‘RUNNING IS MY THERAPY’
I have used the above mantra quite a few times over the last couple of years, because I really do believe it is true. I have a fairly stressful job and numerous people depend on me to provide the correct answers to their problems and issues on a daily basis. Sometimes getting away and losing myself in a run is just the answer that I need, to have that built up stress just melt away.
Enter the idea of Streak Running, I first heard about this last year when a group of Internet friends started a Facebook group called the 120 Consecutive Days of Running. Being not one to ever back down from a challenge, I jumped in with both bare feet and decided to participate, because how difficult was it really to run every day for 120 days and for at least a mile, right?
Well I can now say, it was a lot more difficult than I had originally thought, prior to this challenge, I had run fairly consistently most days. But there was definitely no running when I wasn’t feeling well or if the weather was subject-able, remember I live in Winnipeg, affectionately called ‘Winterpeg’. With this challenge there was no excuses you just went out and ran, come snow, sleet, rain or sickness I got out there and typically it was for at least 2 miles. Over 140 days straight were completed last year, and I am currently on another streak of 84 days and counting with the intent to run the entire calendar year of 2013.
I thought the biggest challenge would be getting out for my run the day after a big event, surprisingly it was not. I found this really interesting especially after a 50km or longer jaunt, my legs seemed to respond to the brain telling them to get moving and I found it easier to get out the door. I also used this opportunity to stretch the legs out and remove the stiffness that usually follows longer runs. The biggest factor in keeping the streak going was the drive to take my shoes off and just get out during the middle of an average week, especially if I didn’t have the gumption to get out earlier in the day. Those last minute runs were the most difficult for sure, the later the evening went on, the more I needed my wife to kick me out the door and believe me she did, there was no compromising with her.
The most interesting thing I found with completing this challenge was that not only did my legs not need a lengthy recovery time but I got stronger and quicker the longer the streak went on. For example, I ran a half marathon for a PB and follow up the next day with another PB for a 10km. In fact I improved my time for my half marathon by eight minutes barefoot over a course that had a substantial amount of gravel and limestone paths incorporated, the 10km was a 2 minute improvement. Now I am not saying I am the fastest runner in the world, in fact I am far from it, but I was finally able to crack the 2 hour half marathon threshold and finished with a 1:54. The 10km run the following day was 51 minutes and change, not to shabby I would think. Also take into account that I do ninety-five percent of my running between mid April and mid November barefoot, no matter the weather or conditions.
Now I want to put a big disclaimer on the above, I would not expect everybody to go out and run 100 days straight or for that matter a month straight. Everybody is different in their capabilities, their recovery times and you should know best what your body needs. But if you want to try something a little bit different, this might be for you, I have had a great time getting to know what my body can do and I have met some great new friends along the way.
Hope to see you out there.