Now, that's a mantra I have embraced a time or two in my running shoes.
We all know our own body best, but there's always a few unknowns...how many miles are too many? Total on-the-couch rest, or active recovery? Back-to-back race weekends? Easy pace or all-out speed?
It's easy to pass judgement on that which we have not tried (I'm guilty myself), so I decided to test the waters with a little challenge leading up to the Day of Pi, March 14th.
Let me set the scene...
Being a bit of a numbers dork, and also being a runner, I often do runs as a tribute to significant days or dates. For example, I have done 9.11-mile runs on September 11th. After the Boston Marathon bombings (2013), I joined forces with numerous virtual running friends and ran 2.49 miles in silence (in honor of 2:49 p.m., when the bombs went off). And, every year, I run 3.14 miles on my birthday, which happens to be March 14th (also known as the Day of Pi).
A few months ago, an Instagram friend did a week-long run streak of 5K runs. Having done many short-term run streaks (usually 5-6 weeks duration), the idea of doing a week-long streak was really appealing. Doing all of those runs at a longer distance than the (usual) token 1-mile distance was really intriguing, as well, especially because it was only for a week.
Hmmm. The seed had been planted.
About a month ago, the idea came to me to do this week-long run streak during the week of my birthday, but do those runs for 3.14 miles than the 5K distance (3.1 miles). As luck (or coincidence) would have it, Pi Day landed on a Saturday this year. Thus, the streak could start on Sunday (March 8th) and Saturday (March 14th) could be the grand finale.
Alas, the Week of Pi Challenge became a reality.
So, here's how the week played out...
Day 1 (Sunday) - A virtual Pi for International Women's Day
Another little intervention, courtesy of Fate, presented the opportunity to take part in the ZOOMA Women's Day Virtual 5K. Truth be told, I ran an extra .04 to get the distance to that pretty Pi number. Also, this run served as a recovery run from the previous day's hilly Leprechaun Chase 10K. So, yeah, there were all kinds of good things happening on that sunny morning.
It was raining, it was pouring...and the run with Milly was quite boring. But, the temps outside were a balmy 37F, so a big "No Thanks" to that. I purposely ran the first mile easy (11:00 pace), but running "easy" ain't so easy on the treadmill. My long legs really struggle, and my form almost always feels compromised. But, worse things have happened.
Day 3 (Tuesday) - Post-workday Pi
Eager to be back outside, this run felt so much easier than the previous day's treadmill adventure. I ran a 5K route that took me out on a county road and looped back through the college campus. A special feature of this run was having my gal from the Birchwood Pie Project join me (virtually). Strength in numbers, indeed!
Another post-workday run, this one involved a few laps around the central campus of Grinnell College. The afternoon sunshine was a nice surprise after (almost) a full day of cloudy skies.
Almost every week, my friend, Barb, and I meet for a #5at5 run (five miles at 05:00). Since I was in the midst of this Challenge, though, she graciously let me call it at 3.14 miles (and she continued on without me). Hey, stranger things have happened.
With all the turmoil from the evening prior (COVID-19 causing a major domino effect of cancellations and anxiety), I was not feeling "the run" upon wake-up. By late morning, though, the bright blue sky and sunshine had gotten the best of me, so I decided to lace up and do the Pi run over lunch. Turns out, it was just the energy boost I needed, physically and emotionally.
Barb and I met up, around 7:30 a.m., and hit the streets running, literally. Wouldn't you know, Momma N decided to bless the celebration with snow (but we pretended it was confetti). Week of Pi Challenge: Mission Accomplished!
Here's how I made it work:
***Since I was running 3+ miles every day, I kept the cross-training fairly light. In other words, no speed work, HIIT or intense stair sessions.
***Like with my other run streaks, I varied the route for each run to avoid boredom.
***I kept all of the runs at an easy pace, and I kept them all at the 3.14 distance (no bonus "long" runs during the Streak).
***With the cold weather, earlier in the week, it was easier to run after work (when the temps were warmer). By running those runs at about the same time each day, my body had (almost) a full 23 hours of recovery time between each lace-up. Granted, in general, more recovery time is desirable, but since I was running these runs at an easy pace (and only for a week), it wasn't a big deal.
***I had tons of support and encouragement! Several on-line friends did 3.14-mile runs during the week with me, which wasn't expected but so much appreciated!
***The one aspect I didn't like (and it's not a big one) is the accountability. I'm not a Garmin gal, but I was for this challenge. Having to wear the Garmin for every run is not my usual routine, but for a week it was manageable. First world probs, am I right?
Anyways, I'm calling this endeavor a success. I realize run streaking has ZERO appeal to some people, and I'm not here to brainwash the population to join me. I would suggest giving it a try (even for a week), though, before dismissing it...but that's not for me to decide. As I've said before, we all get to do this running thing OUR way, and I think that's pretty legit. Lucky us!
I have been asked if I will do this Week of Pi Challenge next year? Stay tuned...I have 51 weeks to decide.
Have you ever taken on a challenge that took you outside your comfort zone? Do you do a tribute run on your birthday?
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