For everyone out there (like me) who follows Runner’s World on nearly every social media platform, you’re probably well aware of their #RWRunStreak. If you don’t or aren’t, here’s the short version…
Runner’s World encourages everyone to run at least one mile each day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. This year that is 40 days. The idea is to get people outside and moving during the busiest, coldest, darkest and for many most stressful time of the year.
In theory, I’m a fan. Making time for yourself to exercise (even if it’s only for a very short amount of time) is crucial for your health, both physical and mental, and having a definable goal is a big motivator for many people.
But if this run streak is supposed to bridge the gap between fall races and training for spring ones…then where does the rest come in?
I finished the Philadelphia Marathon on November 19th (just about a month ago) and unlike nearly every other race I’ve run, when I crossed the finish line this time I wasn’t dreaming of the next time. You may think I’m crazy (and I couldn’t prove you wrong), but at the finish of every other road race I’ve run – excluding 5ks – my first thought is “I can’t wait to run the next one!” Then I think about water, how tired my legs are, food and where the bathroom is.
This past November, however, when I crossed the finish line of the most challenging race I’ve ever run (thank you wind) my first thought was “I’m done.” And not just done like I finished that race, but I’m done running for a good, long while. The pain in my hips, the stabbing ache in my shins and the complete exhaustion in every ounce of my body was pleading for a proper rest.
Well first it was the two mile walk post-marathon to brunch, but second was the Runner’s World run streak which was set to begin in five days.
On Thanksgiving, despite the soreness that had not completely faded, I walk/jogged the thirtieth annual Feaster Five with my friend from high school. But on day 2 of the #RWRunStreak I did absolutely no physical activity whatsoever. Nothing changed on day 3, or 4, or 5 when I flew back to Maryland. In fact, I didn’t run (apart from Thanksgiving Day) until the 12th day of the run streak when I laced up my well worn sneakers and proudly made it 1/2 mile around Fort Ward.
Although running is normally the go-to activity when I need to destress or simply remember how to smile, this month I was beaming when I stood up from a chair for the first time since August and my hips didn’t twinge in pain. I found the joy my dad has so often been trying to share with me in long bike rides (thank you College Park for all the lovely trails) and I remembered what it was like to spend an hour dancing around my room and singing instead of hitting the pavement when I needed a break (I even got a little carried away and auditioned for a musical…still waiting to see how that went.)
But taking the 40 days of run streak to relax, hasn’t been easy. I still feel that pang of guilt when my mom announces she’s run 4 miles before 8am and I have no exercise to offer up. I still get frustrated when I see multiple posts on Facebook, Instagram and twitter about how great everyone’s #RWRunStreak is going and know mine is non-existent. And despite how I felt as I crossed the Philadelphia Marathon’s finish line, I still found myself drawing up a training schedule for yet another before Christmas break even began.
So…Rock n’ Roll marathon in D.C. on March 10th anyone?
The first three weeks of my training plan are really straight forward. REST.