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Keep Calm And Run On: Attempting The Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak Challenge

Runner's World Holiday Running Streak- Jessica LawlorI think I may have gone off the deep end.

Starting on Thanksgiving, I am going to run at least one mile every single day until New Year’s Day. That’s 35 days straight of running. With no rest days.

It’s all part of the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak Challenge.

Here are the details: Beginning on Thanksgiving, crazy runners all over the world commit to staying fit and improving their running throughout the holiday season by running at least one mile every day.

The rules are pretty simple: run. Every day. At least one mile. And no, the elliptical does not count.

A Fitness Update

This time three years ago I couldn’t even run down the block. The gym was a foreign place, I was 30 pounds heavier (just look at the before and after pictures) and I was very unhappy with myself.

But then I found running. And in running, I found myself.

I went on to complete my first race in 2011 and after that, I was hooked. More than 30 races later, along with two Broad Street Runs (2012 and 2013) and the Philadelphia Half Marathon, running has become a part of who I am.

However, that doesn’t mean that running is easy. Or that I look forward to every single run. I don’t.

And lately, I’ve seem to lost my passion for the sport and through this challenge, I hope to find it again. You see, as rewarding as running can be, it’s easy to get burned out.

Three long distance races in less than two years meant early morning workouts, weekend long runs, turning down fun plans in favor of running and many aches and pains along the way.

After Broad Street 2013, I vowed to make fitness fun again and signed up for 5Ks and discovered new passions, like hot yoga. But now I’m ready to get back into running before 2014 begins and I look toward a new, big, scary goal.

I completed 12 races in 2012…and just this past weekend achieved my goal of 13 races in 2013.

But now I need a challenge to hold me over until 2014. And that’s where this Holiday Running Streak comes in.

Why On Earth Am I Doing This?

After reading this Runner’s World article by Marc Parent, I was inspired by the author, who had done his own streak last year and emerged from the holiday season fitter and happier.

When I finished reading the article, I curiously googled “Holiday Running Streak” and was astounded by the more than 1,000 people who already made the commitment in the comments section of the challenge’s page.

This time of year is crazy. One glance at my calendar makes me want to pull my hair out. Many of the events are fun, of course, but they also take time, drain me of energy and often lead to unhealthy eating and fitness decisions.

Committing to one mile a day will force me to keep moving and will hopefully inspire me to eat better throughout the holiday season, too.

And let’s also be real about this: I’m going to Punta Cana in January and need to look good in a bikini. Surely, running every day during a time I’d otherwise be eating all the Christmas cookies I can get my hands on will help me get in vacation shape.

It’s Not Going To Be Easy

This challenge? It’s not going to be easy. Hell, it hasn’t even officially begun yet and I’m already dreading it.

Just this morning, after carefully laying out my workout clothes right next to my bed last night, I completely ignored my 4:50 a.m. alarm and skipped my planned early morning gym session. That’s not going to be allowed to happen starting Thursday.

Looking at my December calendar, I already see several potential conflicts- a work trip to Atlantic City, a fun trip to Long Island to visit a friend and plenty of evening and weekend commitments.

Completing this challenge is going to require planning ahead. It’s going to require early morning workouts, late night workouts and perhaps even a few instances of desperately needing to squeeze a workout in and running around the perimeter of my house however many times it takes just to complete the mile.

Some days, of course, I’ll do more than one mile. Some days I’m sure I’ll struggle to complete even that. The streak may not be fun 100 percent of the time, but I’m excited.

Instead of looking at the challenge in terms of mileage, when times get tough, I’m going to tell myself that committing to this challenge literally means committing to less than 15 minutes of moving per day. I can achieve that, right? Anyone can set aside just fifteen minutes.

Are You In?

If you weren’t already planning on doing the challenge, did my post convince you to join? Or at least make you think about it a little harder? This challenge will definitely be more fun (and easier to complete) with moral support.

If you’re doing the challenge, let me know in the comments. If enough people are in, I’ll create a private Facebook group where we can check in with one another.

Will You Keep Me Accountable?

If you’re not doing the challenge this year, will you at least help keep me accountable?

Throw me a tweet here and there and ask how I’m doing. You can use the challenge’s official hashtag #RWRunStreak to make sure all the other streakers see your message, too. You could also send an email or leave a comment here on the blog.

Okay, I’ve laid my goal out on the line. Here we go! Any tips for me as I embark on this crazy challenge? Leave your thoughts in the comments!

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Meet Jessica

I live by the saying “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” and help others do the same to reach their biggest, brightest goals. Read my story here.

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