I STARTED A RUN STREAK ON DECEMBER 1. Today is the 31st day of that streak and I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to continue into 2021. As a challenge (is it too easy?), as safe activity for someone with knee osteoarthritis (are days of complete rest necessary?), and as a fitness strategy (will it interfere with strength training?), is it smart? Then the title of a runnersworld.com article caught my eye, “Is running every day more harmful than helpful?”
For those contemplating this simple NDO (No Days Off) New Year's Resolution the advice from author Danielle Zickl might support your decision to run or not run at least 1 mile every every, single, day over a significant number of days. There might be other variations, but a one-miler per day is the most common.
I did not find that the advice pointed me in one particular direction; it supported either choice, yes or no. I decided to persevere because the small effort and sense of accomplishment it brought would contribute daily to my peace of mind and happiness.
What do you think?
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
FINAL TRAINING DAYS BEFORE 5K EVENT ON NEW YEARS EVE OR NEW YEAR'S DAY 2021
DURING THIS SHORT HOLIDAY WEEK, you will be staying active until race day. Today’s task for runners is a simple 30-minute walk; a foam roll session is scheduled for walkers. Even though each workout is relatively brief it’s important to perform warm-up routines beforehand. Consider performing a daily MYRTLs (hip girdle mobility) session to help keep you in good form to make the 5K effort during Thursday’s NY Eve or Friday’s NY Day event.
To ready yourself for racing, short runs and walks should be paced on the fast side, with moderate intensity, like would be planned for an official taper before a long-distance race.
Trainers and coaches say that during a formal taper, the idea is to decrease mileage but remind your body it will be going fast soon by keeping shorter runs at moderate to vigorous levels of intensity (paced about 10 seconds per mile slower than an expected 5k race pace). Not at the slower speed of easy long runs.
You may not have been training with a set race pace in mind, but the general idea is not to pace the last few run or walk sessions too easy, especially if a faster rather than a slower finish is a personal goal.
Good luck in your events! If you cant find one nearby, run or walk in a personal race of your own design. If others aren't planning to join you, participate solo. Don't let circumstances deter you from reaching the goal of competing in a "resolution" New Year race. By continuing to train after Thanksgiving you've earned the rights to this accomplishment.
Have a wonderful between-the-holidays week.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
WHATEVER SPECIAL DAY YOU'RE CELEBRATING, Earned Runs wishes it holds the promise of kinder days to come for all. RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BELIEVE YOU CAN CARRY ON IN SPITE OF HECTIC DAYS. Runners: the December 25 run: walk session is replaced by a short brisk walk and foam roll. You are getting down to business the end of this week and running 3 miles on December 26. That’s nearly the full distance of the upcoming race.
With the prospect of a totally fresh 2021 start in few days, excitement may be building on this long run day. Possibly you’ll have no trouble leaping out of bed in the early morning to begin it with an invigorating workout. Or, after accomplishing nearly every task on your Saturday ‘to-do’ list, you might be looking forward to a calming and relaxing run at day’s end.
Walkers: The schedule continues without a change on Christmas Day. The high intensity interval training (HIIT) walk will have been performed early in the week, on Tuesday, so the remainder should present much of a problem.
Everyone, have a wonderful between the holidays week.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
NOTE: The full plans can be downloaded from the RESOURCES page.
IMAGINE WAKING UP ON JANUARY 1, 2021. YOU SECURE A CUP OF COFFE, TEA, SODA, GREEN SMOOTHIE, OR OTHER MORNING BOOST BEVERAGE and sit down to plan the day. There are the usual ‘housekeeping’ tasks to perform of course, which might include deciding what to eat, completing a personal hygiene routine, tidying up, and responding to recent communications. These are activities of daily living.
However, this being New Year’s Day, you might also venture out and buy a new calendar, find one online, or pull out a plain pad of paper/blank document and decide to begin scheduling the next month or quarter. There might be several regular general New Year resolutions, the ones made almost every year regarding healthy living, that need translating into actions. Or a special few fitness goals that you promised to make a dedicated effort to achieve.
There’s a big snag; Covid-19 is still around, and this January 1 previews a year that will continue to be much more complicated than ever before. Gym memberships may have been cancelled (or the gym shuttered), studio fitness sessions may be less accessible, or your budget for such splurges has shrunk or disappeared due to decreased work hours, layoffs, or other pandemic related shut-down restrictions. Or you may face filling in at home as full- or part-time schoolteacher or day-care provider for children who aren’t reliably going to attend school in person.
That morning, the first day of 2021 will be barely 6-12 hours old, and you might find yourself already discouraged by circumstances. The potential obstacles to improved physical fitness in 2021 are too many to cover here. The point is this: you may be defeated by them much earlier in the upcoming year than ever before. The solution may be to begin serious and specific planning now, in 2020, the year so many have declared they want to see behind them.
