So I’ve been thinking, why do some people seem to get what they want, and others don’t? Why do some seem to get all the breaks, and others don’t? I mean, is it just luck? Good genes?
Or is there something else going on. Could there be a behavioral component to success? Is it possible that some people just do certain things that make them more likely to succeed?
This might not seem related to fitness, but stay with me. One book called “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, looks at hundreds of self-made millionaires. Stanley and Danko’s study showed clearly that most of the millionaires did very specific things along the way.
They never spent more than they earned. They always saved. They kept things longer. They tended to live in the same house all their life. They drove their cars longer and usually never bought a brand new one. Instead, they’d buy one that was a year or two old.
They tended to stay married to the same partner. They were very conservative in their approach to investing, and very disciplined about putting money away. They were committed to it.
Remember, these are self-made millionaires. They started with nothing, and worked their way up. They made their money doing different things, but each had the same things in common.
Now let’s look at fitness. Have you ever seen a fat sprinter? Not for long, right? What about runners? There were thousands lined up for the St. Louis Marathon this year; all different types, but fat? None.
What’s it take to run a marathon? To make it, most people need to train 3-4 times a week. Your first running day (Tuesday) is speed work; running 400 or 800 yards at a pretty fast speed. Walk for 2 minutes, and then run another quarter or half mile. Start with 4-6 repeats and work up to 10-16 times if you’re doing 400’s. Start with 2-3 repeats and work up to 5 or 6 if you’re doing 800’s.
Your second running day (Thursday) is a tempo run; several miles at just under your race pace, keeping strict time. On Saturday or Sunday, do a long run. Start at 5-7 miles, and work up to 24 miles. Try to stay at a comfortable yet brisk pace the whole time. A lot of runners use distances like this: 7 miles, 9, 11, 13, 8, 15, 17, 10, 19, 21, 10, 23, 14, 24, 10, 8, Race Weekend.
You can also do a light recovery run, about 3-4 miles at a relaxed pace, and have a couple cross-training days where you do other things, like weight training. You also need a couple rest days.
To be successful, you need the discipline to do this for 3-4 months. Much less, and you probably won’t make it.
Another consideration is to start small and work your way up. I’ve been running about a year and a half now. At first, I had to run a little bit, and walk a little bit. Then I got up to a mile, then two, and then three. Now I rarely run less than three miles.
Unfortunately, I’m not yet on the millionaire list, but I have run two marathons now. The first time, I didn’t follow the plan, and didn’t make it running all the way. This time, I took an hour and a half off my time with no injuries, and worked out the next day!
So, to become a “Millionaire Next Door,” we need to be disciplined. Quit spending more than we earn, quit trying to impress people, and start putting a little away. A little turns into a lot, and if we’ll do a little now, we just might be worth a million bucks someday.
It’s the same thing with your health. If you’ll just get out and exercise 3-4 times a week, who knows? You might never run a marathon, but you could if you want to. And even if you never do, I bet you won’t be fat.