When I made this goal a few weeks ago, I thought it would be kinda hard. Now here I am, reflecting upon its completion and thinking I should have set the bar a little higher. That’s not to say there weren’t moments of difficulty, but it really wasn’t nearly as challenging as I originally anticipated.That said, I did learn a few things from this arbitrary challenge I gave myself, and I’d like to pass them on to those of you who might be considering any sort of running goal.
So here it is, my best non-expert (but spoken-from-experience) advice on how to run 100 miles in 25 days:
1. Get out the door. It’s always the hardest part.
“…but it’s raining/cold/locust-infested outside!”
“…but I’m tired/hungover/incapacitated with desire to finish this season of (insert show here)!”
There are always a million excuses not to work out, but I can’t think of a single time I’ve regretted a workout AFTER the fact. So shut your face. Lace your shoes. Get out the door.
2. Plan ahead. One of my plans for this month was to break my PR for distance in a single run, which actually didn’t happen (hey, I need a goal for February anyway, right?) Part of that was due to a realization of a few logistics that need to be worked out. A rule of thumb for extended workout sessions is that you should have some sort of refueling replenishment after about an hour of constant exercise. That means you have to carry it with you, or have somewhere to make a pit stop for replenishment. Finding places to put things when you have to run with them for a couple of hours can be problematic, so I’m planning to invest in a running belt.
For now, I’ll keep lacing my house keys onto my shoes:
3. Yoga mat + rolling pin + ibuprofen + Salonpas® = effective, simple pain relief and prevention. To elaborate: get a good yoga mat for post-workout stretching sessions (and some basic yoga moves, if you please.) The rolling pin is an acceptable, cheap alternative to the ripoff known as The Stick which will come in handy for working out knots in calves, hamstrings after long runs. Ibuprofen will help minimize the post-run inflammation in your muscles. Finally, Salonpas® are these magical little stickers of joy that you can just slap on any sore muscle and get serious relief within minutes. Their topical analgesics will go to work to relieve pain in the area which subsequently allows the muscles to relax. Ahhh, feels good.
Sports injuries are a big deal, and I’m no expert on them. I’m also lucky enough to have never suffered from a major one. Now that I’ve all but discredited myself on the issue, let me state my strong opinion: I think a lot of people tend to underestimate their exercise abilities, overreact to exercise-related aches and pains and then use said pains as an excuse to quit. I’ve had my share of knee and foot pain, muscle soreness, etc., but in my experience it has worked to push through it…with care. You should obviously exercise caution when you start any new type of exercise program, but there are lots of easy, cheap ways to prevent, and later treat, the aches and pains that are bound to come when you exert yourself more than you’re accustomed to.
4. Regular workout playlist facelifts. Some of you run without music in your ears, and that is truly remarkable to me. Music entertains and encourages me through every minute of every run. I guess if you don’t need it, kudos, but if you do, I recommend updating your playlist weekly-ish to keep it new and exciting. Here are some additions from my most recent playlist facelifts:
5- Livin’ Joy – Don’t Stop Movin’ (90s throwback FTW!)
5. Make it a game. Check out my last post on how I made running into a game to overcome discouraging thoughts.
6. Get over yourself. Millions of people run. Many of them run more than you and I ever will. Be inspired by other runners, but don’t think you’re awesome or superior for running. It’s a choice, and a great one at that, but just be grateful that you’re physically able to run and that you’ve tapped in on one of life’s secret pleasures. Run for YOU. It’s one of the best feelings in the world to love to run, and some people will never know that. Make it your goal to encourage others and appreciate the gift you’ve found.
Happy (running) trails to you…until we meet again!