Yesterday I ran my 30th day in a row and completed my first 30-day challenge. I received a lot of support during this past month, which was great and I was surprised to hear from a few people who thought I already ran every day. (The truth is I’ve never run more than 4 days a week since I started training for my first marathon back in 2000. When I started training for Team in Training their plans called for 4 days of running and if it was good enough for TNT, it was good enough for me!)
One of the main reasons I chose to run for 30 days straight is that I was in a running funk. I had recently run the Big Sur International Marathon and while I enjoyed the race and thought I had prepared well for it, I hadn’t. My midweek runs were shorter than they should have been and my long runs were long but I should have added another 3 or 4 of them.
In short, I was disappointed in myself because I knew better but just couldn’t motivate to do better. I guess I could have just signed up for another marathon to redeem myself, but thought I needed something to push me out of my comfort zone and see what it felt like to run more than I ever had.
The rules of my challenge were simple – run 30 days straight with each run being at least 2 miles. I also added a second component to the challenge, making sure that 3 of my weekly runs were 5-6 miles long.
So I ran. I ran when I didn’t feel like it. I ran after boot camp when my legs felt like lead. I ran through 2 vacations, even resorting to the dreaded treadmill back East and through the campgrounds like a nutter. I ran after a bit of overindulgence at a wedding. I ran on 3 hours sleep and I ran through a nasty cold. I ran slow on days when I was tired and I ran fast when I felt good.
Surprisingly I felt good for most of the challenge. The last three days I had some hamstring problems but overall my legs feel strong and I think they look stronger. Without changing my diet I’ve shed some body fat and am a bit leaner. More importantly, the more I ran, the more I enjoyed running.
It has not been all lollipops and unicorns, however. Days 23-27 were particularly difficult and I think I now understand what it feels like to “over train”. I also made some tactical errors with my challenge.
Running 30 days straight was a tall order already but adding my second goal of the 3 longer runs each week was an extra challenge! I also should have stretched more and definitely should have drunk a lot more water. But, you don’t always realize your mistakes until later so when I go for another 30 days next time, I’ll make some corrections and see what happens.
So here are some fun facts on my 30 day challenge.
- 111.75 total miles run
- 25.98 miles on average per week
- 3.725 miles on average per day
I’m sure there are many more accomplished runners out there who think my stats are nothing impressive. I mean, there are high school track teams that run 40 miles a week in the off season! But for me, this challenge forced me out the door and did not allow for excuses. Sure I could have used the trip to Washington DC or our camping trip as an excuse to skip a run but I’ll let you in on a secret: even on vacation, there is a 20 minute window where anyone can squeeze in a workout.
So thanks for all of you that sent notes of encouragement during my challenge. I’m taking the day off today (and let me tell you that as easy as it sounds, I am itching to go for a run but I will practice restraint) and will resume running tomorrow. I am going to continue to run 5 days a week for the next month, using those 2 days each week to rest and recharge.
I think that’s a smart move and we’ll see how that goes.
Now go run!