Four years and Running

When I started running every day on November 24, 2017, I didn’t have a real target in place other than running for 40 consecutive days.

As I said in my very first blog post, The Day I Kept Running, the only real goal was to run every day from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day. Other than that, I didn’t have a set number of days that I wanted to reach.

As I write this, I just completed my fourth year of running every day, which means that I have run at least one mile on 1,462 consecutive days after this morning’s run.

I had no idea what kind of impact running every day would have on me as a person or as a runner.

Here are some of the most important things that running every day has taught me:

Have a Short Memory

Running every day is bound to challenge you in a lot of different ways. Some days are going to be easy and feel great. Others might be the complete opposite. The nice thing about running every day is that you have the next day to put it right.

You can definitely learn something from most of your runs. I have found that it does very little good to harp on about a bad day’s training or even to be overly excited about a great day. The best thing to do is just take what positives you can and move on to the next day.

But…

Don’t Look Too Far Ahead

While I always have a general plan laid out for the next several weeks, and might even have my race schedule set a few months in advance, I usually only plan out a week or so in advance for specific training.

This could change if you are ramping up your training for a race or event or some other big challenge. For some runners, it can help to be really structured for an entire training cycle to know what lies ahead – for instance, a 16-week marathon training plan helps you to know what’s in store and maybe allows you to mentally prepare.

Take A Break…from hard training

Taking a break or a rest day means something completely different when you are running every day. If you need a break, instead of not running at all, you take it really easy to give your body a chance to recover. For me, that usually means slowing my pace down considerably and/or running my minimum amount of one mile or maybe a little more than that.

By building in easier runs, you will allow yourself to have some active recovery time and help to re-energize yourself for the more difficult workouts that might be coming up in your training.

Be Sensible

A few times over the last four years, I have had small injuries that were more than just the normal ache or pain. Calf strain, ankle sprain, lower back pain (multiple times) – those are the ones that come immediately to mind. In each case, because it didn’t feel like anything too serious, I made sure to decrease my volume and/or intensity for as long as was necessary until I was back to feeling normal.

Yes, the argument could be made that I would have healed quicker had I not run at all. But having easier days where I was still getting my legs moving and my blood flowing seemed to help with recovery.

I definitely understand that starting or maintaining a running streak might not be appealing to some runners. There’s a lot that can be gained from consistently running, even if that’s not every single day.

I still don’t have a planned day or number of days for my running streak. I’m still just taking each day as it comes and seeing where else it takes me.

Have you ever thought about or tried to start a running streak?


More From RunPatRun:

  • Check out these other blog posts I’ve done about my running streak: Streaking Highlights, Streaking Struggles and The Day I Kept Running!
  • Coming soon: In the next couple of weeks, I will give my tips on running in the cold weather and also Part 6 of my Racing Series will be my race report on the Philadelphia Marathon from this past weekend!

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