Tag Archives: runstreak

Breaking the cycle

Wow I have been running daily for 18 months, I am a fully fledged #runstreaker. Forcing miles here and there just to make sure I got my daily run in. I was never going to stop this streak, I was going to be one of those guys who had run daily for 10 years, the I got injured and it all went wrong…. Or did it?

In all honestly the running I was doing for the most part was pathetic! It was silly little miles, 3 here 4 there and sometimes just the 1 mile, that magic mile to ensure the streak continued. I could have been much more productive with my time, even the 10 or 20 minutes that some runs took. I could have cross trained, I could have cycled and enjoyed it, I could have spent more time at the gym lifting weights building specific muscles that would have helped me running the longer distances that I enjoyed, but I didn’t. I spent at least 6 months just getting by without anything changing, I wasn’t getting any fitter or any stronger, something had to change and call it fate call it Chris Asquith call it what you like, but upon sprinting down hill up the Pentland Hills I managed to thump my right foot down hard and get an instant surge of pain unlike anything I had ever felt wash over my right knee. I knew it was bad. I hobbled the last few miles to the car and headed home.

Now to cut a long boring story short, I done what I always do, kept going, strapped it up and waited for it to go away, some 3 months later it hadn’t gone away and I still wasn’t able to run or cycle or play football and I was starting to get worried. After weeks going through the NHS I was on a 3 month waiting list to see about my knee. Once I was told this I went and got myself checked out. In about 1 minute 11 seconds I was relieved to find out it was nothing serious but something rather annoying. It was a recurring problem I had with my hips being incorrectly aligned and having a weak core, and instability in my hips (something cross training and weights could have helped with). All the symptoms I had/have on and off over the last year or so are linked to this, my piriformis pain, my runner’s knee, my ITBS, the pain in my calf and hamstring. Ironically all the running was just keeping everything moving until I crashed my right foot down one sunny evening up the hills and twisted my knee and further abused my body.  I am now doing daily strengthening and flexibility exercises/stretches to correct all the wrongs I had forced my body into by my laziness and obsession with doing a silly run daily.

Poor me poor me I know, but is there something positive about all this Stuart? Why yes there is Mon Ami, let me explain.

Food

The first thing I thought to myself when I knew I wasn’t able to continue eating the way I had been, which was “I can eat anything I run every day”. No the reality was my diet, whilst not terrible was FULL of carbs (well I am running daily I need the fuel) and I was most certainly overeating, especially the late night cheese raids that were almost daily occurrences. The carbs seemed to disappear without much effort really when I started to take notice of my intake. I just wanted more vegetables and by doubling my portions of greens there was so much food on my plate something had to go. Secondly due to being quite ill for a few days around the same time, I hadn’t eaten in almost 2 days so my stomach had shrunk and suddenly I couldn’t finish my usual sized portions, let alone go back for the nightly cheese session. So all of a sudden I had cut carbs and reduced my portion size. I thought to myself right then lets get serious about the intake of food whilst I’m unable to do any cardio and make sure I don’t put any weight on over the summer whilst I recover and who knows maybe I’ll shift a few lbs at the same time, win win. 4 or 5 months later I am eating barely any carbs in my diet and have lost over a stone in weight without really trying or setting out to do so (annoying isn’t it).

Weights

Right then, I can’t do any cardio, even swimming is causing me discomfort I must have done something pretty bad, maybe a tear, maybe ligaments!! I’m not doing anything until I find out what’s wrong with my knee I thought. But I have a gym membership so all I can do really is lift some weights. I had gone through phases of enjoying lifting weights to hating them. I was doing half-hearted session after or before a run thinking, if I double this up with my running I will be super strong and super fit! It turns out a combination of doing pathetic little runs and lifting weights that were probably not light enough to make any difference, didn’t in fact do anything like that, it just fed into me thinking I was fitter and stronger than I actually was. It wasn’t until I got injured I realised how weak I really was.

Until recently I was just lifting a few weights, doing a few bicep curls, a few lat pull downs and using some of the other machines in the gym without any real focus or intention. Now I am following a proper program and find an hour fly’s by and I’m almost wishing I had more time to do more, than the other way around wishing the time away just to say I had done half an hour of weights after a run!. I only ever use free weights now (machines have their place though) and understand the muscles I’m working much better than before. And best of all I am really enjoying lifting weights which surprised me. I don’t enjoy however, spending so much time with giant tanned men in tiny vests grunting. Anyway back to the gym…

Overall my diet is much better, I have lost easily over a stone in weight and added lean muscle. Maybe everyone needs to take some time off training to reflect on what it is you are actually doing and of what benefit it is actually of, or like me are you just getting by, quoting facts and figures that are maybe not as impressive as they could have been with a little more focus and knowledge.

