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Small Incremental Change

My first run was only for two minutes, and only at four miles per hour. Afterwards I was completely winded.

Albert Einstein is often quoted as saying, “The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.

And to back that up, I think we've all heard the stories of a single dollar invested decades ago being worth thousands today.

But it's not just investments and interest where small incremental change can have huge results.

In manufacturing it's referred to as “Kaizen,” a Japanese word most often described as meaning the continuous effort to make small improvements daily, which over time yields big results.

Personally, I believe a consistent willful effort to change for the better will indeed lead to better things in almost any endeavor.

Take my example for instance

After having spent a year focusing on walking ten thousand steps a day, and having lost ten pounds in the process, I was ready to do more.

And having then recently moved from an emergency inhaler to a “twice a day” treatment for controling my asthma, I discovered my inflamed lungs were no longer the limiting factor.

So the day after my forty forth birthday I decided to add a short run to my daily walking routine, and slowly increase the amount I ran each day until I was running a full 5K.

For the first run I decided to only run as long as I could without feeling I was hurting myself. And as mentioned above, that was for a whopping 2 minutes at 4mph.

Why 4mph? Well, I found on the internet that 4mph was considered the slowest running / jogging speed, with anything below that considered walking.

While it was a meager start, I resolved to increase the time every day by one minute until I was able to run a 5K straight without walking.

It wasn't easy, but keeping the clock in front of me and only increasing the length of my run slightly each day made it bearable.

And after forty five more days had past, I finally ran my first complete treadmill 5K in around forty seven minutes.

During that time my wife had signed us both up for an Independence Day 5K road race that our daughters were also running in.

So with that race a couple of months away, I decided to continue running but now instead of increasing my time each day, I would slowly increase my speed in .1 mph increments.

July 4th 2013Those small incremental changes added together over time so that by race day I was running near 6mph, and had lost nearly another 30 pounds.

I not only completed my first 5K road race, but I also beat three of my four children, only bested by my Marine son.

After the race all six of us posed for a picture, and that's the one I've included in today's blog – one of my happiest memories of this decade.

And that's it for run blog number 11, and as you can likely guess…

Today’s score is: Shawn 1, Couch 0

Written by Shawn Tierney, a Fat Man who Runs in hopes of becoming less fat!

NOTE: If you want to join in and share your own experiences, or just cheer me on, please feel free to use the comment form below. Or if you would like to guest post on, contact me via my Facebook Page HERE.

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