As I have declared many times this year, 2017 hasn’t been my best running year. I have spent lots of the year with niggles which prevented me from running faster or further. Something needed to change.
By the start of Autumn, I was getting frustrated that my niggles weren’t disappearing and with that my minute per mile times were getting slower. So after many conversations with my physio, I agreed to go back to running basics. For me, this meant new trainers (hooray!), cutting the mileage down and opting for a ‘little and often’ approach. Like many other Virtual Runners, I am very motivated by having a goal – which has usually been a race date. This time, I opted for running everyday; otherwise known as a run streak. So in October I ran every day. I kept this pretty low key as I didn’t want to add any pressure to myself as if I needed a rest I would take it. I didn’t want to seem to fail if I listened to my body. I set myself a minimum of 2k a day target and off I went. I never ran more than 10k in one go (I had previously been running regular 10 miles and further).
At the end of October, my love for running was back, my speeds had improved and I achieved my 5k PB (I have been fighting for 18 months to get under 26 minutes and I smashed this twice in October!) So I decided to continue with my run streak. I am enjoying the variety of running – sometimes adding hills or intervals and running with other people. And of course not missing parkrun!
So far I have ran every day since late September and whilst I don’t plan on running every day for ever, whilst it is feeling comfortable and right, I will continue. My 5k PB is now in the low 24 minutes and I am confident that there is a little better in me somewhere.
I have tried run streaks before and have found they hadn’t previously suited me – I got tired, more aches and generally stressed by the challenge. So I guess, if you come away with one thing from reading this, I would always recommend listening to your body. If your body tells you not to run – don’t. It’s often right. I am an advocate for rest days, but as an experienced runner have found that a 2k slow run around the block has practically felt like a rest.
I am also not suggesting that a run streak is the winning formula to improve your running – during my run streak I have made many other changes to my running lifestyle. I have added more cross-training in the form of swimming, spinning and circuits. I have purchased new trainers (any excuse). I started regularly attending canicross sessions which gave me a new found confidence that I could run faster. On my short runs, I added trails, hills, speed work. I have done no long distance running. I have shifted a couple of excess pounds (still many more to go!) and most importantly for me – I remember everything I love about running!