August 26th 2018

Today I completed the first week of my 21 day running challenge. If you weren’t here last Monday you’ll’ve missed that I set myself a goal/target/challenge of running at least five kilometres every single day for 21 consecutive days.

I’m not training for, or targeting anything in particular, I just wanted to see if I could do it. And so far, it seems that I can. I have successfully ran at least five kilometres every single day this week. In fact, I’ve overrun on some days so my total distance for the week reached 50km.

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It’s been a long time since I’ve run that far in a week and, let me tell you, I feel fucking great for it.

I’m finding myself looking forward to running again. Among my first thoughts when I wake up is “when and where should I go for a run today?”

The point of setting myself a target of 21 consecutive days was to force myself into forming a habit, and it’s already beginning to feel like that.

I’ve successfully managed to write a blog post every day for the last 1,333 consecutive days, and that’s mostly because I spend most of each day thinking about the blog, and what I’m going to write about. It consumes me to the point where I can’t fully relax until I’ve written the post for that day.

I have an internal metronome that just repeats “do your blog, do your blog, do your blog” and it doesn’t switch off until I’ve done it. Because I’ve turned it into a habit, and that’s what I’m trying to do with running.

I don’t make any commitments until I’ve been for a run, because I don’t want to do anything that forces me to miss a day. And there have been some really shitty days this week where I’ve not wanted to run, but I found time, and I did it.

Now, as odd as this sounds, running every day is not actually a very healthy habit. Overdoing it can wear out your legs and feet pretty quickly, and you’re supposed to take rest days at least once a week. However, “every day except for one day a week” doesn’t sound quite as catchy so I’m just gonna do every day instead.

But that’s why I’m only targeting 5km: it’s an easy distance that you can choose to run at whatever pace and intensity you want and still feel good about it.

Ron Hill, a marathon runner who has been for a run on all but one of the last 19,607* days, defines “a run” as “completing a distance of at least one mile at any pace”

*(December 20th 1964 to present day excluding January 30th 2017) 

My self-adhered definition is three times that distance, but he has been doing it for 2801 times longer than I have.

And so, I’m a week and 50 km in. My legs actually feel fine — good, in fact. My feet don’t hurt. I’ve got no major aches or pains or blisters and, more importantly, my head feels good.

For me the biggest challenge of running is the mental aspect. I’ve always struggled with motivation and desire, but this week I’ve had both of those in abundance. I’ve found myself having to cut down the amount of distance I want to do on any given day just because I know that I shouldn’t overdo it. And that’s really unlike me.

Until tomorrow, I’m running fast, and far, and I’m feeling great.


2 thoughts on “Metronome

  1. I often think that frequency is more important than distance or speed for a healthy running routine. I love the “streak” mentality (even though I do think it’s important to take some days off). Streaks help you learn to lower the activation energy for going for a run (if you know you’re really committed to running today, there’s not as much point in delaying it). Like you said the commitment also helps you structure your day better.

    I know this post was a while back, but given your more recent post maybe a 1 mile/day streak could be a good boost for you?


    1. A mile almost makes it feel like it’s not worth getting changed for, but I guess the point is to build a streak and then start to add distance. So maybe if a mile is what gets me out there, then a mile is what I need to do.

      A streak is what I need, because once I’ve got one I won’t want to break it.


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