What I learned from Running for 100 days………
Although I have been running consistently for over 15 years, I have never considered myself a runner. Always comparing myself to my extremely competitive and athletic family, I was always slower, shorter (both in height and distance!) and more out of breath than them. I have successfully competed in triathlons and half marathons and yet still I found myself feeling like I was always coming in last place when it came to running. Recently I decided to try a new strategy. A new approach for me and one which would turn out to reap more benefits than just increasing my weekly running mileage. I decided to start a Runstreak.
According to the United States Running Streak Association https://www.runeveryday.com a running streak is defined as “to run at least one mile within each calendar day. Running may occur on either the roads, a track, over hill and dale, or on a treadmill”. My sole goal was to run a minimum of 1 mile per day, every day. I didn’t set a target for how long my streak would last, how fast I had to run or what time of day it had to be done. Just that I would do it. I hoped that most days I would run more than 1 mile and indeed the majority of days I have done. (The mile distance became my “Save-a Streak” distance which ensured that my streak kept going).
Here are the top 10 things I learned in the first 100 days of my Runstreak:
- It took all the pressure off The only goal was to get out and run a mile minimum. No more worrying about speed, distances or how gassed I was. It was liberating and I began to enjoy running probably more than I ever have. The weight of the chip I had been carrying on my shoulder was gone and I felt lighter as a result.
- I realised I didn’t need any new kit to get out and do it I had sneakers, shorts, a good bra (essential!) and two running vests. I didn’t let myself get any new stuff or gadgets before I started. This was good discipline for a girl that loves to shop sports kit and made me appreciate that what I already had was enough. It was freeing to just use my body and get out there. It was also extremely portable. As long as I had my legs I was good to go!
- No more excuses! I became aware that previously I would find excuses not to go out running – injury, weather, tiredness etc but after a few weeks I began to look for ways to work around these excuses as they bubbled up in my mind. I could run indoors or do a shorter run (Save-a-Streak) if I had soreness or fatigue. It was interesting to realise that I had become good at finding ways to help myself fail rather than finding ways to help myself succeed and that is something I have begun to apply in other areas of my life too.
- It’s boring! I love new things. Love starting new projects, new diets, new exercise plans. I love planning and anticipating them. It turns out these are good distractions from what really needs to happen. Just getting on with the nitty gritty. This is the lesson that I have really learned the most from – applying it in particular to my business. It’s important to do something every day, no matter how small to keep things moving forward. It’s from the boring mundane stuff that the foundations are built and great things can materialize.
- I didn’t get faster but I did get stronger I thought my pace would improve the more I ran, but it hasn’t . I’m ok with that, because I didn’t set myself a goal of getting faster. It may be something that I consider for the future, but when you think about it, why would I have got faster when I haven’t been doing any speed workouts? I did find though that my minimum mileage of 1 mile became much easier and in fact I always try to run a minimum of 2 miles now and save the 1 mile days for when I’m sick or have travel logistics that are hard to work around.
- It’s always worth it No matter how much I don’t want to go out for my run I never come back and say “Gosh, I really wish I hadn’t done that!” I’m always glad I have been out and inevitably my mood is brighter and I feel better.
- Having the support of my family has been great There were a couple of days when my family kept me honest. It’s true I can think of two days in particular when I might have skipped my run, but knowing that my crew were keeping an eye on my progress was an extra incentive to keep it honest and real. I’m very self driven in many areas of my life so it was a good lesson to learn to appreciate the support of others.
- I lost a couple of pounds without changing anything else. I eat pretty well it’s true. I’m a vegan and a juice therapist as well as a health coach, and have at least one green juice most days. But turning 50 this past year surprised me that a couple of pounds had sneaked on without me noticing . Well those have gone, which is an added benefit from this experiment.
- Running with friends -I’ve reconnected with a friend who’s a runner and now we run together regularly. Our schedules never worked to catch up socially and I was always intimidated to suggest running with her because I didn’t feel I could keep up. Recently I felt confident enough to reach out and now we meet and run a loop together – I love it!
- I learned that I am a runner and it’s okay to do it on my own terms. I am still the slowest and run the shortest distance in my family but as I head out the door for my run every day I know I am building and reinforcing the foundations of my running future. Who knows what the next 100 days will bring? I’ll keep you posted!!!
So this approach worked well for me with running, but I can see how it can be extremely useful in other areas of life, not just exercise. The idea of building a life long habit with a small, consistent, achievable goal every day is very motivating. If you would like some help figuring out how to get started, then give me a call – I’d love to help you start your own Streak!!!!!