Earned-Runs encourages, as it has in previous years, the use of the last December week to formulate a MENTAL fitness and health plan for 2021. Start thinking about 2021 in 2020.
Decide now NOT to set New Year’s Day as the kick-off date for acting on hastily conceived resolutions. Instead, spend early January developing the specifics and finalizing the details of a manageable program which extends only through the end of the first quarter of 2021. Set a start date of January 9-10, a weekend.
Commit to begin planning NOW the fitness activities of January through the end of March 2021. In mid-March progress can be assessed, and goals can be reviewed and adjusted for the next quarter, April through June. And the process can be repeated for the third (July through September) and finally fourth (October through December) quarters.
Challenges to consider in this first NEW YEAR quarter can include long-view general goals that must by nature be followed through during the remainder of 2021, like starting to run, run/walk, or walk long distances, generally building strength or balance, or gaining/losing a certain amount of muscle/fat. The key is to transform vague dreams into concrete outcomes, by structuring a progression of daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly activities that move you closer to ultimate goals over a full year of four seasons.
A good first step is honestly assessing current (outside the hectic holidays) fitness activities and plan to build on them. Beware, it’s crazy easy to overestimate work performed and underestimate inactive time.
Need some goal setting ideas? The list below starts with lower expectations and progressively increases:
Consider using this last calendar week of December 2020 to mentally start planning New Year fitness and health resolutions. Hold off starting the clock on keeping them until you have a fully developed program, about a week into 2021 rather than January 1. Those who have the opportunity to enjoy down-time and are going to be relaxing can use it to research ideas in depth.
Avoid making a mistake at the end of 2020, one that could increase your risk of not following through on 2021 health resolutions. Begin investigating and devising a reasonable approach to improving fitness for the year, with detailed scheduling of only the first quarter.
Be ready to kick-off that plan after week 1 of January rather than day one, and enjoy the holiday with a light heart and firm resolution to succeed in 2021.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
*Many runners and walkers dream of gaining glory by completing a marathon. Equally satisfying experiences can be had from finishing other distance races. An article from runnersworld.com reviews 10 marathon training programs. The developers also offer shorter distance plans, and some are free.
DON'T BE AFRAID TO START RUNNING says Monica Olivas in an ACTIVE.com slideshow. Olivas identifies "7 common running fears" and provides humorous images and arguments to ease the minds of those who might be considering this move.
In a time crunch? Clicking though the slides takes a few minutes at most.
Although FDR's famous quote about fear was made in his first presidential inaugural address in 1933, responding to the mood of the nation in dark times of the Depression, it can be applied to other situations in which fear can be immobilizing. Being afraid to start running is far down on the list of serious fears but it potentially can keep us from achieving significant fitness and health goals.
For a little fun and encouragement, check out this slideshow. There will be a future Earned Runs blog post about initiating next year's resolutions sooner rather than later..
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
CORRECTIONS HAVE BEEN MADE TO BOTH 5K TRAINING PLANS!!!
NOTE THAT THE PREVIOUSLY POSTED PLANS HAVE BEEN EDITED to correct the dates. Both runners and walkers plan were short one day! Sorry to have made this calendar mistake. The extra day for each is easy and a basically reminder to get moving purposely for a short time.
2020 Runner Plan PDF
2020 Walker Plan PDF
Runners: you will be continuing on a rather leisurely schedule and at the end of this week only running 2 miles. You won’t be asked to cover the full distance of the end of the year event until December 26.
Walkers: you should be settling into a pattern of 4 days of walking 30 minutes plus a longer Saturday session, which will be repeated next week.
It’s possible that both walkers and runners will find the rest of life intensely busy, in a good way, as many activities this week might involve preparing for or celebrating the holidays. Fortunately, the two plans are designed to help you stay on a training schedule that is not terribly demanding, but which provides sufficient structure to motivate aerobic physical activity leading to a year-end (or year-beginning) event. As noted in an earlier post, training is set at a “keep open” level.
Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the last full week before December 25 though January 1, perhaps using training sessions as personal time to unwind and de-stress.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
NOW THAT YOU STARTED EASING BACK INTO TRAINING the relaxed nature of these plans should be apparent. The days of preparation between Thanksgiving and the December holidays usually are busy, but this year the rush is complicated by shopping and travel restrictions and earlier shipping deadlines.
Runners and walkers may be feeling uncharacteristically fatigued from the uncertainty of trying to celebrate traditional days of togetherness as days of separation. It’s a different hectic experience. Thus, the reasoning behind the low key strategy of these training plans from previous years, on a “keep open” level of intensity, also will work well this year.
