Monday, November 3, 2014

30-Day Running Challenge

Running is my primary form of exercise, but it can get a little boring from time to time. I didn't have time to train for the upcoming Richmond Half-Marathon, which I've run twice before, but with colder weather setting in, I need something to keep me going with my fitness plan.

So as I debated this dilemma this past Saturday, November 1, it occurred to me that I could shoot to run every day this month. It actually works out pretty nicely on the calendar - we have 10 weekend days in November, and I'll have four additional days off from work due to various holidays. I work from home a couple days a week, which makes it easy to squeeze in a lunchtime run on those days. So that will leave me with only 9 days that I will be in the office this month, which will be the trickiest days to navigate.  

I've done this once before, back in 2008, when I ran every day in January. I logged about 90 miles that month, by far the most I've ever run in a month. I averaged about 2.7 miles per day. I experienced some knee pain down the stretch, but that seemed to resolve itself before the month was out. In reviewing my running diary that I kept, I see that I started to come down with a cold, around January 20, but that, too, seemed to go away on its own without affecting my streak. 

There are three big differences between this attempt (now three days in) and my 2008 challenge.

1. Last time, I did all of my running on a treadmill. We don't have a treadmill anymore. I'll be curious to see how my body responds to running outside without a break. 

2. Thanks to completing P90X in 2010, I've lost a fair amount of weight since 2008, weight that I've mostly managed to keep off. I'm hoping this will make things a little easier on me. 

3. I'm almost seven years older than I was in January 2008. That blows my mind a little. But I'm a much stronger runner than I was then, so I'm hopeful that the age difference won't have any impact. 

I'm now three days into November, and so far, so good. I've averaged about 3.3 miles per day (and plan to go a little shorter on those days I'm in the office). Since I will get no recovery days, keeping my legs fresh will be extremely important. To that end, I've dialed back my pace - I normally run an 8:45 to 9-minute mile. This month, I'm planning to run much slower, around 9:15 to 9:30/mile, even slower if I need to.

I'd like to break 100 miles for the month, but that might be a shade out of reach. Because of Thanksgiving, I'll be off work from November 26-30, so I'll see how far away I am from the century mark with five days to go (assuming I make it that far). 

Running every day without a break is a popular activity in certain running circles, and having done this challenge once, I can see why. According to most of what I've read, you need to log at least one mile for the streak to stay alive - so that will be my measure as well.


OK, so that's my challenge. 

Any long running streaks out there? 

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