Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

5 Weeks of Running

When I started this running streak, I aimed to go from my starting point (Dec 29th) through the end of January.  At times, I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it.  However, I think ultimately it was a really great experience.  Running daily taught me a lot of lessons in energy management and preserving recovery, and established some really great habits I’ll bank on for the rest of the year.


Running Streak by numbers:

Days: 34 (35 total runs)

Runs inside vs outside: 13 vs 22 (pretty good for January)

Runs by mileage:

  • 1-1.9 miles =  5
  • 2-2.9 miles = 2
  • 3-3.9 miles = 7
  • 4-4.9 miles = 3
  • 5-5.9 miles = 7
  • 6-6.9 miles = 6
  • 7-9.9 miles = 1
  • 10-14.9 miles = 1
  • 15-21.3 mile = 3

Analysis here: 5.5-6 miles is about what I can run in an hour, so if we boxed in 5.5-6.5, that would probably make up the majority of the runs.  3-4 miles is what I can run at the gym over lunch, and also seems like a reasonable jaunt even when I’m tired (less than 3 seems like a waste to me).  I did 7 runs less than 3 miles, but most of them I cut short to preserve my energy for the next day, not necessarily because I didn’t have more in me.

Days by pace:

  • 9-9:59 minute miles 3
  • 10-10:29 minute miles 10
  • 10:30-10:59 minute miles 15
  • 11 – 12 minute miles 7

My slowest runs were generally the longest runs or the shortest runs (recovery days, easy miles).  Fastest were surprise days I felt great and sped up a bit (3-6 mile distance).  The number I saw most often was 10:30-something.  I’m happy with 25 of the 35 being in 10-11 min/mile pace.  Hopefully 2015 will see that normal pace shift a little downward, but for now, it’s copacetic.


How about that mood:

  • Great vs crappy: 33 good runs, 2 crappy.  I’ll take that ratio.
  • Days that I would have not run if not for the streak and was glad I got out: 9
  • Days that I would have not run if not for the streak and still felt crappy after: 2

It’s kind of amazing how many times I thought it wasn’t a good day to run, but I got out anyway and felt great.  The two crappy days were: 1. dealing with the crux of mental and physical exhaustion before I scaled back the mileage a little bit and 2. a REALLY BAD hangover day.  If I feel good 95% of the time, I should be running more than 40-70% of the time (depending on when I’m at in the training cycle), yeah?

Time of day:

  • Morning: 1
  • Noon: 15
  • Afternoon (no headlamp): 14
  • Evening (headlamp): 5

If I could run whenever, as proved on vacation/weekends, I’d run about 4pm until sunset.  With work in the mix, the best time for me to run is at lunch (starting sometime between noon and 1) for an hour.  All but one of my long runs started in the afternoon (and the outlier was 11:40am), and I started to find the love for after work headlamp runs on warmer days near the end of the month.

I’d like to be more of a lark, but it really takes forcing it over the winter and I’m ok waiting until it gets warmer to get up with the sun since obviously I’m still fitting in training.


Workout distribution by day:

  • Just run: 15
  • Run/weights: 1
  • Run/swim: 8
  • Run/bike: 5
  • Run/bike/swim: 2
  • Run/run: 1
  • Run/bike/weights: 2

You can take the triathlete and put her into a marathon schedule, but over half the time, I’ll figure out how to fit in a bike or a swim as well.  Running and swimming go together so well.  I need to remember that during heavy run cycles that swimming just heals me.

I went a little more bike heavy at the beginning of the month, but found that too much definitely contributed to overall fatigue (by contrast, swimming took fatigue away), so I scaled it back.  Biking is going to hurt when I start it again for reals in March, but I feel fit at 2 out of 3 sports, so I’ll get to that when I get to that.

Dang… I slacked on strength this month, or I forgot to track some.  I think a little of both.

Good things about the run streak:

It was a great way to get mileage without stressing my legs out too much.  Running every day to get 40 miles made me less fatigued than trying to get that same mileage in 5 days/week.

I thought it would make me get sick of running, instead I love it more.  It became a daily routine instead of a workout or chore.

I got in the habit of running for an hour at lunch, which takes almost nothing extra out of my day.  I can only do it until it gets too warm (May? June?) but I’m going to continue to make use of my lunch hour to run more often than not.

