When I wrote last week about motivation and exercise, I neglected one fantastic way to get yourself off the couch: working out for a cause or in honor of someone else. At the end of the day, whether you're doing the 10-week workout routine or training for a big event, you've got to put in the shoe leather yourself. But having someone or something else that keeps you going when your own willpower is fading is both useful and, in some cases, charitable.
In the simplest case, you can think of your family, friends, or other people you care about. (In the June issue of Runner ' s World, Kristin Armstrong writes about how she's dedicated prayers to different people for every mile of a marathon.) If you want to make it official, there are a ton of charity programs that allow you to compete in big, hard-to-get-into events as long as you raise a certain amount of money. Matthew Reeve, son of the actor Christopher Reeve, is starting his training for the New York Marathon in November; the 29-year-old will run to raise money for spinal cord injury research through the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation's Team Reeve. You can follow his training progress on his blog. I caught up with him for a chat about his efforts.
How long have you been a runner?
Never, until about two weeks ago! At the end of April I started doing little test runs to see how much trouble I was in. I'm trying to get into a routine and get my technique down. I've been doing core work . . . and strength training. The Team Reeve training program commences June 1.
Are you intimidated?
If you do the training, you can do the [physical part]. But the mental aspect is a whole new ballgame. Pushing myself to do 4 or 5 miles is hard enough work, so those long runs will be tough. But you have to remember why you're doing it. And I'll be training with a group.
Where did you get the idea to run?
Team Reeve has been around [since 2005]. But I realized it was an opportunity for me to raise money directly. I was up to the physical challenge.
What's your goal?
Running a marathon has never been a life goal. I used to see the end of it at Columbus Circle when I was younger, and people looked awful! But it's a financial goal. Right now, my goal is $10,000. But my uncle ran in 2007 and raised $26,000, so I'd like to beat that. Maybe $26,200 [$1,000 per mile]. Or even $262,000, though that would be hard. But you never know with an online movement. . . .