Slightly over a year ago today, I had my last rest day from running. A friend of mine challenged me to run every day in December up to Christmas, a sort of Advent Challenge if you will. And I sort of just didn’t stop…
I’m always a sucker for a challenge, and in mid-November last year I was in a little bit of a rut running-wise. I’d done my first half-marathon a couple of months previously, but now that I didn’t have a ‘plan’ to get me out the door, I was at a bit of a loss as to how to progress. Having something to focus on definitely helped keep me on track, so I agreed to give it a shot.
At that point in time, I was also in a bit of a rut life-wise too, if I’m being honest. I was single for the first time in eight years, living alone in Edinburgh, and the best thing I had in my life was Charlie (well, Charlie will always be my best thing. But that doesn’t fit the narrative I’m trying to write here). I needed an outlet, so I started running. Every day. It’s only 25 days in Advent, right?
Well, turns out that once I had a little streak going, I didn’t really want to stop it. Initially I told myself I would just run every day in December. But then in January, I made the decision to start a “running diary” in my Strava notes. Something to keep me on track with running when the streak ended. But it didn’t end, it continued into January. And February. Through illness and injury, sunshine and snow, I kept the promise to myself to get out and shuffle around at least a mile every day. And as of last Tuesday, that streak is over a year long.
In that year I’ve managed to hit a lot of running milestones. I ran my first marathon in April at Stirling, in a time of 3:33:19, smashing my target of 3:45. I reduced my half-marathon PB from 1:48:48 to 1:34:45, my 10k from 45:32 to 39:59, and my 5k (assisted) from 20:13 to 18:34 (unassisted PB is 19:29). I’ve also started Canicross regularly with Charlie, and so far we have collected two bronze and two silver medals in our category from the five races we have ran so far in the Cani-Sports Scotland winter series.
I also hit another running milestone today - in January, I set myself a target in Strava to run 2018km in 2018, and as of this morning’s five-mile run, my total for the year is sat at 2023km. Next year, I’m considering bumping that target up to 2019 miles (3250km), although I don’t know if I will realistically be running a consistent 65km per week, mainly because I generally struggle to find time to run more than 40-45km per week currently. I have also only surpassed 65km in a single week twice this year (one of which included the Stirling Marathon). But I guess it isn’t a challenge if it takes no effort, right?
Overall, this year has been more successful running-wise than I really could have imagined when I started my running streak. I know that rest days are important (usually I just tail-run at parkrun for my rest days…), but even just for the positive change in my mental attitude towards running it has had, I can’t see me ending the streak any time soon.
Here’s to the next 365.