The 137-day challenge has come to an end. Here are some thoughts and conclusions I'm walking away with.
1. It worked
The goal was to acquire a certain level of comfort with running. I think I accomplished that. My body adapted to daily running surprisingly well. No injuries. No illness. No significant stress. No real need for a day off.
No physical activity is totally without effort. But the idea of going out for a refreshing 20-30 minute run is something I can now safely say I can handle.
I'm happy about that.
2. The struggle was real
One of the motivating factors behind this challenge was that I knew during the winter months, I would have no desire to keep up with my running. Doing this publicly was part of my strategy for forcing myself to keep up with the habit.
However, despite knowing there would be times where motivation levels were low. I drastically underestimated how much I wouldn't want to go out in freezing temperatures for even a 15-minute jog.
There were days where I was truly pissed at myself for concocting such a stupid challenge. I often felt that I deserved an off day, and that I stood absolutely no benefit from bundling up and suffering in the cold.
I was probably right. But it didn't matter. The point was to just keep doing it despite my feelings. And usually, the run ended up not being half as bad as I made it out to be in my mind. Point taken.
3. I did not get better at running
Although I got comfortable with daily running. My focus was not on performance. Compared to the summer months, my overall training volume was much lower, despite the increase in frequency.
Anyone who knows anything about training will understand that regardless of frequency, if you drop volume and intensity, you will lose fitness.
Now that I'm starting structured training again, I can attest to that fact first hand.
But that's okay. I've been increasing my volume for the past several weeks and I can feel my body responding well. I'm able to recover quickly and I feel like my fitness will surpass last summer's level by leaps and bounds.
I firmly believe that this challenge prevented me from detraining too much, and has allowed me to jump right back into pursuing a higher-volume schedule with no adverse effects.
It's time to train.
I've run every day through a Canadian winter and I don't hate running. I love it even more.
It's time to get a little faster, endure a little longer, and put a little more thought into my schedule beyond "just go out and run".
More to come...