Thoughts on the RW Run Streak

As the author of a book (The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery) and a column (Serious Recovery) on recovery, I take rest seriously and hold my rest days as sacrosanct. But as a coach, I like to try out various approaches to see how they feel. With an open mind, then, I joined my colleagues and readers for the Runner’s World run streak (#RWRunStreak), and ran at least a mile every day from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. Some days I ran exactly one mile, others I ran 22 or more. But I got out there every day, however I felt. (Happily, I wasn’t sick or hurt during this period.) Some highlights:

  • I knew I was going to run every day. Not going wasn’t an option. This was appealing.
  • I got to try out different shoes on the short-run days, some of which I’d never wear for a typical hour-long run. A favorite are the Brooks Green Silence, which were perfect for a jaunt around the block with the dog.
  • The dog really liked these runs! A mile was just right for her to burn off some energy but not be exhausted (a terrier mix, she has short legs and is decidedly not built for distance). 
  • A mile of running would break a light sweat, just enough to make clothes nominally dirty. Reticent to add to our wash load, I found myself heading out in interesting outfits, from preworn workout clothes to street clothes from the hamper. New Year’s Day, I wore my pajamas.
  • On the first Sunday of the streak, I headed to the middle-school track a block away to knock out a token mile. My daughter Lily came along, planning to run with me. We found the infield was the site of a soccer tournament, and the track and bleachers were full of the families of the players, all Korean. Wearing the minimalist Merrell Gloves, I was determined to do my run on the track anyway, and to Lily’s horror, I wove through the crowds, high-fiving the toddlers and drawing confused looks from everyone else.
  • One of the best runs was in 38 degrees and pouring rain. I’d have hit the bike trainer if it weren’t for the streak, but I went out anyway and really enjoyed feeling tough. (By the end of the day, it was sunny at 60 degrees.)
  • A mile run makes a lovely warmup for yoga, weights, or riding the bike. Usually, we run off the bike in triathlon training (though duathletes will run first, too), but starting with the run feels good, especially when the weather is cold out.

Today, I dressed to run and took about a dozen steps before bailing. The bruises from my fall during Saturday’s long trail run are really blooming, and I obviously used my right quads to brake my fall. While I shuffled through yesterday’s finishing mile without too much pain, the DOMS has set in two days postrun and post-fall, and I was happy to stop my watch, come inside, and hit the yoga mat.

Now it’s back to my usual five runs a week, and Sundays will resume their privileged spot as the day of total rest—just in time for the NFL playoffs.

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