Runner’s World Challenge Post-Mortem

Guy Running in Snow with Santa Hat

Sounds grim?  We’re coming to the end of a season and it’s time to discover the Lessons Learned.  If you’re interested, here’s the link.

The challenge:  Run at least 1 mile every day between Thanksgiving and New Years.  Combat boredom and weight creep (hello, Christmas cookies!) and keep the dream alive for racing season.

In the 40 days since Thanksgiving, I have run 111 miles; tomorrow I will run a few more.  I hope to reach 120 miles, but we’ll see.

True confessions:  I took 2 days off.  One day was just after the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings.  My heart was broken and I couldn’t put myself into it.  The other was Christmas Day.  It snowed and the roads were dicey.  It melted off by the afternoon, but I was exhausted from Christmas festivities and it simply didn’t feel right to work out on Christmas.  I wanted to keep it special.  You can blame it on my upbringing if you like.  Plus, running every day really was brutal on my body.  I did have a few days where I only ran 1 mile – that was the minimum – but most days I ran at least two.  I have to say that I didn’t really like running every day. I didn’t look forward to it as much. I had to remind myself to make it fun.  Sometimes I would do intervals (short bursts of speed), and sometimes I would run really slowly.  On days that I had kettlebells class, I ran and did the class.  That was kinda rough.  It felt like I was training for something, and yet it was only for getting up the next day to run again.  I worked my schedule so that I could run every day; I made it a priority.  I found if I did it in the morning before breakfast and I didn’t run too long, it was a better situation.  Though I ran better, performance-wise, after breakfast and  glorious coffee.

On the plus side, it did help with winter blahs and I found some sunbreaks to get out and enjoy, which I wouldn’t have attempted if I’d kept to my regular 3-day-a-week running schedule.  Also, I learned to cheer myself along every mile.  I am starting to talk to myself the way I’d talk to a good friend when they don’t want to keep going.  “Look how far you’ve already come!  You can do it.  Just do one mile and see how you feel. You got this”, etc.  While doing this – running more often but less mileage – it’s really helped my leg, somehow.  I still get locked up a bit and have a bit of pain, but not nearly what I had earlier in the year.  I guess you could say I was training for life itself.  I feel about this particular experiment the way running has changed my perspective on life:  it’s not the destination, but the journey.  Enjoy it.


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