Monday, October 23, 2017

What I've learned from 130+ straight days of running

So back in mid-April I was running with Christine and Amy while they were doing a long run and another local triathlete showed up from behind us as we were just starting. Ben is a very accomplished tri guy who had just recently had a very good race in Africa. During this run I asked him a few questions about his race and one of the things he said stood out to me at the time and it was basically about how confident he was in his run because of how consistently he had been running during his big training block leading into the race. He had inadvertently (somewhat) had a running streak going that ended the day after the Africa race. I didn't think too much about the idea of a streak at the time but as the spring and summer wore on and my training kind of took a nosedive I wanted to do something that would sort of galvanize some run fitness and consistency.

So a week or two after Deuceman (which completely kicked my ass) I decided I'd start a run streak. I'd run every day for at least 20 minutes. 20 minutes seemed like a good number; not too much and not too little. Anywhere from 2 miles on a real bad day to 3 miles if I was feeling uber-sporty. I started this streak with a trip up to Wasson Peak with Ryan, which was a tough way to start because that is a legit mountain climb...

From that day forward to now, I have run about 850 miles with quite a few double run days somewhere in there. I've done one race (World Champs), which made it hard to continue the streak in the first few days after the race. I've averaged about 6.5 miles per day, with a long run of about 17 miles.

Somewhere in there I decided to do a running race or two, and the first ''test'' will be this upcoming Sunday at a flat half marathon here in Tucson. So in the previous 4 weeks I've put in about 250 miles and had some pretty solid, quality workouts in there. I know none of this has been ''a lot'' of miles for a runner, but it's been a few years since I've really put in some solid run volume and for better or for worse I just always have been a run volume fan. I ''feel'' better as a triathlete when I am running 5+ times a week.

Anyway, I haven't done a half marathon as a stand-alone event since 2010 at Charlotte's Corporate Cup. And yes, I wrote a blog about that! I've had a few half-ironman runs that were actually faster than that race, but I've never really seen how close to the envelope I can drag myself with no swimming and no biking. I don't have especially high expectations, but I know for sure I will go sub 1:20 but above 1:15. So that's my best guess ;)

Regardless, what have I learned from this streak?

1) Running more makes you faster at running
2) Staying healthy when you're building can be difficult, but prevention is the best medicine
3) Running every day sometimes really sucks
4) You need many pairs of shoes and many, many pairs of running shorts or you're going to be doing a lot of laundry
5) In reality, if you are running 40-50+ miles a week, running every day is really not a great idea
6) You will likely hurt yourself
7) and discover how gross your feet can get

I know at the end of the day 130+ days and 40+ miles/week are not, by any means, a lot for a "runner." Be that as it may, it's more than I've done in quite some time and I've noticed the effects fairly dramatically in the past month. Paces that I've not done in a while feel - practically - easy and while little aches and pains have come and gone I've managed to stay healthy and in motion during the streak.

So, here's your final lesson:

1) It doesn't matter how fast you bike if you run like ass
2) More is more, until it's not
3) Some quality is better than no quality
4) Bike for show, run for dough

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