In medical terms, life-saving fluids or medications might be delivered to a patient through an intravenous (IV) tube or ‘line’ at a rate that is “wide open”, such that the valve regulating fluid flow rate does not obstruct the tube lumen at all. This high flow rate is used in emergencies. Lower rates of flow can be achieved as well. Once there is no need to deliver meds or fluids intravenously the needle and attached tubing apparatus can be removed. However, because it’s not always easy to re-establish this portal for delivery of IV fluids, one practice is to leave it in for a bit longer, until all possible emergencies have passed. The fluid flow in this time is set at a “keep open” rate, just enough to allow the line to stay open and usable.
Thus, these are not ambitious training plans. There’s just enough running or walking to keep you in shape to comfortably run a 5k race again on New Year’s Eve or Day. It’s not designed to help you set a new a PR, but to be able to show up and cross the finish line.
If you cannot locate a virtual race to run or walk on these days, remember you can use or request 2020 Earned Runs Bibs for the occasion. Use this training to reaffirm belief in yourself as an athlete; you’ll be proving that you can maintain fitness over the holiday season with a simple commitment to continue working toward participating in a goal race.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
'On to the New Year 2020 RUN PLAN
'On to the New Year 2020 WALK PLAN
Updated December 7, 2020.
LOOK FOR A CHRISTMAS ‘STAR’ ON THE EVENING OF THE WINTER SOLSTICE
NOT SINCE THE 13th CENTURY HAS THIS BRIGHT SIGHT BEEN VISIBLE IN THE WINTER SKY. An article in the NYPost.com explains that while the conjunction of the two large planets Jupiter and Saturn occurs about every 20 years, this year’s spectacle will be, well, spectacular!
The two shining celestial bodies’, although hundreds of millions of miles apart in reality, will follow paths that cause them to appear very close together to earthlings looking up in the sky. The last time this close alignment occurred was in 1226!
NASA says to “look fast” because “both planets will set shortly after sunset” on December 21, 2020. Their instructions are to watch for the planets, that may almost appear to the naked eye as one giant star, “above the western horizon after sunset” if clear skies are expected.
A reference is not provided in the NYPost.com piece, but it says that some astronomers believe the Star of Bethlehem reported by watchers thousands of years ago at the time of the Nativity story, was the conjunction of three planets, Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars.
It will be a wonderful sight for those blessed with a cloudless starry night.
UPCOMING NATIONAL UGLY SWEATER DAY
An Earned Runs blog post in 2016 identified National Ugly Sweater Day (USD), the third Thursday of December, as falling on the 16th. In 2020, the date for the cross-country celebration of unsightly warm knit tops, is set for December 20. This is the day before the winter solstice, the official beginning of the astrological winter season.
If looking for an activity that can be performed safely with those in your own household or in spirit with others living apart from you on that day, an USD Walk or Run might be fun. Kids and adults may enjoy finding an unfashionable Christmas- or winter-themed piece of clothing, even if not officially a sweater, to wear on an outdoor 5k aerobic exercise session.
I must admit the edgy fun of this official day has been slightly diminished by the now purposeful manufacture and sale of “ugly” sweaters specifically for holiday display. In earlier days, before marketers embraced the concept, a good deal of effort was required to find such a clothes item.
It was usually a sweater purchased new, years and sometimes decades before, that had been packed away and forgotten. It may have been a personal garment or one belonging to a family member or friend, which the owner is ashamed to wear in public. It’s perfect for USD!
Unfortunately, I no longer own an ‘ugly’ holiday sweater. The trend to organize, tidy up, and live cleanly has meant any decent contenders were donated to charity. However, after this year I plan to save apparel selections showing exceptionally poor taste as potential candidates for future years’ celebrations.
Perhaps rather than shopping for/buying one, decorating a sweater, sweatshirt or t-shirt with old holiday tree ornaments or decorations would serve the same purpose if everyone can’t find something truly ugly for the outing.
A BEAUTIFUL REFLECTION ABOUT OUTDOOR WINTER EXERCISE
Jonathan Beverly provides a lovely perspective on running outside on the snowiest of days for PodiumRunner.com. Some who have memories of running on days when the air was brisk and crowded with snowflakes will wish they could have described their experiences as well. Those who have not or cannot because of the climates in which they live might long for such opportunities this year after reading his piece.
Running is one way to find the magic, but walking, hiking, snowshoeing, and fat tire biking are other means. The reminiscences and mental images Beverly created are worth the read for inspiration, and motivation to NOT automatically head for the treadmill or stationary bike when the weather outside seems frightful. In my case as with the author’s, it is true that some of my most vivid memories of running are in winter wonderland conditions.
Thanks to Jonathon Beverly for sharing.
RATHER THAN DREAD THE COMING OF WINTER, perhaps there are reasons to welcome its arrival in this pandemic year. So many have experienced dark fears and darker days over the past months and seasons. Cold weather, snow, and icy rain may be signaling the beginning of the last season this disease will hold so many in its terrible grip.
RUN & MOVE HAPPY!
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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