Halloween’s arrived and I find myself with a running streak stretching back into 2019. It was never my intention to run every day until we got hit by coronavirus when my plans to do Bournemouth Bay 1/2 marathon went out the window. Usually I’d have taken a rest day going into a race but of course there was no race so I kept on running. “To run every day of 2020” became my new challenge.
I’m not naturally good at endurance even though I run 40 miles per week at the moment. I only need to miss my Sunday long run for three or four weeks and I find myself struggling to even run ten miles. If I do a little too much racing or speedwork, I find myself tumbling backwards and having to rebuild my endurance all over again. My longest streak before this was about three months and even that ended because I could feel myself wearing down and desperate in need of a rest day.
You may have heard about Ron Hill’s run streak that lasted over fifty years from 20 December 1964 – 30 January 2017. He covered a mile every day including when he was on crutches after surgery. The funny thing is I remember, when I first got interested in running, I bought a copy of Runners World and there was a feature on Ron in it. It must have been in late 1991 because he was proud that he’d been running TWICE every day at that point and had calculated he was approached twenty-six years and eighty days which made it the equivalent of a 26.2 marathon!!
My own run streak faltered in the late summer as I began to get aches, pains and muscle soreness. I knew I wouldn’t last another four months so I changed my schedule to run only forty minutes each day plus a long run at the weekend. Previously I’d been doing an hour run regularly and I hoped the twenty minute reduction would give less training to recover from and leave me fresher. I decided to give it to October and if I hadn’t improved by then, I’d take a rest day and give up on the challenge. Even mid-September there were still aches and pains present but gradually they eased off and the challenge is now achievable.
Run regularly is important for improving at running but unless you’re naturally talented at endurance, I don’t recommend running every day. I only took on this challenge because of lockdown, the lack of races and no parkrun. I know once those things become normal again I will never have another streak this long again. The occasional rest day is important to me and I always rest the day before a race.
My streak started last year on December 8th at Christchurch 10K. I have five more weeks to complete a year’s worth of running at 366 days as it was a leap year. Another three weeks on from there and I’ll have run every day of 2020. After that I may continue into January as I’d like to rech a nice round like 400 days! This morning was run #329 …