15 Days through the eyes of a Challenge Finisher. What is it like?

RunWithIan 15 Day Run/Walk Streak by Tanya Folliot, 2 December 2020



Day 1 -

Signing up for a running streak while recovering from a knee-niggle may not be the wisest move, but the knowledge that the minimum daily distance to complete the challenge is just 1 mile and that I can walk it if needed is just the push I need. In the lead up to the streak I take a week’s rest from running and feel ready to start the next 15 days. Donning a knee support recommended by my physio, day one is a 4 mile evening run around Kenilworth’s winter circuit. I run with a friend, it’s a steady paced chatty run and the miles tick away easily. There’s a slight pull to my knee during the last mile so it feels right to stop when we do. I get home and log the miles on the #runwithian website. It’s super easy to do and immediately an e-mail confirmation arrives to say the miles have been logged. Phew! It feels great to be back in a regular exercise pattern. Let day 2 commence!


Day 2 -

I am pushed for time today but have some space between work so head out late morning for a couple of miles down the Greenway. Ordinarily I don’t think I would have gone out today, with the run from last night still fresh in my mind I would have convinced myself there was no need. However, the knowledge of the running streak and the fact that there are many others finding the time to do it pushes me out of the door and I do a quicker 2-miles down the Greenway. It’s a fresh wintery day and I play my music loud and enjoy the freedom of being outside running on my own. I get back 20 minutes later; blood pumping and heart singing and feel very happy I made the effort.


Day 3 -

The brightest of mornings today. It’s such a beautiful cold sunny day and I decide to tackle the May Day 10K route - 3 laps around the perimeter of Abbey Fields. It’s hilly and steep and when I attempted this run a couple of weeks ago I had to abandon it due to knee pain. I put on my knee support and head out into the winter sun. I run with Ian, the man himself. We do an easy pace and chat about the Challenge, it’s great to hear that so many have signed up and are enjoying it too. My knee feels easier but there is still some slight pull when running downhill. We do a steady 5k with the hope of completing the full 10K before the 15 days are up.

Day 4 -

With work and kids I can’t find the time to get out for a run in the day so head out in the evening for a steady few miles around Kenilworth. It’s dark and cold and it’s the last thing I feel like doing at 8pm but I drag myself out. I feel better instantly and do a few miles around the lit street lit around Kenilworth. As usual I record my run on the runwithian website when I get in. I also take a look at the RunWithIan Facebook Members page and it’s great seeing pictures of other running friends who are making the effort to go out early or late to complete the challenge.


Day 5 -

I have just half an hour to spare today so I head off for a quick run down the Greenway with a loop of Crackley Woods. The temperature has dropped and it’s bright but bitterly cold as I step out the front door. The cold nearly sends me straight back inside but within minutes of running at a faster pace I’m toasty warm. This is one of my favourite things about running – creating your own central heating. It’s beautiful running around the woods. I don’t play music this time but just enjoy the calm sounds of nature. I get back home feeling completely restored.


Day 6 -

It’s Saturday and the chance for a slightly longer run today so I head to Leamington to run the Regency 10K route with Ian. It’s been raining all morning but it stops and brightens up minutes before we set off. I’ve never done this route before but really enjoy it. It’s a great mix of trail and tarmac. There’s some elevation half way in and as we hit the top section we increase our pace and do a few minutes of quick sprinting. This is the first 10k I’ve ran in ages without any knee pain. It makes a brilliant route even more enjoyable and I’m very much looking forward to running the official Regency 10K when we can all race again.


Day 7 -

A day off running today so I head to Burton Dassett with the children for a walk. It’s really busy but we find some space to ourselves and they run around like dogs let off a lead - up and down the fabulous hills before their little legs get tired. It’s another mile and a half clocked up and great to get out without the pressure of running. I feel very grateful that the challenge includes walking.


Day 8 -

Another beautiful day! My knee is feeling so much better and it feels like a good time to tackle the unfinished business with the May Day 10k course.I head to Abbey Fields and as I start to run up the hills it feels so much easier than it did the week before. My fitness is definitely improving.

I complete the course in full and Strava tells me I am the local legend of Abbey Fields loop. Result!


Day 9 -

I’m super tired today, a combination of being up through the night with a poorly 5-year old and up at 6am for work. I definitely would not have exercised today had it not been for this challenge. It is the absolute last thing I feel like doing and it’s with reluctance that I pull on my running gear and head out for a 2 mile lunchtime run. I tell myself I will feel so much better for it and sure enough a few minutes in I start to relax and really enjoy the peace and quiet. I get back 20 minutes later and feel awake and energized. The high keeps me going in the afternoon and I feel so very thankful for this Challenge for getting me out.


Day 10 -

I run with a friend this evening. We stick to the roads around Kenilworth and chat all the way round. The miles fly by and before I know it we’ve ran 10k. I’m definitely finding it much easier to get out each day and I’m loving the routine of daily exercise. I vow to try and keep it up when the streak ends in 5 days.


Day 11 -

I’m not sure how to fit a walk or run in today. It’s a very busy day at work and I seem to have no time to myself. I have a flu jab booked around lunchtime and manage to fit in a quick 1 mile walk up chase lane beforehand. During this challenge the weather has, so far, been kind and it’s another bright, cold day. I walk quickly and soon warm up. It’s lovely to take a few minutes out of a hectic day.


Day 12 -

I have some time free over lunch and head out for a short run - down Purlieu lane and along the fields behind the Castle. It’s a glorious day and Kenilworth Castle looks beautiful in the winter sun. I stop to take some pictures before heading back down Chase Lane and home. I clock up just under 4-miles but feel as elated as if I’d run double the distance. It’s a real eye-opener to just enjoy a few miles each day without the feeling that I should be pushing myself to run for longer.


Day 13 -

It’s a wet and cold Saturday but I have a free morning so head to Ryton Pools for a 5k loop. It’s been ages since I ran at Ryton and it feels good to run here again and to reminisce about the Ryton 5 Mile race. It’s a race which usually takes places every summer but sadly couldn’t this year. It brings back great memories and a knowledge that happier times will be here before long.


Day 14 -

Back to Ryton today but with the kids in tow this time. We meet a friend and walk between the two parks stopping to guess some of the trees en-route. It’s very muddy but the children happily walk and splash in puddles and without even knowing we cover over a mile and a half. I clock the miles and plan to run for the last day of the challenge tomorrow.


Day 15 -

I am busy with work in the day but meet a friend for an evening run around Kenilworth. It’s a fabulous way to end the streak. It’s a cold night but there is a beautiful full moon in the sky.

The Christmas lights have been switched on along the old high street and in the town. It’s wonderfully atmospheric and the only thing missing is Christmas carols playing as we run.

6 miles fly by effortlessly; it’s one of those glorious runs where you feel you could keep going forever. I get home and record my mileage on the runwithian page for the final time and get a congratulations e-mail by return.


Summary


I have absolutely loved the RunWithIan 15 Day Run Challenge and it’s made me think about my running habits. I tend to have an all or nothing approach to running, doing a very long run followed by a couple of days of rest. Running a few miles every day has been really enjoyable and has definitely been the right approach for my knee.


By the end of the 15 days I’m feeling healthier and fitter and am pleased to see my VO2 Max has gone up by 2 points while my resting heart rate has gone down by 3. It’s also a great bonus to receive a lovely wooden engraved medal. Thank you runwithIan for arranging this Challenge. I can’t wait for this next one!


To sign up for the RunWithIan 'Thrive for 25' December Run Challenge click here: https://www.runwithian.com/challenges




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