I ran for fifty days in a row from the beginning of January to mid-February. Rain or shine (and occasionally snow), I sleepily layered long johns and gloves and sneakers and sometimes Yak Traks. All except two days, I harnessed up my dog and he joined me. Sometimes just one mile, and I think no more than four miles at a time - low mileage, high consistency. Sometimes we felt like Fenton looks here:
The last day of my run streak happened to land on another momentous day, when I gave notice I was leaving my job, and so the accomplishment was somewhat overshadowed by celebrating a different kind of achievement. Despite the concurrence, I still feel proud about my running and wanted to take the time to reflect on it.
The main benefit was the overall consistency and small wins. I've found that the surest way to cement a goal as a habit is to simply do it every day. Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete, also one of the creators of #writeandrun31, uses the same roadmap of daily action of habit building, but I can also attest to it because of personal experience. I started off every single day having already accomplished something, which spilled over into other pursuits too. Running helped built consistency and excitement for other areas. My work performance has been really solid, I've been writing, productive with making plans for moving, and deeply investing in yoga. How did running do that? Mostly by starting the day off on the right foot (literally).
The downside was that I wasn't pushing myself at a certain point. I felt thankful every morning to get up early and be outside with the dog, but I didn't increase distance or speed very much because I didn't have an end goal. When I found myself feeling a bit bored, I knew I had to take a step back and reevaluate how I wanted to keep running.
Overall, my run streak was exactly what I needed to get going again and build consistency after my post-half marathon hiatus from running. Now, will I do it again? Yes! Just a bit differently this time.
I knew I wanted to vary my exercise to break monotony, but also to prevent injury. To have a goal to work up to, which would motivate longer distance and faster speed.
Today is the beginning of another thirty-one day month and so another session of #writeandrun31 is starting today. Head on over and join in the fun if you're interested. It has a group of wonderfully supportive and badass people cheering each other on and writing/running cool things.
As for me, I'm starting up #writeandrun31 again today as well, but I'm shifting my daily goals compared to January. In January, I ran a minimum of one mile per day and wrote a minimum of 100 words daily. Now, my writing minimum is at least 250 words per day and I get to alternate running with yoga and strength training days. I'm training for my second 10K in May, so I've drawn up my color-coded spreadsheet for training and just plan on exercising - either running or yoga or strength training - every day. There's still some tweaking I'd like to do with my training plan, but overall I'm excited to have a running goal to work toward again.