For the last month and some odd days, I’ve been streaking, sans nudity. On the first of November, I decided to commit to three miles a day for the entire month. By the time November 30th rolled around, my monthly total was at 106, and I was in no mood to stop. I am at 19 miles for December, currently, with plans to add a few more miles tonight.
Streaking a low number of miles each day (minimum of three, usually maxing out at four or five) has been a tremendous experiment in strength-building. For much of my running career, I have focused on a formula which boils down to 2-3 shorter runs a week and a long run on the weekend. The streak dismantled that. Here is what happened when I changed:
I got faster. I don’t run my daily miles at a particularly fast pace. In fact, I spend quite a few evenings a week running with my regular running buddy, which is usually at a more relaxed pace (because we both like to talk). However, I think the strong base gained through daily running has somehow turned up my endurance to maintain a much faster speed on race days. In November, I set a new PR for my 10K distance. Last weekend, I set a new PR for my 5K distance (25:12). If you told me a few months ago that I would be running a 25 minute 5K, I would have shut the front door in your face! But, here I am… still in disbelief.
I got fitter. I have never held weight-loss as an outcome for running. But I did realize that I lost a few pounds as a result of running more regularly, and that my body feels really healthy right now. I have also managed to avoid colds and other illness this fall, for which I credit running.
I maintained multipotentiality and did not crash and burn. Running through November kept me incredibly balanced, psychologically, as I completed a fifth semester of doctoral coursework, endured a very stressful season at work, rehearsed and performed with a new vocal ensemble, parented a four-year-old, and pursued other community and volunteer projects. The routine of physical exercise helped me to unwind each day and sleep well at night.
What will December look like? I hope to continue running 3 miles a day as much as I can, although I am not as steadfast about it this month simply because of holiday and family commitments (although, as my running buddy and I discussed, these can often be the best motivators for a little solitary running time!). I hope to use my vacation time from work to pursue a few more longer runs, especially trail runs, as I only got a few long trail runs in during the month of November. I am still tentative at this point in time, but I am eyeing a “last chance” trail half marathon on New Year’s Eve in order to finish out the year.