Ever feel like consistency isn’t happening? Feeling overwhelmed by each day’s training plan? Always putting everything ahead of your running?
I was feeling that for a very long time even in April 2018 when I was starting my second marathon training cycle. I started off strong in the first week nailing each one of my runs but then I started to slip. Work became more important than my three or four runs a week. My exhaustion started to kick in. I was falling behind — very behind.
My solution: turning to Instagram.
I was following some incredible runners who had phenomenal stories and had either been training for a world major or had just finished running the Boston Marathon. How did all of these individuals deal with their lives (many of them owned their own business and worked ridiculous hours, had families and lives outside of running)?
One of the runners I was following goes by the name of @marathonpandamaurice. He changed his life, became sober and turned to running in a different way that inspired me. At the time, Maurice was on an 800-day running streak. Why was he doing this? What motivated him to run at least a mile a day in rain, sleet, humidity, or nasty storms?
Someone suggested to him that he do a 100-day running streak. Starting on Jan. 1, 2016, he decided to document his efforts.
Why was this important to me? I saw a person who changed his life for the better and was doing incredible things within his community.
Now, I knew I couldn’t be anywhere close to Maurice in my reach, but I needed to change myself soon.
So, on May 1, 2018, I woke up and ran 5 km on the treadmill. Within the first 20 days of my running streak I had covered approximately 116 km. I also accomplished a 10K personal best and had ran a half marathon. I felt stronger like I was getting back into the “groove.”
My streak reached 50 days and counting. It didn’t matter where I was in the world. I traveled but realized I could run everywhere and anywhere. All I needed to do was run at least 1 km for me to keep the streak going. It worked. It helped. And I was happier.
On my 100th day I was running in New York’s Central Park knowing I had come so far yet felt as if it was no big deal.
During all of this, I had done a load of races and every day I would lace up and record some type of distance. My streak ended at 111 days. I was about a month away from the Chicago Marathon and was exhausted and not feeling well and couldn’t lace up my shoes to even walk the 1 km.
This experience taught me a few things:
- There is always time to take care of yourself (even for six minutes a day). I was having a hard time juggling so many things, so I put myself last on my massive list. By committing to my streak, I realized I did have time to run and take care of myself. I didn’t need all the time in the world, but I figured out a way to do it. I had been putting everyone else first but I wasn’t helping myself.
- Persistence pays off. I became confident and loved my body again. In the off season, as most of us know, we gain a little bit of weight, in my case, it was a lot. I was able to slim down a bit and because I was running each day, I was watching what I ate. Also, it didn’t matter if I ate badly a bit because I would burn it off.
- Finding strength within. I didn’t realize I could do something like this. My body was changed and I felt stronger. Not just physically, but mentally. I was able to accomplish so much more during my day. I had a weird amount of energy, even for me.
I hope this inspires a few to take on challenges like a one-week running streak or even trying to be consistent throughout the year. It is hard, it is tiring but definitely worth it in the long run . . . especially for your long runs!
Keep on streaking, running and putting out good vibes!