Wednesday, January 02, 2013

No rest days in 2012

I did something last year that I'm not sure I'll ever do again — ran every day for a minimum of 5k per day. Yes, a modest streak of running compared to 2:09 marathoner and Commonwealth Games champion Ron Hill's multi-decade running streak. I'll blame Karla and CJ for getting me started on the streak. It seemed like a fun thing to do back in November 2011! Then fellow streakers Geoff and Janene kept me honest in friendly competition.

Did I learn anything from this obsessive-compulsive-disordered craziness? Anything useful that is?! Well, a few things: It's possible to run every day and not get injured; one can run with a bad head-cold during a wet, cold winter (outdoors); a new appreciation for the secret Steve Moneghetti training session — when asked what was the best training session to improve one's running, Mona said "the 2 x 7 x 365" (run twice a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year).

With all that running (3,728 kilometres), my racing performances pretty much stayed the same throughout the year. My first 5k at Stromlo on 31 January was a 23:30 and my last on 4 December a 23:21. Between those races I ran a very pleasing road 10k at the Gold Coast — a 45:11, my fastest 10k since 2008. I didn't run the 5000m track race I think I was capable of — the 22:17.48 in November should have been 30 seconds faster. Similarly for the Melbourne Half — a 'pinched nerve' kept my finish time down to 1:44:30. I think a 1:40-41 went begging that day. Looking forward to this year, I'll continue to try and race "a good" 5k (time yet to be defined) and also chase a sub-1:40 time (and a 'victory' over Canute) for the Canberra Half in April.

Thanks all for reading and commenting on the blog over the past 12 months. I was snowed under with pre-Christmas work, followed by 'family time' during the holidays so I'm a little behind on reading and commenting on your blogs. All the best for 2013 and enjoy your running!

On boxing day the Wagga geese weren't that speedy. It was hot!

37 Comments:

Blogger Janene said...

So how about the blogging streak? CJ managed something every day and she's still going! Are 5 sentences the lower limit? Hmmmmmm
Good running and blogging in 2012, ET. Here's hoping 2013 allows you to achieve all of your goals.

8:25 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

It seems that your running didn't suffer from your 2012 streak and yet nor did it improve significantly. All training research points to improvement with smart training and periodisation rather than "more is better" - ie, training/racing improvement needs to include rest days. That means that OCD tendency has to be held in check. You are not alone with the OCD stuff and so the challenge is to focus the OCD on quality, smart, calculated training rather than "more, more and more of whatever quality running is better enough". My strategy for overcoming the "more, more and more training" has been to substitute a cross training session for junk kms. In other words, when you would normally run just to keep the streak going but not because you want to or because the run session is going to be decent, do something else - walk, swim, bike, whatever. Give it a try & let me know how it works (or not) for you. See you for post Sat am run coffee soooooooon ......

9:24 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

J, a blogging streak would be harder than a running streak! I think CJ suffers from a more serious strain of OCD than I do.

Thanks for your comment Liz. Food for thought. Perhaps over a slice of New York cheesecake at the next coffee catch-up. Funny, but just today I was thinking of doing some hiking up the big hills near here carrying a heavy back-pack as cross-training.

10:08 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Ewen, Happy New Year!
I wanted to let you know how much I've been enjoying reading your blog over the last few weeks - I went all the way back to the first post and I have finally caught up. It's been thrilling reading all your race reports and about your training over the years - your enthusiasm and passion for running is inspiring.
I bought a Garmin in September and have been monitoring my HR & HR per km and starting to see & feel some progress. I'm also targeting a sub 1:40 HM this year - hopefully in the SMH Half in May.

Wishing you a fabulous 2013 with loads of awesome racing, PBs galore and no injuries.
Fiona

10:52 pm  
Blogger TokyoRacer said...

I didn't realize you were doing that. Congratulations on accomplishing your goal. Now get back to more sensible training a la Joe's comment.

As you know, I like to experiment with different programs. It keeps things interesting. Now I'm doing two days on, one day off. Both days are fairly hard or long runs. We'll see how it goes.
Best for 2013.

11:42 pm  
OpenID sweatykid said...

365 days of at least 5k a day blows my mind. Cheers to that!

