100-Day Run Challenge: Reflections & Lessons Learned
On December 12, 2018 I laced up for the 1st day of my 100-day run challenge. I had been hit with some knee pain and inflammation that was not allowing me to get out and run. The original plan was to train and race the Avalon 50k ultramarathon on January 20, but sometime in October 2018, I hurt my knee causing swelling that lasted for 15 days! Needless to say, an ultramarathon was probably not the best idea after that happened, so I rested.
Fast forward to December, I realized that I had fallen into a trap. This trap was my mind telling me, “It’s okay, you don’t have to run today. Try it tomorrow.” I was ALWAYS putting it off, and I had fallen off the wagon. I made the decision to whip myself back into shape and challenge the mind and body by running for 100 consecutive days. The challenge I created was to run either on a treadmill or outside for a minimum of 2 kilometers or about 1.26 miles. There were no restrictions for what type of run (easy, workout, long run, etc.) and there were no pace regulations.
Below you’ll find my top 3 experiences from this 100-day run challenge, as well as lessons learned, and considerations when starting your own challenge.
Motion > Emotion
Some days I would wake up sore, tired, or “feeling” like I didn’t want to run that day. Those days were pivotal moments in testing my mentality. I could have easily given in and not have done the run that day. When you are presented with strong emotions to quit or give up, you have a choice. You’re at a fork in the road: turn right for the easy way out or turn left to face it head on. Every time you go left (facing it head on), you build a little bit of “mental toughness” or resilience. My biggest mantra I would tell myself is “Motion Over Emotion” on those days where I didn’t feel like it. Emotions come and go, but sometimes it isn’t about how you feel, and you need to just DO. Think about the times your alarm goes off in the morning and you think, “Man, these blankets are comfy and warm. I think I’ll stay in for another five minutes.” When you should really just get up and roll out of bed!
My word for the year is “Prioritize” and I have been living up to it, especially during this 100-day challenge. You might be thinking, “But Seth, what about this next week? I am travelling and won’t have time.” Most people have a perceived lack of time. When you prioritize the things you want to get done for the day, we naturally will work to get those things done. For example, I was travelling to Reno, Nevada and my flight was at 7:00 am. I knew I wouldn’t have any time once I got to Reno that particular day to run, so I woke up at 3:00 am and got my run in on the treadmill before I left the house. It’s commitment to getting the daily run in, but I also made it a priority to get it done.
Bring the Enjoyment Back
When you are training for a race, sometimes the running can feel more like a chore than something you enjoy doing. Remember, you GET to run. You don’t HAVE to go running. Change your perspective. Of course, there were times where I was tired or it was raining outside, but for the most part my daily run was something I looked forward to. It was an outlet for me out of my busy day and it also made me feel better afterwards. I was also running with my dogs (Charlie & Tito) a lot as well, they LOVED when I would lace up my shoes and grab my Garmin watch. They knew it was time for my run and they would get so excited! My fiancée, Erin, would also come with me a handful of times during the week, and we used that time to chat about our day and other things, and just spend time together.
Lessons Learned & Considerations
Resisting the “Training” Urge
Since 2012, I have been training for triathlon races and I am so used to running only 3-4 times a week with different purposes to each one. I learned really quick that I couldn’t train the way I usually did. There were some days that I wanted to do speed work but had to be careful not to push myself too hard or it would negatively affect my next day of running. I also had to drop the cycling and swimming significantly, which wasn’t the greatest.
More Than Just Running
Running is a high impact activity and when you are running everyday there has to be a careful balance of prevention and mobility exercises to decrease the risk of injury. I made sure I was doing hip and glute band exercises 2 to 3 times a week to strengthen those muscles that support you in running. Core work is also a big piece of the equation when preventing injury. I found myself focusing more on my nutrition and hydration to make sure I was recovering properly and rehydrating after runs. If I was running in the evening, I made sure to fuel and hydrate appropriately during the day to have the energy to still run after work. Foam rolling and stretching was also a big factor during my 100-day challenge. Making sure I was staying loose and taking care of my body was important.
Seeing the Silver Lining
No matter how I felt, after my runs I always felt so great! Running can decrease stress, improve confidence, promote healthy eating habits, and increase overall mood. So, try reminding yourself those things to convince you to run!
Create your own streak!
Anyone can do it. You can make it as long as you want, just set the goal and start! It doesn’t even have to be running. Try walking or jogging if that is more attainable for you. Set your own minimum time or distance. There are no limitations when creating your own challenge because this is YOUR challenge, and no one else’s. You are capable. You are strong.
You can track your daily runs simply with a sheet of paper. However, if you want to get more into it there are watches out there that track your running via GPS. There are also free apps on smartphones such as Strava and MapMyRun that you can record your runs via GPS and it will save all of your runs.
You can see my runs that I tracked on my Strava account here.
My journey was incredibly rewarding and a great way for me to challenge myself physically and mentally. It was a great way to help me stay focused and prioritize my day. I would encourage anyone who has ever considered trying it to just start today!
Your best is ahead,
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