Tennis Shoes And Water Bottle

I Ran One Mile Every Day for 30 Days - Here's What I Learned

A couple months ago I learned about the 75HARD challenge and my immediate reaction was, “Oooh I kinda wanna try that.”  However, after about five minutes of consideration, I realized I definitely should not try it.  For those of you who don’t know, 75HARD is a challenge created by Andy Frisella where you do five tasks every single day for 75 consecutive days and if you miss anything at all, you have to start over - back to day one.  The tasks are both physical and mental and the whole point is to overpower your mind and get in the habit of prioritizing your mental and physical health.

I have a pretty addictive personality and I already have a lot on my plate this semester, so I didn’t think it was a good idea to push my limits.  Everyone I’ve heard talk about 75HARD has said that it is certainly not for everyone (nothing is) and I just knew it was not for me.  I was afraid that I would be too hard on myself at a time when I was already trying to get out of a slump.

However, I desperately wanted to get back into a regular workout routine and do something challenging.  I was craving something new that would be rewarding but completely on my own terms, so I could fit it into my busy, beginning of the semester schedule.  So, I decided to do my own mini ‘30hard’.

My challenge for myself was to run a mile every single day for 30 days.  Somedays I could run more than a mile, but I had to at least get a mile in.  I also decided to allow myself two days where I could walk my mile, in case my body was screaming for a break or I was hungover or something. 

I chose one mile because I spent all of quarantine upping my stamina and training for a 15k road-race (that, of course, never happened) and I knew I was in good enough shape to get a mile done in 10 minutes or less no matter how sore or tired I was.  No matter how busy I get, I have 10 minutes to dedicate to myself.  There is no excuse for not allowing myself 10 minutes to worry about nothing but moving my body and doing something I truly love.

If you are thinking about doing something like this, please know that our bodies require REST — full rest days where we do nothing but stretch,recover, lay down. Our bodies are not meant to go every single day and we should always take at least one rest day a week.  This challenge is a weird thing that can be really dangerous, so no matter what, we need to listen to our bodies.  I would normally never, ever go 30 days without a rest day and I do not recommend it.  I made sure to stretch extra long every day, drink more water than usual, and get enough sleep.  I don’t think we should do challenges like this more than once or twice a year. They should be done purely to challenge our mental barriers, to create healthy habits, and to prove to ourselves that we can do it — not to push our bodies to the point of breaking down.  We should pick goals that are simple and that we can physically complete without much effort.  That way we are working on becoming repetitive and mentally strong, not absolutely positively in shape and strong.  Do not go into a challenge like this with the dream of looking a certain way or hitting a certain mile time or lifting a certain weight.

The day I was set to begin my challenge, it was pouring all day.  Usually I don’t mind running in the rain, but that day I absolutely did not want to.  So, I didn’t. It was my very last “I start tomorrow!” day.  I took this lazy, rainy day as just another sign that I needed to do this challenge.  I was making excuses and that’s what I wanted to overcome.

While I’m writing this it is Friday and I finished my 30 days earlier today and I honestly don’t have a ton to say about my experience.  I’m glad I did it because it feels damn good right now.  I wanted to quit so many times.  These last eight days were the hardest for me, but I powered through and I’m proud.

Sunday, I wasn’t even busy or tired, but I didn’t want to run. At all. I actually said, “I literally never want to run again.” I was being dramatic, but it took everything to lace up my shoes and get moving.  I genuinely was debating stopping and thinking about if I would actually be disappointed in myself.  The only reason I did go was because I was less than a week from being done.  I opted to just get it down.  I thought it was kind of odd that I had the hardest time during the last week.  I thought I would kind of be used to it by then, but I was OVER IT instead.

I also noticed that at the halfway mark, I felt my best physically.  I’ve had shin splints and calf issues for years and I’m kind of used to just hurting a little during my runs.  But a couple weeks in, I had no pain for the first time in… I don’t even know how long.  I had four or fivedays where I felt great and was moving really well.  The pain came back a bit but actually hasn’t been as frequent or strong since.  I can’t really make sense of this but I definitely like it.

The top thing I learned from this challenge is that I can indeed fit a run (or workout or yoga sesh) into every single day - even when I’m super busy all day or have to go to the gym at 9:00 PM or feel tired or stressed. Since I was competing with myself and trying to reach a specific goal, I was dedicated to making it work.  I really proved a point to myself and I hope that I keep fitting runs (four to six times a week instead) into my days after this challenge.

Honestly, I don’t think running became a habit through this - it was still a very conscious decision to get up and run each day.  I still had to make myself do it and think about it beforehand - mostly because if I didn’t set an exact time to run, I would get too busy and fail to go. But maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and have the urge to run, I don’t know.  I just don’t think my days will feel incomplete without a run, but I could be wrong.  

Finally, I’m surprised at how well my body responded to this.  I haven’t ran this many consecutive days — ever.  During my track and field days, I’m sure I got close but we legally had to have one day off a week so usually I obeyed that rule.  I thought my legs would be dead or super sore but I can’t remember one day where my BODY didn’t want to run.  My mind was the only problem.  Somedays, I planned to run three miles and then decided to stop and walk half way through, but even then, 9/10 times that was because of my brain wanting to stop. I definitely could tell when my legs were tired but it was primarily only when I had done a lot of hills — which is normal.  I hate hills.

I’m glad I did this and I think it was a good idea to get out of my slump, but I have to admit, it wasn’t as groundbreaking as I thought it would be.  I’m not a changed woman or anything, but, I am taking some lessons and encouraging thoughts away from the experience, and that’s really all I can ask for.