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12 January 2016

I ran every day in December!

So yeah, I ran every day for the month of December, and I'm quite proud of that fact... Yes, yes even Christmas day and Boxing day too!
In my October and November monthly round up posts I recalled having only managed 2 runs per month and I was pretty fed up and frustrated with this, so decided to do something drastic!
I am interested in the idea of habits, more importantly changing habits recently and I watched this TED talk.  I was also inspired by all the vloggers and bloggers who did Vlogmas, the idea of doing something for 30 days or a long series of days and it suddenly popped into my head that I could run every day in December.
I had grand ideas of completing 5k runs each day and feeling so super energised and fit and being SO good at running by the end .. lol! It didn't quite turn out like that but there were certainly benefits.
During an ordinary week I battle with myself so much about getting my runs in.  I always start off the week really motivated and plan time in my diary to get in at least 3 runs... but then life gets in the way, you have a horrid day at work, you get no sleep, you simply just want to get home and dive into the duvet or work your way through a family sized bag of maltesers... don't even get me started on the weather! But some how all that went out the window in December and I just got on with it, no excuses!
So I didn't quite manage to do 5k (just over 3 miles) every day and probably averaged around 2 miles per run. Some days I only managed 1 mile.  But I think the main point was that I stuck to it, I kicked myself out the door despite the weather, despite being busy, being tired.. I just go on with it. It really does prove most of the time the excuses are just that.  
Yes I've blurred out my times, because sorry I'm not competing with anyone! I don't focus on speed I focus on mileage currently and I'm not the fastest runner. Plus, by the time I've got my app on, then my music, strapped the thing to me arm and got out the door an extra 5 mins are added to my time anyway, so it's not accurate! lol!
I like this image above though, taken from my Nike app, as it shows an average snapshot, some good runs there but also some short ones. I love how you pick a little emoticon to describe the run too, and it shows the weather.  But look at that, 65 miles I ran in December! Pleased with that one! 
So what did I learn from running every day in December?
  • Your legs will get tired! duh! So much for averaging 5k each run, boo! I started off strongly but then just couldn't get past the tired legs. I got quite frustrated with this, as I felt fit enough and my lungs were telling me I could continue but oh my legs were just screaming! I dropped down to 1 mile on the days when my legs were super tired, so I was still getting the runs in but without risking injury.
  • It is possible to run in the rain! We had some pretty interesting weather in December (you may have seen Cumbria developed a few more rivers and lakes than normal last month! eek!). Despite the weather I still ran every day, it is possible. I learnt that actually it is one of life's simple pleasures running in pouring rain, truly! I was mostly concerned for my iPhone, can't run without my music, but I developed a pretty good waterproof system for it.
  • Running before everyone wakes up makes you feel like a winner! My favourite time of day to run is in the mornings early before work, this means being out the door by 6am. There is nobody about, no cars so no long waits at roads, no dogs to trip over and no distraction. It feels like the whole city belongs to you. The best thing is that all day smug feeling that you got out there early and got in some big exercise whilst all the other lazy people were sleeping. Win!
  • It's easy to motivate yourself when you have committed to a goal! I enjoy setting myself goals and challenges and I think this always works quite well for me. I am not a competitive person at all, so the idea of competing against someone else, having to run faster, further is going to have the opposite effect but competing against myself is fine. I didn't want to make a big deal about my challenge so didn't massively shout about it (you know in case I failed miserably! haha) But I decided to tweet my runs most days so I felt a little bit accountable to myself and this worked.
  • Invest in lots of running kit! I had to buy quite a bit more kit to complete my challenge as I was literally washing running stuff every day and running out. I felt like I spent the whole month sweaty and stinking! haha. If you are going to work out regularly it is good to get a good stock of gear in, I love Sports Direct for running kit, you can get a good breathable t shirt for a fiver! And I buy men's T-shirts so they fit baggy rather than skin tight.
  • Sleep is good! I generally sleep quite well, but even when I don't get my usual 7 hours I tend to think I will be fine and still be able to function, how wrong was I! If I had a less than perfect night sleep my runs were awful. Sleep is probably the most important factor if you are going to run regularly.
  • The right fuel is essential for running! Yeah so December is not generally known as a healthy month for most. I was feeling super smug with all my exercise but I was still managing to stuff myself with chocolate and all the other festive treats... but running on a full belly or having binged on chocolate all day does not feel nice. Me and sugar have an interesting relationship, I tend to get a bit hyper if I eat lots and I really feel that in my runs, my heart beats faster and I can't cope.  It is important to think about my what I eat during the day if I am going to eat that evening or the morning after.

So to conclude then I really enjoyed my month and I am proud of myself for completing it, but will I be keeping it up and running daily from now on? erm, no!

I do not believe that running every day is that great for you. My runs since I stopped daily runs have been far better, faster, further and I feel a lot better and fitter for having breaks in between. You really do need breaks to help your muscles and joints recover.

It has taught me to not make excuses though, running is possible any time of day and in any weather and I just need to kick myself out there more. I am aiming for 3 good runs (of no less than 5k each) per week now.

Have you ever tried a 30 day challenge? Are you a runner, how often works best for you?

4 comments:

  1. I'm so impressed that you did this, I'm aiming for one run a week in January so going to use you as my motivation to keep going, February it will be up to 2...gotta get to that 10k somehow :)

    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment. I'm sure you will do it, I hated running when I first started its hard to imagine a time when you will learnt to enjoy to, but you will get there. :-)

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