When you are a runner you eventually become enveloped by an amazing community of people.
Near the end of 2019 a fellow runner created a Facebook page for a group challenge of running or walking a given mile each day and it was going to go from Thanksgiving through the New Year. Participants could choose a distance they wanted to maintain through the challenge from a minimum of 1 mile a day to 3 miles a day to 6 miles a day or more. The goal was to keep our running community motivated to run through what can be a tough time to keep it going with holidays and sub optimal weather in our region.
This challenge came at the perfect time for me. I had recently run my first 100 mile race, then I took a month off from running to recuperate fully after a year of battling injury. As I was getting back into running I was excited to run a last man standing type event from Rebellion Running. I had never run an event like that and was curious as to how it would unfold for me. The answer was it would unfold badly.
During the race I sustained some type of injury that prevented me from running and left me barely able to walk after 6 miles. This injury kept me from running at all. I don’t know what it was for sure but it seemed to be some type of plantar fasciitis. I was even hobbling around my house on crutches for a few days. I had never had an injury that so limited my mobility before. I was quite discouraged. I was supposed to be in recovery mode and getting back to being healthy and fit, not getting injured even worse than before.
Then this challenge came along. I still wasn’t able to run, but I was at the point where I could walk a little. I signed up to be part of the group challenge on Facebook and posted my activity every day. I figured I could at least walk 1 mile every day. This would keep me motivated and give me a goal.
On days I could I would walk more than a mile, but on other days I made sure to get my 1 mile walk in even if I was walking on the treadmill in my basement. This really helped me remain motivated to stay active while also allowing my foot to heel. By mid-December I was feeling much better and I decided it was time to start trying to run.
I would run just a little bit at a time at a relatively slow pace. I wanted to make sure my foot could handle the running and then still feel ok after the run. I began running 1 mile a day. After about 2 weeks of running 1 mile a day and feeling ok, the injury had not gotten worse and seemed to be getting better, I decided to try running for longer stretches at a time.
After January 1st the challenge was extended and then extended again so that all who were enjoying it could keep posting in the group and keep sharing and keep motivating each other and keep holding one another accountable. I was not running hard, but I wanted to see how my foot would respond to longer periods of time of sustained running. Some days I would run 3 miles some days I would run 1 depending on how my foot felt. In January I began to mix longer runs with some runs of 5 miles or even 7 miles. Most of my runs were still in the 1 mile range but I was testing out my foot and seeing how it would respond. I still wasn’t trying to run hard but just ease back into running. Get my foot healthy. Get my 1 mile each day done.
About mid-January I was really starting to feel healthy again. I wanted to run the Skunk Cabbage Half Marathon again this year in early April. I decided now I was healthy enough to start training for something again. It was such a relief to have my first back to back days of running more than 1 mile and everything felt good. As I got into the early part of training I wanted to do as much as I could to ensure that I stayed healthy. That meant being smart. I loved this challenge and I have been enjoying the group and the motivation from everyone. I wanted to keep going, but I did not think it was smart to continue to run every single day as I started to work out harder and harder and the miles began to rack up. Even if some of those runs were only 1 mile I decided that especially given I was coming off injury I needed to make sure my legs and more importantly my feet had a break from the pounding.
To keep the 1 mile a day streak going for myself I committed to cycling on my bike trainer on days my training plan did not call for a run. Most non-running days I cycled about 6 miles. According to my training plan Fridays were supposed to be my rest days where I did no workouts, but I still did some very casual cycling at a very low level of effort on my bike trainer just to keep the streak alive. I am completely knew to cycling as any form of training so I am really interested as how this will impact my performance in my half marathon later on. I don’t think I would have been motivated to ad cycling to my workout regime without the incentive of trying to keep this challenge alive.
I am almost exactly 1 month away from my half marathon. I am in my last cut back week in my training plan. The next couple of weeks will be my longest long runs of the training plan. Then I will taper. And then it will be race day and off we go trying to run down a sub 1:50 PR.
Today is Friday. My training plan calls for a rest day. Today would be day 100 of the challenge. Today I am resting.
I want to be maximally healthy leading into my half marathon. I think that means with the biggest weeks of training coming up I should be smart and rest. I will continue to post and share my workouts in the group challenge page on Facebook. I am so thankful to this group for the inspiration and motivation through what was a difficult time when I was injured and helping to keep going and get back out there to train again.