I’m a little over half way through Runner’s World magazine’s “holiday run streak”. It’s a deal where you run at least one mile every day from Thanksgiving day until New Year’s Day, a total of 39 days/miles. Check out my progress here or see other people’s by searching for #rwrunstreak on your favorite social media. It’s been fun and I’ve been able to find a few interesting places to run that I hadn’t before. More interesting, though, are a couple of things that I’ve discovered through running every day.
First, I’ve found out that I have a lot more time for running than I thought I did. I’ve always had a hard time getting in more than two runs in a week. Since I started running more regularly, I’ve planned on running 3-4 times per week, but usually end up somewhere around 1-3 times. So far in this streak, I’ve run 27 straight days. Of course, several of those runs were only a mile, so it’s not like they they took hours out of my day. But, it really isn’t too hard to squeeze in 15 minutes to knock out a mile. All in – changing clothes, finding my shoes, etc. – 30 minutes max. If I can’t find 30 minutes in a day to invest in my health, I need to rearrange my priorities. And, once I’m out, it’s really easy to extend that to 1.5, 3, 5 or whatever miles.
One thing that I’m liking about running every day is getting much more in tune with my body and what I need to do for recovery. When I run 3 times per week, there will always be a day or two of recovery between runs, whether I need it or not. That doesn’t really require me to think about what I need to do for recovery, it just happens. But, running every day is causing me to actually think about it. I have to notice that little pain in my foot or that drop in my overall energy level. I can’t just live with it knowing that it will probably disappear by my next run a couple days later. I’ve had a few days now where I ran a long-ish run of 5 or so miles surrounded by shorter 2-4 mile runs. After those, I could feel that I needed to back off some and did a couple of one mile days. After those, I was ready to get back up to my regular runs.
And it was interesting to me that I could recover while running. I’ve read about active recovery, but was always skeptical that it could actually be better than just kicking back on the couch and doing nothing. Or, doing something completely different, like cycling. But, it’s true. I seem to feel more ready for my regular runs after a couple of days of easy one milers than I do after a couple of days of no exercise.
I don’t think I’ll continue the streak after the first of the year, but I think I’ve learned a little about listening to my body and incorporating some active recovery in my routine. Hopefully this can lead to me running more while remaining injury free. And, I know that this girl would love to get out more often on those short runs!