“If you think you are training hard enough, double it”

The 1 year #RunStreak review

Well I done it, I ran everyday for 365 consecutive days! The 1 year RunStreak is in the bag. Is it a big deal? Not really, it’s just part of my daily life now. I’m currently writing this blog and don’t actually know what day of the streak I’m on, I’ve stopped counting but I’m still running.

I can’t now remember the main reason why I started the streak, I guess it was to try and become a bit fitter for some challenges I had coming up in 2013, the bulk of these being running challenges.  I also felt I had been a bit lazy in preparation for previous events and suffered for the lack of training. I also wanted to be stronger so as not to get injured as I was looking forward to the year ahead and didn’t want to miss out on anything I had already planned.

At first I guess it was quite exciting doing a week, a month, 2 months, closing in on 100 days and all the milestones like that. It still was sort of like that right up till the big 365. But it was also the additional training that I enjoyed and could feel the benefit. However many of the runs were boring, repetitive and forced. As you know over the course of a year there are many many things that go on that make it easy to make an excuse to not go for a run, but I believe anyone no matter the circumstances can get out for a mile or 2 every day without fail. Also you don’t need to have all the fancy gear, on a few occasions due to circumstance I ran home from work in a work shirt, trousers and my trainers!

Instead of going on and on about the year, I think I will list a small selection of pros and cons of my RunStreak experience

Pros; 

  • Increased millage – You will instantly increase your weekly mileage
  • Alcohol intake – With a morning run planned you may not have that 2nd, 3rd or 4th drink. Or in my case not even bother at all
  • Discipline – You will become more disciplined in many aspects of what you eat and drink with the constant thought of a run the next day.
  • Costs nothing but your time
  • You will get quicker & fitter without even really trying
  • It’s a cool thing to do I guess, running daily for a year
  • You find amazing new off road places to run
  • You learn how calming running alone can be
  • You listen to lots of new music

Cons;

  • Running around the same places day in day out is very boring
  • You have to run everyday!
  • Fitting in a run if you have a busy day and night can be tough but not impossible
  • Running with a hangover
  • Running when you are ill
  • Having loads and loads of running gear to wash, constantly
  • Buying new runners as you will wear your new ones out quickly (depending on mileage) – This is also a pro, everyone loves new trainers
  • It gets boring
  • Really boring

Summer Holiday

By May 2013 on top of various other small trips and adventures, I had already ran a slippy, hilly section of the Cateran Trail, a ‘Castle to Castle’ marathon, 35 miles up and over the beautiful Isle of Arran & 40 miles of the Speyside Way. And then I went on holiday. Not literally but from all adventures it seemed. This was not a conscious choice as I remember, but I think I was just enjoying the summer. Plus no one likes running when it’s hot!!

For many people the summer offers an escape, it offers that time to go on their own adventures. For me it was time to chill out and enjoy a few beers and a few naps in the sun. Plus I had nothing to train for. This was the main reason I could do nothing and not feel guilty; I had nothing to feel guilty about. I didn’t have to get up early and go for that cycle or go for that run and get those miles in. But I was getting up early and I was sort of training because I had become the latest idiot to be stuck in the middle of a Runstreak. A Runstreak I was somehow on since January the 3rd (I couldn’t face it on New Year’s Day or the day after). I started writing this on day 330 of said streak (I checked this 3 times as it didn’t seem right, I don’t count it daily but just check every now and then) scared at how quickly the year goes when you sort of count it down. Anyway once I get past the year mark I guess its only right I jot down my thoughts on running every single day of a year no matter what. I’ll be honest most of it will be about me not wanting to run or not enjoying running, but there will be some positive elements I’m sure of that, I just need to think really hard about what they are, or make things up.

So like me you’re thinking what is the point of this blog Stuart, what are you writing about, why are you writing this. The answer is the same I give to anyone who asks why I’m running each day…”I don’t know”…perhaps like the running I felt lazy for not writing anything for 6 months and felt it was time to write something down. After the summer I did go on a 4 day cycle around Scotland with my wife and more recently took a trip with a couple of friends to run some hills in Iceland, so perhaps I should write a couple of new blogs about these trips for posterity. Then I will have to write about the Runstreaking and I also have a new challenge planned in for the last Saturday of January that will be worth a little blog.

I really need to think of a better way to sign off at the end of each blog.

Oh did I mention I missed my wedding anniversary when I went running in Iceland…

Stuart