I finished my challenge, which ended up more like 50 days, but whose counting. Regardless of the way I got to the end, I still put one foot in front of the other for 40 days. This is what I took away from the challenge, which I tracked on my Facebook page.
1. Take rest days to refresh and recover. The running world has many well-documented long consecutive running streaks. I give a raised power fist ✊ to streakers who lace up every day for decades. These are truly special athletes.
Midway through the challenge I felt a bit beat-up and craved rest days. From experience I know my body needs rest at regular intervals in my training to integrate the physical changes taking place. This is similar to the importance of Savasana in yoga. So I took days off to recover at the halfway mark.
2. Be mindful of foot care.
I spent my recovery break waiting for new running shoes to arrive in the post. One big no-no I did was start the challenge in old shoes, or shoes with close to 400 miles on them.
Those shoes were nearly past their prime and I knew it, but I ran in them anyway. I paid for my buyer procrastination with rough running and sore feet.
As a result, I had to revisit foot care rituals after running in beat-up shoes. My remedy was to whip up a DIY Citrus Sugar Scrub, which I massaged into my feet during foot soaks after longer runs. This routine kept my sore feet soft, supple and blister-free. 3. Mix the cardio with other modalities like strength or Barre.
Frankly, running every day as my cardio workout is boring. I don't want an easier option but a change in how I propel my body forward, such as performing HIIT or Power Yoga as my cardio for the day.
One of my favorite fitness regimens is to mash up running with circuits. At first I avoided this and ran only, but I missed it and went back to these hybrid workouts during the challenge.
These workouts come in all varieties. I run first, then perform a circuit of some sort, then run again and repeat the cycle 3 to 4 times. Click here for an example of one of these cardio and circuit mashups.
4. Walk instead of run sometimes. Boy did I miss powerwalking and run-walks as cardio. I work from home, so I don't get to log daily miles walking like most people do in an office environment. During the challenge, I longed to just walk my mile.
One of my first running coaches told me walking and running are the same because you put one foot in front of the other. My body responds well to powerwalks and run-walks on easy days. If I need to, I can make the workouts challenging, especially using the incline settings on a treadmill.
5. Challenge yourself each run. As I said, I got bored several days into consecutive running and needed to do specialty runs. During the challenge, I found myself on Pinterest searching for different run workouts. The boredom spurred me to add new running games and interval runs to my repertoire.
I'm glad this challenge was so long because I revisited speedwork in a big way on my treadmill and tried harder interval runs. By the end of the challenge, I was including sprints in almost all my runs. On the road, I played running games and performed drills. As a result, I got faster and more agile.
Overall Takeaway There were days when I just didn't want to run, but I laced up anyway and was glad I did afterward. I forgot the power of running on our bodies and minds. Running really does make me feel good.
But my body also needs rest and recovery to integrate the metabolic and physiological changes from the cardio. I run better after a break.
I need a goal to work toward in my running. Running the same routes and the same way bores me. I need to mix things up with other modalities and perform running games and drills. My body and mind both like this.
Will I do another consecutive day challenge? Yes, but probably not as long as this one. I lasted about 20 days in running streak mode, but I found my body needed regular rest days in order for me to reap the benefits of all that cardio.
And there are only so many pictures you can take of yourself running. I finally stopped posting images on Facebook and stuck with a short narrative of my daily run. 😀