January’s #run2017 Challenge: 10K Everyday (plus Sir Titus Trot Marathon)

February 1, 2017

When I began planning #run2017 and looking for a challenge for January I was at a bit of a loss as for what to do. I wanted the first month’s challenge to get the year off with a bang, but there wasn’t a particular race that screamed out to me, so I began looking at alternatives. Eventually I settled on the idea of running 10k everyday for all 31 days in January.

Part of the reason for choosing to run 10k everyday for January’s challenge was to make sure that I got some consistent runs in to train for later in the year. Last year I fell all too easily into a pattern of barely running between races, either through recovery or thinking I couldn’t find the time. It ultimately led to a lot of the races being much tougher than they had any need to be.

Whilst I didn’t expect to struggle with the physical aspect of the challenge, having run back to back marathons numerous times and multiple races in a day, the mental aspect was something I didn’t anticipate. The idea of getting out and running before work was never really something that appealed, especially in a cold and wet January so I often saved my runs until the evening. Somedays it ticked dangerously close to midnight and I had yet to lace up my trainers and head outside.

A couple of times I fell asleep on the sofa one evening whilst watching TV and had to battle against my body clearly telling me to go to bed, to go outside in the wind and rain to run 6.2 miles.

To add a little more difficulty to the challenge, or to make it more exciting, I opted to run a different route each time. Ultimately there are only so many different 10k loops you can run from your house so I had to get imaginative; drive a few miles up the road, run 10ks back to back either side of midnight, or just create weird looking routes on Strava.

Strong winds, freezing temperatures, snow and ice all made for a challenging month of running and I soon learnt where to (or not to) run if you fancy some nasty hills. I didn’t just have to worry about external factors adding to the difficulty of the challenge, throughout the month I was plagued by insomnia as a bout of depression reared it’s ugly head. Keeping energy levels up generally when running everyday would have been hard, that’s without doing so on only a couple of hours sleep most nights.

Sir Titus Trot

Towards the end of the month I got the opportunity as a very late entry to run my first marathon of the year, the Sir Titus Trot, and it would have been remiss of me to turn it down.

It was a race I had run a few months prior, back in September as the first of two marathons that weekend alongside the Robin Hood Marathon. Thankfully this time I would only have to contend with running 26.2 miles once, but this time instead of a nice dry, sunny day I was greeted with a very wet, and very, very muddy one.

Like most of It’s Grim Up North’s races it takes place on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, this time starting in Saltaire, heading up towards Silsden before turning round and running back towards Leeds. Twenty Eight days into January my legs were obviously feeling a bit heavy, but thankfully as the entirety of the race took place along the canal there was little climbing to worry about, if you ignore Bingley 5 Rise.

Despite running the race last year my memory of the course was a little patchy, until about 14 miles in when the towpath made way for mud for the next few miles. The persistent rain in the few days prior to the race had turned this section into a beast, almost every step was a roll of the dice between whether you’d remain on your feet or end up on your arse. I could see a couple of runners in front who lost the battle with the mud and gravity, but thankfully I was not one of them.

Although I may have come through the battle with the mud unscathed, my legs didn’t and the last 6 miles felt like a long slog towards the finish line. I didn’t have any targets in mind for the race, I knew that 28 days into a run streak I wasn’t going to be setting any spectacular records, I just wanted to finish.

And finish is what I did, it wasn’t spectacular, far from it, but it got my first marathon of the year in the bag and just three days were left to go before the end of the month, and the end of January’s challenge.

The final few days of the challenge were fairly unspectacular, my legs were definitely feeling the miles I had put in them and my body was just looking forward to going to bed at a normal time and not having to worry about needing to run 10K before I could sleep.

When I finished my final 10K on Tuesday evening there was a definite sense of relief and accomplishment. I used to run commute 7 miles to work everyday, so the idea of run streaking wasn’t new to me. However the pressure I felt at times when I had once again left it late to go for my run, was far greater than I expected. I knew running 10k would be a challenge, but I didn’t realise quite how much. For someone that has run multiple marathons in a weekend, I figured running just 10k would be fairly simple, but I ended the month with a lot of respect for those that go run streaking, and the physical and mental challenge that comes with it.

#run2017 – January

Total miles: 221
Total runs: 31
Total time: 35 hours 7 minutes
Avg. miles per day: 7.13

Miles left: 1,796

If you want to keep up to date with my #run2017 challenge and wish to sponsor me, please visit my JustGiving page.

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