Except it wasn't turns out that I did my accounting of days on months wrong and it was in fact my 101th day of running on the trott!
|On my 101th consecutive run, heading back to Callander looking west towards Ben Ledi|
Benefits of Run StreakingI log all my runs and keep track of effective number of calories per mile reported by my HR monitor. This allows me to track how my efficiency changes over time and what type of training benefits my fitness most. At the of November I analysed by training and wrote up my findings in a post:
The findings were pretty clear, running more often was more critical to fitness than length of individual runs. If one looks at the training of elite endurance runners you'll find that they training twice or three times a day everyday of the week, so the finding that run frequency is crucial to my own fitness mirrors that of top athletes. With such a unequivocal result from my analysis keeping running everyday was an easy decision.
Fitting two or three runs in a day doesn't fit well with my work and family life but running everyday before lunch is something that has fitted in easily. I work from home so starting work a little earlier and finishing a bit later, or doing a little work in the evening keeps the work hours up. Running mid-day allows me to make the most of rather lack lustre Scottish winter sun.
Once you've decide to run everyday and fit it in with your daily routine your view of training shifts. No longer do you feel that you have to push yourself in training runs, instead you take the pressure of training intensity and duration a little because you'll need to run tomorrow, so gutting yourself is not worth the risk.
Now three months into my experiment with running every day my fitness has shown consistent improvements. The last three months have been the most efficient I've ever recorded and January was my most efficient month ever, and the first week of February has seen improvements.
|Effective Calories Per Mile between November 2013 and February 2015|
The importance and benefits of Recovery runsWhen running every day Recovery runs after harder sessions take on more active importance - you do such runs to aid Recovery not to tick a box. Keeping these recovery runs nice a slow aids recovery so you body repairs quicker and gets more benefit from the workouts.
Doing lots of regular Recovery runs also helps improve your running economy at ultra-marathon race pace as the two paces a typically well aligned. For me I race ultras in the 9 to 10min/mile range and this is pace range of my Recovery runs. Improving running economy and comfort at race pace is an often over-looked but important factor in racing well in ultras.
With the change in emphasis in my training from more stressful runs done less often to doing less stressful runs more often has had big difference to my ability to shrug of injury. In previous years I'd struggle to training for more than 3 months on the trott before a injury would sideline me for months.
I've now done just over three months of running every day and while I've had plenty of aches and few strains that felt that they might get worse and become injuries that would stop my running streak nothing yet has got beyond aches in the morning and few niggles when running.
The biggest issues injury wise has been a long standing issue of metasalgia and recent ankle strain due to having to run on frozen rutted icy trails. Avoiding lots of steep descents and staying away from trails for the past few days it's been possible to arrest these niggles and calm them down without stopping running.
The joy of run streakingOne can take about the benefits to ultra-marathon training of running everyday but I don't just run to get fit, I run because I love getting outside into nature. Running everyday you are forced out in good and bad weather, and regardless of you mood.
What I have found is that by forcing oneself to go out even when it doesn't seem like nice weather there can be some beautiful sights and thoroughly invigorating experiences that make you feel alive. There can be many little surprises along the way, things that you would have never seen or felt had you been sat in front of the TV or computer screen, yet these moments can live with you and make you smile when you think back.
I've captured a few of these moments with my phone's camera over past 101 days. They don't really do it all justice but perhaps it'll convey just a little of the joy and wonder that just getting outdoors everyday can bring.
|Evening run with my daughter, looking east towards Keltie Bridge caravan park|
|Some days with Driech|
|And the next first snow of winter|
|Or windy and wet|
On one run during the heavy rains I passed through some serious flooding at Keltie Bridge - I waded in and video'd the experience. It's end of day so the video quality is really poor, but it might capture a bit of what it was like wading into up to the top of my thighs. While the camera on the Moto G is bit poor, the phone is waterproof :-)
Shortly after the floods were gone and the weather turned colder.
|Runs with friendss Craig and Rob|
|Or witnessing man-made destruction of forest|
|And regular route churned up by forestry trucks|
|But one bright day can lift ones spirits in an instant|
|Stuc a'Chroin and Ben Vorlich with their heads in the cloud and snow|
|Yule log made my daughters added a bit of festive post run treat|
|Recovery run at first light brings it own reward|
|A Christmas presents - glasses, top and shoes as modelled by my youngest daughter Ellen :-)|
|Run streak means an afternoon run even on Christmas day|
|But what better way to try out your presents before the sun quietly slips away.|
|Away from home and visiting relatives provide new opportunities to explore|
|Using strava to explore new routes, and storm the castle to set some strava segment CR's|
|Back home and exposed to the full force of nature is when you feel most alive|
|River Teith in full spate|
|What better way catch up with friends, Neil and I head out for a run|
|Top of the Callander Crags look west towards Loch Venachar and snow storm|
|Windy days means bad weather clears more quickly!|
|My show to the left and big-foots shoe to the right. Feeling more like a hobbit every day...|
|Recovery run, but everyone has to take a photo to remember it ;-)|
|Had to replace broken HR monitor, replaced with Pebble and Wahoo Tickr and Aerotracker Pro phone app|
|Pebble screen is nice an clear and with 5 day better life will cope with whole West Highland Way Race this June.|
|Storms lashed the Trossachs, one run I had to clamber under/over/around 15 fallen trees|
|Wet and windy storms were replaced with wintry storms|
|And then lots of snow, took me 40 minutes to clear the road in front the house.|
|But 12" of snow didn't stop me getting out for my run|
|Perfect reason to done my X-Talon 190's and gaitors|
|Deep snow made for a tough run, 11 min/mile pace at a HR of 160+, and 40% Calories per mile than normal!|
|Through January my eldest daughter was doing prelims and took to placing post-it notes around the house to help with Spanish vocabulary, this one seemed to sum up quite a bit of my life!|
|Exploring the new path to the north of Loch Venachar brought some amazing views.|
|As the wintry weather continued the roads and trails turn to rutted ice|
|But the views were well worth heading out into the freezer (Loch Venachar looking west)|
|The whimpy camera on my Moto G phone failed to capture how spectacular the sunset was|
|Sun finally slips behind Ben Gulipen|
|More snow turns Ben Guilpen into a winter playground, fast descents in fresh snow is glorious!|
|Nature has it's way of being enchanting|
|When the new Bracklin Bridge was being built it looked so large and incongruous, but in place amongst the rock and trees it fits in, adds some something to this very natural location|
|Between Bracklin Bridge and Scout Pool bridge you get great views of Stuc a'Chroin and Ben Vorlich, except... when it's completed whited out!|
|5 miles into a half marathon, 4 miles of which was on icy roads and trails, but those views more than make up for it.|
|This highland cow watches me several times a week, I'm sure that's a bemused/incredulous expressing as he chews his food. This great looking highlander is one I used for the new "Trossachs Mountains, Trails and Lochs" strava club|
|After many weeks of cold strong winds each day the wind dropped and left Loch Venachar as calm as a mill pond.|
|At the loch's edge a bizarre stack of ice collected, perhaps a combination of wind, nightly ice formation and loch level changes had created it|
|Whatever the history of this natural conundrum the result was mesmerizing|
|What I thought was my 100th consecutive run, the sun shone once again|
These photo's just capture a fraction of all that I experienced and witnessed over the course of the past 101 days of running every day. Spectacular, invigorating, challenging and uplifting.
And looking at my training logs I look to be the fittest that I've been in my adult life, and still over two and half months training left till Fling, and four and half till my A race for the year the West Highland Way. Should I run streak all the way there?