Monday, January 16, 2012

30 days. What I’ve Learned; What I’m proud of; and What’s next?

I had to go back and count again. It’s hard to believe it’s been 30 days. I started on December 18th and sure enough, today is day 30. So here goes,

I learned any workout is better than no workout. I kind of new that already, but it really hit home these 30 days. There was more than one day in this 30 – today included – where I did not feel all that great. Because of this create-a-habit thing I went out anyway. And although it was a struggle it felt good to get the blood moving. I may spend most of the rest of today on my couch reading a book and napping, but I will feel less ‘sick’ and less like a slug because

I learned that the difference between a 5 and a 6 on the clock in the morning is mind boggling. My normal wake up on a work day is 6 a.m. On two days out of the 30 I had to complete the run before work. Those days the 1 mile minimum came in handy. I figured I could set the alarm for 5:45 – just 15 minutes earlier than usual – getup, put on running clothes, run 1 mile and be back in the house by 6 when I would normally get up. Sounded like a good plan and I’m happy to say I made it. Convincing myself to get out of bed with that 5 on the clock was difficult. Once I got past that – something I was only able to do because I refused to give up on the habit – I was fine. In fact, my whole morning seemed to go smoother with that 1 mile wake up.

I learned – I think – that running every day makes my long run weekends less stressful. I say “I think” because I’m not entirely sure it’s because I’m running every day or because I’m just having a good training fit right now. Maybe a little bit of both.

I finally understand “recovery run”. On Monday last week, I ran with The Running Place group. I ran faster than I usually run, pushing myself to stay with new friends. I followed this up the next day with a workout on the Art Museum Steps (preceded by a 1 mile run to be sure I got it in). We did new stuff at the AM workout and I hadn’t been there in months. By Wednesday morning my legs were feeling the effects of both days. Stiff. These are conditions where I would have skipped running in the past. I’d have convinced myself I had ‘earned’ a day off. Instead I went out for 1 mile both Wednesday and Thursday. Since these were the same two days that I knew time was an issue, it would have been even easier to bag it. I started out slow and in no way broke any speed records on either day. But after a few steps the legs loosened up and by the end of each I was actually feeling pretty good. By Friday morning the stiff and soreness was gone.

I’m most proud of starting this over the holidays and not waiting until the “New Year”. Doing so meant having to get out on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve; both days where it would have been just as easy to say forget it. I ran more than a mile on both days . Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day were covered thanks to group runs with my wonderful Phillyfit friends.

Somebody asked me how long I was going to do this. The goal is to create a habit where there are no excuses for not running. If successful it should be a self renewing thing.

So what’s next? There doesn’t have to be anything. I could just keep going as I am. I will keep going but I’ve decided to add another element to it. I’ve given this a lot of thought (are you surprised?) over the past few days as I realized I was approaching day 30. I came up with and discarded several things. The secret was to come up with a logical next thing without breaking the spell. In other words, baby steps.

So I’ve decided to take my success at getting up early and commit to going out before work three days a week; Monday, Wednesday, Friday. In the interest of full disclosure I have to say that Mondays is kind of cheating since I don’t have to be at work on Mondays until 9 (instead of 8). But since that means I have to work later on Mondays it’ll be nice to get home from work and no I’m done. Friday is a good day to go out early since we tend to have date night on Friday and since I have to have things in balance I’ll throw in Wednesday.
The challenge here will be that I do not want to cop out to 1 mile on M-W-F. The 1 mile minimum was supposed to be when I needed a break; either from fatigue or schedule constraints. So, right now I’m going to try to commit to at least 30 minutes each of those days; and I give myself permission to cop to just 1 mile if necessary.
Day 31 here I come.


  1. YAY!!!! Very proud of you but not at all surprised that you accomplished what you set out to do. **HUGS**


  2. I love it! What an accomplishment and great goals moving forward. I also love that you've discovered the benefits of the 'recovery run'. I always see people talking about those and think to myself that it would be a great habit, but it's so hard to think past the soreness. You've inspired me to try it out soon.