Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Running Every Single Day
Here is a riddle for you: I run every single day, 7 days a week, and yet I have a full day of rest from running each week.
Ever since January 1 of this year, my goal has been to run at least 1 mile every single day. Most days I run more than that, but even on my worst day, I still run 1 non-stop mile. So far I am 69 days in and haven't missed a day!
Running everyday is the greatest thing that has ever happened to my running and has taken my training to a whole new level. In the past I had always tried running 3 days a week (every other day) in order to allow my body to rest between workouts. The problem for me was that it was hard to maintain a habit of doing something only 3 days a week. I am not very good at following rigid training schedules, and I am a very busy person, so I would plan on running 3 times a week, and before I knew it, I had gone 7-8 days without running. Where did the time go?! By running everyday, however, I never go long stretches like that without running, and therefore I never lose progress. Even on my busiest day, there is always 7-9 minutes to go out the front door in my bare feet for an easy 1 mile run in my neighborhood.
I am not denying that there is probably a physical benefit to getting proper rest between workouts and following a strict 3 day a week running plan that contains long slow runs, tempo runs, and track repeats, etc., etc. However, I find that the psychological benefit of running every single day outweighs it. By running every single day, running becomes a much stronger habit. It is much easier to get in the habit of doing something everyday than 3 times a week. The habit has become so strong, that I crave running (it's become an addiction!) and look forward to it everyday.
I must admit that I tried the same thing back in 2014 and failed after only a few days. My body just wasn't ready for daily running back then, but this year it has been great. Maybe for someone who is at the point in their training where I was in January 2014 (i.e. not physically ready for a minimum of 1 mile per day), a plan of 1/2 mile minimum per day would work? I'm not sure because I never tried that.
Right now I am running about 30 miles per week and am training for my first 50k ultra-marathon later this month, so we'll see how it goes.
A few other notes about my current training:
- No training plan. If I feel good, I run far. If I feel bad, I run 1 mile. If I feel like going fast, I go fast. If I don't, I go slow. One reason I'm able to run everyday is that I enjoy every run. If I were forced to do certain types of runs that I didn't feel like doing because of a strict training plan, I may burn out or stop enjoying running.
- The majority of my runs are done on pavement completely barefoot. My longest runs are done on hilly trails wearing my ultra-minimalist luna sandals.
- Every single run I eat organic dark chocolate peanut butter cups while running. Since I love peanut butter cups and only eat them while I run, sometimes I'm not sure whether I am craving running or craving peanut butter cups! It has become a Pavlovian response where running and peanut butter cups have become inextricably linked in my mind. I will admit that 69 days into my daily peanut butter cup binge, I am starting to branch out into other chocolates, but I still always eat at least one peanut butter cup to keep the streak going!
- My children have been running with me a lot more lately since they seem to have caught the running bug, too! (or maybe they just love chocolate peanut butter cups). My 6-year old daughter Rebecca just recently clocked an 8:10 mile!
In conclusion, running everyday has been a major breakthrough for me. In the last few years, I've really struggled to make progress with my running. By the time I was 29 years old, the furthest I had ever run in my entire life was 1.5 miles, and I hated every minute of it! I've been improving slowly but surely over the last few years, but the last 69 days seems to have been a giant leap in progress. The biggest success has been learning to love running.
Riddle answer: Once per week I run in the morning one day and in the evening the next day. This puts about 36 hours between my two runs allowing my body adequate time to rest and recover. By doing this, I am allowing my body a full day of rest (a day and a half, really) while still running every single day, 7 days a week. Even the Old Testament sabbath day only lasted from sundown on one day to sundown on the next (i.e. 24 hours), so even the Old Testament saints could have "run everyday" the way I do and still been in compliance!