I am almost through the first month of my running streak, and proud to say I haven't missed a day! I did spend a week walking only, and one day I called it quits after a mile since it was dark and rainy, and I hadn't dressed for wet weather. But I have hit the road or the treadmill every day for 29 consecutive days! I've learned a few things from this experience, like:
It is possible to go out and get a couple miles in at 8 pm even though it's pitch black; Headlamps are a good thing!
It is possible to go out and get a couple miles in even when it's raining; Gore-Tex is a good thing!
Running every day is not such a great idea*
Running every day is a great idea**
*I've decided that running every day is not such a great idea for a low-mid mileage runner such as myself, who has been running for about 18 months. I just don't have the physical resiliency to get out there on the road every day, and still be able to do the quality training runs 3 or 4 days a week. When I'm just going out to meet my daily 2-mile quota, I'm tempted to go fast because a) it's a short run and b) I can get home and back to the couch sooner. So I go fast, and then I don't have enough in my legs for my *real* speed or hill workout the next day. I'm running every single day, so I'm not refreshed and ready to head out for a 8-12 mile long run on Saturday. My longest runs since the inception of the running streak have been 5.4 miles, and I haven't felt so great at the end of those. Also? See the walk week I mentioned above. I got a minor overuse injury, with additional soreness in the back of my right knee that I didn't experience while half marathon training this summer. I'm not toughened up enough to go without recovery days, and squeezing these runs in meant I didn't warm up properly, or stretch and cool down properly. My other workouts have suffered a bit from this streak as well. I'm sure there are days that I could have benefitted more from 20 minutes of kettlebells than 20 minutes of running.
**I've decided running every day is a good idea as a mental/learning exercise, if it's done at a time when it won't interfere with training with a specific goal in mind. It's good to get in the mindset of doing something every single day, and carving out time to complete what is scheduled, no matter how hectic work and home life becomes, and learning that we won't melt or turn to dust by going out and running in the rain or wind, and that walking up and down the airport terminal can be a viable exercise option in a pinch.
Yesterday was my first day back to running after taking it easy with walking for a week since the back of my knee has been sore, and it was feeling like an overuse injury. A few days of stretching and foam rolling and generous helpings of Tiger Balm helped, and though it was still sore, I said heck with it and went out for an easy run yesterday. It was 4.4 miles of brrr and blah, which brings me to insulation and the Plod Monster.
It turns out that, being 20+ pounds lighter than I was at this time last year, I need to wear more layers! It was about 40 and damp, and I thought I was going out overdressed, but ended up coming home chilled. Last night I ran down to TJ Maxx and bought a New Balance jacket to layer over my warmer running shirts. A good thing, but kind of a surprise to me!
The Plod Monster. I've mentioned reading The Art of Running Faster, which I finished the other night. Several times the author admonishes "whatever you do, don't plod!" I kept this in mind yesterday, since it was one of those runs where my legs felt like they were filled with cement, and I just wanted to slog along at a snail's pace. Instead, when I was warmed up, but found myself plodding, I just walked until my legs felt a little more refreshed, and ran several 100-200 meter intervals at somewhere around my 5K pace, then walked until I felt I could do another one. I was surprised that my legs actually felt better by the time I got home, and today, on the treadmill I knocked out 2 miles in 16 minutes without even blinking, so I am sticking with this No Plodding mantra!
So those are my random thoughts for the week. Hope everyone is sparking along and gearing up for a great weekend. Here in Idaho we are praying for snow!