For November I set myself a last minute Sweat Pledge challenge to run every day the number of miles as the day of month (e.g. 10 miles on 10th etc.). The concept was to see how far through the month I can go before cracking.
During the latter part of 'summer' my activity waned because I need a 'purpose' to go out and exhert effort - things 'for me' tend to face inwards which are usually thought and contemplation which tend to be sedentary. I do love to go out and explore but even then its usually a reconnaissance exercise to encourage others to visit the places.
Therefore I did two things:
1) In October, I started a parent's run group from my son's previous primary school - bascially heading out for a run/walk 3 times a week (as soon as kids are dropped off in the morning). Targeted at beginners rather than already seasoned runners. BTW this is still going strong in 2018 and now a few of the group are looking at doing their first-time 10k event in March!
2) Since I didn't set myself a physical challenge this year (because I'm focussing on others), I was getting itchy to push for something. Therefore, decided on a November run challenge - in the past I'd seen Strava friends attempting it and knew it was tough - especially if you're not a natural runner like myself!
The first few days were as expected...i.e. I would have been running anyway with my run groups and more miles than needed. It was good to get to about the 7th November as it meant I could start to take more interesting routes. These days 10k is that 'nice' distance where you feel like you've done something but it's not tiring.
Week 2 (6...11 miles) was the cross-over in to being more thoughtful - trying not to push in a way that would make you burn out later but still have interesting routes. I also began to get in to the rigour of after-run nutrition and leg care; for me this began to include recovery milkshakes, decent breakfast, foam roller, raised legs and eventually hot water bottle some nights. Even this early in the month, I still hit my 'most miles in a week' that I had ever run (previously 75 miles, now 77 miles).
Week 3 (12+ miles) as expected is where it was going to bite. I was enjoying the distances to reach places, but think I misjudged day 14; the theory had been running in a valley alongside a stream would be flat, unfortunately I started exploring and that took me over 1200ft with trail footwork. As a single run, that would have been fine but as part of a run-streak for me was testing.
Daily recovery, not running, was now the focus and primary time usage. I was pleased to see my active-heart-rate had shifted from 150s to 120s and recovery nudged to 70-80bpm (always good to look for motivation).
From day 16 I was taking the most gradual inclines I could find (without just doing street reps) - which is tricky when you live half way up a hill! Fortunately, we are less than a mile away from the canal which is well-maintained, though I do find flat running a little dull and mentally harder than hills!
OK, I got to day 19, and whilst I was very tired, I wasn't exhausted nor overly achy. I had planned to break the day in to an early 10k and a late half-marathon, so set out 08:30 on the freezing Sunday morning. However, after only a mile I started to get a pain across the top of my foot, like the shoe lace is too tight - unfortunately I recognized the symptom as it's the only thing that's stopped me running earlier this year.
Obviously I still ran on for a while with the hope it may work itself out, but it wasn't. I knew I could hobble on and in all liklihood complete the day but it was now very likely I would induce an injury that would stop me running for at least a few days. So, what was the priority?
a) This adhoc challenge?
b) The 5 run lead sessions I had each week?
Well, my primary focus this year is to support others, so that was a no-brainer - had this been a planned challenge, I'd have made sure I didn't have the other commitments and carry on until totally out of action.
However, for one last push, I did know I had reached 95 miles for the Mon-Sun Strava week, so I figured I couldn't leave it there - I had to complete the 10k and reach a lovely round 100 weekly running miles.
I have no regrets about stopping at day 19 and take away lots of pride and knowledge from it: