four-week block is about setting a personal running goal. As Jantastic progresses through January, February and March so does the level of your challenge.
The four-week blocks
1. 6 January-2 February are all about consistency. Set a target number of runs per week that you are going to commit to.
2. 3 February- 2 March: Set a personal target for the number of runs each week and also the distance of a weekly longest run.
3. 3 March-30 March: Set a personal target for the number of runs you’ll do each week, the distance of each week’s longest run, and also your predicted time for flat-out effort over a race, park run or even one of your favourite training routes.
From today, participants can log their runs through the website, compare progress with other runners in their area, age group, and with the same goals – and share their achievements and see their personal progress towards their running aspiration. It’s not about miles, distance or pressure, but about individual motivation and consistency during January, February and March. It’s about the process of setting goals and sticking to them for long enough to make a real difference to health, fitness, performance or life.
In 2014 Jantastic received support from England Athletics to develop the digital challenge platform. So far, over 16,000 people have signed up to give their running mojo a boost this spring. Why not join them?
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