While my paces seemed to remain even, I haven’t really tested myself with any sort of real hard effort.  I feel stronger, but we’ll see when I get to racing.

I was surprised by how not-as-crappy some of the post-long-run shakeout runs were.  While I think easy cycling or swimming flushes out the bad stuff better for me, the runs weren’t as painful as I thought they would be and I now see the point of recovery runs.

I actually liked having some sort of movement every day.  There were very few days where ALL I did was a 1 mile run, and most of those were to give myself a recovery day before/after a long effort.

I was able to make some improvements in my swimming this month too – race pace last year is now just “hey look I’m swimming” pace in the pool on two swims a week.

I was able to knock out a 20 and a 21 mile run on back to back weekends fairly comfortably without a lot of incremental distance ramp up (and without being dead after) because of a solid base.

Running used to have to have the stars align and the situation be perfect.  Now I figure out how to make it work.  Ate spicy food?  Suck.  Probably shouldn’t do that again before a run but whatever.  Dark?  Take the headlamp.  Rainy?  That’s just fun.  Hot?  Oh well, slow down.  Drank last night? Wait until at least lunch and adjust expectations (but oddly enough, this sucked way worse than expected as well).  Sleet? Long run on the treadmill.  Allergies? Run Monterey Bay at the gym.  No excuses unless a run would exacerbate an injury that needs rest.


Bad/Annoying Things:

Running 1-2 miles wasn’t a chore so much, but my legs really don’t warm up by then so these just seem like exercises in frustration, and wastes of time and workout clothes.  I’d rather sub in other sports like swimming or biking or a pure rest day occasionally instead of suiting up for that short of a jaunt unless the goal was to get run miles at any cost.

I found I wasn’t limited by time as much as fatigue.  About 40 miles is my comfort zone when I’m not crunched by being too busy or trying to split time between running and biking more evenly.

I don’t think I could maintain this level of effort and also do anything but maintain cycling.  To make cycling improvements I would definitely have to sacrifice some of this mileage.  I could definitely see running most days and cycling most days though if I wasn’t pushing for super long distances at either (more than 3 hours in a session).

Long runs were a little harder running every day.  I really had to tamper down the mileage Friday to run successfully Saturday.  Maybe with more practice I’d be ok but I wasn’t there yet and bombed a long run (sort of) because of it.

I only own 1 running jacket and 3 running worthy sports bras.  I was stinky by the end of the week every week.  Didn’t really bother me but grosses Zliten out.

Future Plans:

I plan to continue to incorporate a run most days.  I’ll probably skip the 1-2 mile “just for the streak” type days.  However, getting out the door twice for a lunch run is 11-12 miles.  Put that together with a longer session one morning and a speed session, and I can maintain a much bigger base than I did last year even when I’m biking 200 miles as well.

I’m still at a point where more volume is netting me improvements.  I’ve tried to do one session each week “faster” and one “long”.  That’s enough for now, but at some point, I’ll incorporate real speedwork and maybe a specific running plan.

I think it’s probably a worthy goal to swim, bike and/or run just about every day.  I mean, take a full rest day off if I’m crushed, but I find that a short easy spin or swim does wonders in making me feel better than just sitting on my ass (unless it’s been long enough without a break that I really need that day of sitting on my ass).

I broke my streak Feb 1 and enjoyed the hell out of my first full rest day since Christmas Day, but I was back to pounding the pavement Monday and Tuesday with no regrets.

I’m still training for a marathon at the end of this month and optimistic about the performance.  I think I have the run streak to thank for that – otherwise I’d probably be talking about running the half.


January Wrap Up


February Goals


  1. ((yes my jaw dropped at the full day of rest since XMAS!!))

    • Quix

      ;D Sunday was glorious. While I didn’t need a rest day every week if I made sure to take it easy some days, after that long, it was amaaaaazing just to relax all day.

  2. Whoa. That is one badass running streak. I’ve jogged in place a few times since the year began, but that’s it. O_o

  3. …that’s it for the act of running, I mean. I promise I’ve done other exercise. hehehehe

    • Quix

      Thanks! 🙂 Hehe, I am sure you have been killing it, badass.

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