I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’d decided to participate in the Runner’s World summer Run Streak, a thirty-nine-day event where you run at least a single mile a day from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July. I’ve never done something like this before, and wasn’t sure how it would go. But I did it!
If you curious about how that went day-by-day, head over to my Instagram account, @larkelruns, where I post a run log after every run. But for our purposes here, I wanted to get a little more in-depth than I can on Instagram, and talk about some my favorite (and not-so favorite) moments during it.
While I don’t find a single mile all that daunting (unless it’s the last mile of a much longer run, at least), the idea of running every single day for over a month was. Finding the energy to get outside or to the treadmill each day, even on days when I had to work late, or travel, or just wanted to sit on my butt all day, was hard.
I ran day twenty’s mile on the treadmill at 10:30 at night–not even the latest run I would go on during this streak–after I spent two days driving to and from Atlanta, a five-hour trip both ways.
It was a fun trip, and while we’ve since decided to not take a trip that far where we drive back the very next day ever again, it was worth it. But I had no where (or really, the time) to run while we were there, so that meant I had to squeeze it in after we got back home that night. But I got home, unpacked, and then ran my mile. Like all of the less-than-ideal runs I’m going to mention here, I was glad to have done it once I had. The hardest part–again, a theme with these–was just changing my clothes, putting on my runners, and leaving the house. Once I did that, the run itself was easy.
The latest run I went on was at 11:30–really just under the wire. This was a run following our weekly Bachelorette viewing party with our friend Elaine, so not only was it late, but I’d had a lil bit of wine, too.
I went on a couple of post-Bachelorette runs like this. And honestly, as hard as it was to run that night when we’d just gotten back from Atlanta, Bachelorette night runs were always harder. You socialize, have a full dinner, split two bottles of wine, and then you have to run a mile before you can go to bed. Could I have run in the mornings? Probably. But apparently I hate morning runs more than I hate slightly-drunk late-night runs.
I did go on several morning runs during this streak though, and, like I said, I was always glad to have done it once it was over. I am definitely not a morning person though, and I very much value my sleep. I do what I can to get every single ounce of sleep I can get before I have to get ready in the mornings. I think the last morning run I went on during this streak was the one I went one where, when I got back and went to shower, I realized that my shorts had been on backward the whole time. Not inside out–backward.
Out of all thirty-nine runs, I only ran four of them in the morning.
Most of my runs happened after work, around 5:30 or 6:00, and were outside, though I did run on the treadmill a fair amount–fifteen times, if we want to be specific. Those runs were always shorter, two miles at most. I’ve grown to appreciate the treadmill–I probably would have said I hated them a year ago–but I can’t do more than thirty minutes on one; I get bored.
I didn’t actually go on any runs longer than three miles during this streak. Considering I was running every single day, I didn’t want to do anything crazy mileage-wise and overextend myself. I have half marathon training coming up soon, and I didn’t want to hurt myself during a streak, even if I did have time to recover.
But, not working on distance meant I was working on speed, which was more or less an accident. While I wasn’t running with PRs in mind, running the same short distances repeatedly help me refine my pacing, and just staying in the practice of running enabled me to get faster. I did get a few PRs during this streak, including my 5k PR of 25:55, which I ran during The Big Run–Fleet Feet and Brooks’s annual 5k event for International Running Day. That race was one were I was looking for a PR, and I was so happy to see my results (and later find out I placed third in my age group!) when I crossed the finish line. That was the best feeling, and the best run, of the streak, hands down.
But each run really was a good run. I struggled in the middle weeks with some calf and ankle pain simply due to my increased activity, and that made some of the runs less fun than others (thank god I decided to cave and get a pair of compression shin sleeves), but I’m not really convinced there is such a thing as a bad run. I always feel accomplished after them, no matter what the run was like or what distance I went.
During the streak, I went back and forth on if I would continue with it after the Fourth. I thought about it a lot. On the one hand, if I could, why wouldn’t I? On the other, why would I want to? I (obviously) like the idea of pushing my limits, and I felt really rewarded by the feeling of accomplishment I got by running each day, but, if there’s anything marathon training taught me, it’s that the rest days are just as important as the run days.
Ultimately, I decided a challenge wasn’t really a challenge if it didn’t have a clear start and stop. Sure, behaviors and patterns you developed over the course of the challenge could continue once the challenge itself was completed, but the whole point of deciding to do something like this is doing what you sign up for, nothing more, nothing less. I said I was going to run at least a mile a day from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July, so I did.
I think Runner’s World holds another run streak event around Thanksgiving, so we’ll see if I participate in that one, too–though it’ll be around the time I’m half marathon training, and, like I said, I need to value my rest days when training. But, we’ll see! If nothing else, I could see this run streak being an annual thing for me. It certainly won’t be the last time I try something like this.
So to close, here are some final posts from some of the other runs from this streak that I loved, even if they weren’t technically something special (though, of course every run is special). Again, you can find all of these + the rest from this streak over on my Instagram, @larkelruns. I’m sure there’s some way to make them links you can click through, but I can’t figure it out, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