Holiday Running Streak 2014

Today is Day 18 out of 36 of my second annual Holiday Running Streak!  The  HRS is a nation-wide challenge from Runner's World to run at least one mile each day between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.  This is often the most difficult time of the year to maintain fitness, with countless commitments, errands to run, food to prepare, gifts to wrap, parties to attend, traveling, etc.  However, it's also the most important time to make exercise a priority as we are constantly tempted by cookies, large buffets, grande peppermint mochas, food-centered work functions, calorie-filled cocktails, and general laziness as we watch Elf for the eighth time and watch the snow fall.  (Confession: Even my breakfasts involve dessert during the holidays.  I supplemented my oatmeal with a Ferrero Rocher candy and white chocolate covered Oreo this morning.  Oops!)  

For me, the HRS isn't about training (I don't have any races in the near future), and it's not about weight loss (surely one mile a day isn't enough to offset dozens of Christmas cookies!).  It's not about speed or time.  It's about making running a priority, despite the craziness of the holidays.  It's a running streak, not a workout streak, so the runs are in addition to hiking, snowshoeing, yoga, strength training, and all of the other normal exercise habits.  The running streak is about self-discipline and committing to doing when I pledged to do.  Most of all, for me the streak is about changing the question from "Am I going to run today?" to "What time am I going to run today, and how far?"

I have had some challenges in the first 18 days.  I've run in the rain, and several times in the dark.  I've had evening commitments forcing me to run before work on more than one occasion, which is frankly miserable.  (I'm a morning runner when "morning" means 8 a.m. after breakfast and coffee, not pre-6 a.m., without even a glimpse of sunrise.)  I've run when I really didn't feel well, and I've run even when dealing with some serious DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, for the non-physical therapy audience) after beginning Boot Camp last week.  I avoided stairs at work, and seriously struggled to stand up from low chairs, but by golly I ran my one mile (at an embarrassingly slow pace, I might add).  Despite the obstacles, though, I haven't missed a single day!  

I know the challenges will only increase for the remaining 18 days with multiple holiday parties to attend, extra work shifts next weekend, a 20-hour drive to Minnesota on Christmas Eve, and a jam-packed day of festivities on Christmas Day, but I'm prepared to plan ahead and squeeze in my runs everyday!

More information from Runner's World here.


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