Running & Excelling
by Patrick Reed
“First off, what is the Run5kaday regimen: simply that you commit to running at least 5 kilometers every day without fail for a specific duration of days. I began with a year back in 2008…”
I haven’t written too extensively about my philosophy and practice of running everyday. I have spoken at a bit of length about why I adopted this practice beginning 6 years ago – and I encourage you to run over and download that first podcast episode of “A Runner’s Podcast” to hear me expound about the ideas in this post in person.
It is the 100th day of 2013, and so all who have been running every day of this year have come into triple digits today. Well done! I didn’t realize we had hit the 100 mark until I saw a few blogs with names like: “100” or “One Hundred in a Row”… Needless to say, I was thrilled to finish my easy– recovery — run tonight in the cool darkness and subdued streetlights, and officially book 100 more runs in a row.
“No, this regimen is not for the faint of heart. It is for the intense. It is for the runner who longs to run every day for decades.”
In this post, then, I will aim to give you some key information about the Run5kaday regimen, why you should consider adopting it and what are the challenges and pay-offs of doing so.
First off, what is the Run5kaday regimen: simply that you commit to running at least 5 kilometers every day without fail for at least a specific duration of days. I began with a year back in 2008. My running in previous years had become stale and inconsistent, and I had no running plan to speak of. I ran when I felt like it, but would routinely go weeks without running. I also raced sporadically. I would run pretty well in those competitions, but I never knew what to expect of myself. I would invariably run harder and tax myself to a greater extent than was wise – ever risking injury – and would nearly always take weeks off after every race. In short, I was aimless in my running, groping about emotionally, and I was on the precipice of overdoing it one race at a time. I lacked all discipline.
“I was aimless in my running, groping about emotionally, and I was on the precipice of overdoing it one race at a time. I lacked all discipline.”
And so it was that I devised a method whereby I could reintroduce discipline and yes, even honor, back into one aspect of my life. I knew this discipline would carry over beneficially to other areas of my life — and so I committed. I liked the 5 kilometer distance because it ensures that one will get out on their feet for close to 30 minutes, which many physiologists have cited as a key length of exercise duration for fitness. I also knew that I could always find 30 minutes in my day — whether I be in the midst of a hurried day, a ski vacation, a sick-day or a camping trip. And, believe you me, in the course of some 1500 days of this regimen, I have seen all of these types of days and more.
And then there is the EVERY DAY part of my discipline. Many wonder at the legalism of this type of mandated running streak. I understand. I don’t always find it the wisest path either. Nor the most desirable on many days — such as the day after my 78k Alpine race in Switzerland 5 years ago. After having ascended and descended literally tens of thousands of feet the day before – over a period of 7+ continuous hours of running, I was none too eager to put shoes to pavement for the next morning’s run. But as Scott Jurek refrains in his excellent book Eat & Run: “Sometimes you just gotta do things!” And so I did.
And so I did tonight, too. Having just run a marathon 3 days ago, I was tempted to take a day off. But I had made a commitment to myself, and I was compelled to stick to it — and I wanted to stick to it.
“And then there is the EVERY DAY part of my discipline. Many wonder at the legalism of this type of mandated running streak. I understand. I don’t always find it the wisest path either. Nor the most desirable on many days — such as the day after my 78k Alpine race in Switzerland 5 years ago…”
And that gets to some of the great benefits of my Run5kaday plan. First off, it provides for the serious athlete a specific routine, no questions asked. Tomorrow’s workout will include 5km of running. Period. And the beauty is that you can add on and dress up the 5km however you like. Turn it into intervals or a super slow jog or a marathon! — the choice is yours. Regardless, you will be sure to run. And I believe, and have had some thumbs up by gurus such as Dr. Phil Maffetone, that the fitness benefits of running everyday are big. For example, the 3:07 marathon I just completed this past Sunday, was run on the Run5kaday plan. My training began January 1 of this year — and only rarely did I run more than about 6 miles during my daily runs. In fact, my longest run was a 13.5 mile, 2 hour mountain run — and my next longest runs were 10 milers on the same mountainous terrain. Standing on the starting line Sunday, I knew that my training was probably not as big as others with whom I would compete, but I was fairly certain that no one — except for maybe Dean Karnazes — who raced alongside of me had run every day for nearly 100 consecutive days. The proof – 12th place overall.
“Tomorrow’s workout will include 5km of running. Period. And the beauty is that you can add on and dress up the 5km however you like. Turn it into intervals or a super slow jog or a marathon! — the choice is yours. Regardless, you will be sure to run.”
Okay, so you’ve heard all of the good news — what’s the downside?? Good question — there are several potential negatives to my plan. First, a streak mentality invites a kind of addictive behavior which can lead down the path of injury. A runner might not be able to stop running even though all of the warning lights are flashing. I speak from personal experience, as I landed my achilles injury after over 1000 days of running a few years ago. I documented this story in an earlier post, and suffice it to say — I was unwisely balancing my running streak against my long-term health.
A second negative might be the requirement that you never miss a day. On vacation — somehow ski vacations keep coming to mind and are the worst (probably because of all of the thigh work in good, hearty downhill skiing — getting out there and putting in the miles after a day on the mountain is especially disheartening!) The Run5kaday plan does wreak a bit of havoc on the sane life from time to time because of its relentless schedule…:) Lastly, a third possible detriment of my method is the ‘grey area run’ when you may be injured, but you may not be. A run might not hurt, but rest may be the better option. If you are on the Run5kaday plan, you will be inclined to RUN. And that’s how I am. I will take a day off — if absolutely necessary, but … even having sat out for a year(!!) with my previous injury — I have trouble of conceiving of why I possibly would.
“Please do remember my disclaimer — amidst all of this hooting and hollering: Please be sure to check with your physician before participating in any rigorous physical activity.”
No, this regimen is not for the faint of heart. It is for the intense. It is for the runner who longs to run every day for decades. This just happens to be my mentality. And my friends will be the first to tell you that this is not unexpected in me; it’s how I’m wired. This is for running-crazed folk like me.
In conclusion, if you want to pep up your running life; if you want to truly excel; if you want to take your running life to the next level… then consider the Run5kaday training plan. It’ll teach you daily like a marathon does twice a year. It’ll convince you certainly, in case you are not yet sure, that you are a runner indeed.
Run with me!
PS – Please do remember my disclaimer — amidst all of this hooting and hollering: Please be sure to check with your physician before participating in any rigorous physical activity.
image credits: everydayhero.com