It sounds like this went fine physically, and I'm interested to know more about the mental side of it. Did you ever yearn for a break, or did it just get easier?

12:18 am  
OpenID canute1 said...

Congratulations on achieving your year-long streak. You ability to avoid injury is very impressive. It is interesting that Steve Moneghetti’s recommendation of 2x7x365 appears to place greater priority on doubles than on long runs. This fits with the evidence that doubles produce as much capillary development as long singles – in mice (recently discussed by Steve Magness, who is another keen advocate for doubles). A modest number of long runs is probably essential to build endurance for long races, but maybe doubles achieve most of the benefits with less adverse hormonal effects than longer singles.
Good luck with your running in 2013. I will be cheering you on for a sub-100 Canberra Half; that will place pressure on me to do even better. I will be really delighted if we both get under the 100.

1:30 am  
Blogger Lize Brittin said...

Happy new year!

I'm not a fan of running steaks, but the varying results from people are interesting. I know a guy who hasn't missed a day in a million years (OK maybe it's more like 15 but still!), but he doesn't really race. After going down the compulsive road once or twice, I can say with confidence that would never do it again. I do think everyone has to find what works for them.

Happy running in 2013!

2:52 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Hi Fiona, thanks for reading all those posts! You have great natural endurance ;-) Happy new year to you too and all the best with your running and SMH goal!

Bob, yeah! I've been hanging out these past few months for sensible training. I like your experimentations too by the way.

SK, the habituality made it easier. There were only maybe 5 or 6 days when I really didn't want to run!

Canute, yes, that was a really interesting blog post by Magness. I'm a doubles advocate after reading that.

Happy new year to you too Lize! A slight bit of compulsiveness is useful for runners, but yes, definitely not good to overdo it.

5:31 am  
Blogger Grellan said...

Well done on the streak Ewen and happy new year. I didn't know you were on a streak and certainly wasn't aware that you ran in cold wet weather.

Your 10k time is very close to your 5k time x 2 suggesting that you are built better for the longer distance or perhaps you take a while to properly warm up.

8:06 am  
Anonymous Karla said...

Happy New Year, Ewen! Congrats on finishing the streak and thanks for giving me credit--even though my own streak only lasted 40 days :) Here's to 2013, rest days and hitting your goals! I think you'd got the 5K and half goals in you.

10:55 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Grellan we run in cold wet weather at least 10 days a year ;-) The discrepancy between 5 and 10k times is more due to the warm weather when I ran the fives and that I was on leave prior to the 10k and very rested.

Thanks Karla. All the best for your 2013 goals too!

9:39 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

I'd like to think that that's the end of this streaking thing! Hike up that mountain but.....leave the damned heavy back pack at home. For goodness sake, what's next?

Oh yes, nearly forgot to say.....you did extremely well in 2012 (especially guiding me to 5km Aus.record! Can't thank you enough for that 0,and sure to do even better this year. I'm a fan of JogBlog's advice as you would expect. Whatever you decide I wish you very happy running for 2013!

10:02 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

That 'O' is meant to be a bracket!

10:05 pm  
Blogger Thomas said...

Well, that's mightily impressive!

I always avoided jumping on the streak bandwagon because it would threaten to take over my life. I don't want to be in a position where I feel compelled to go running despite a heavy cold, or scupper the kids' holiday plans because they would somehow prevent me from running for a day and so on.

But call me impressed all the same!

12:12 am  
Blogger strewth said...

Yes indeed Ewen - you are an inspiration and your streak continues what's more! However, I'm with Liz and LL on this one. I am a true believer in a rest day and cross training but that's just to prevent injury. Injuries seem to have avoided you during your streak so it obviously works for you. I am definitely impressed with your tenacity (or is that stubborness?) and will be very interested to hear how you feel when you actually stop streaking!!

12:48 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Yes, me too, Ruth! It might also be a sight worth seeing!!

9:10 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Luckylegs, there's always something next ;-) Hiking with heavy packs is not my idea - it's been done by elite Japanese female marathoners.

Thanks Thomas. The streak 'only' took over my life in the last 3 months (before then I wouldn't have minded if I'd had to stop). I was impressed with your 17:55 5k too!

Ruth, I think I'll seize up and jog like an old man once I stop the streak. Constant movement keeps the body running like a well-oiled machine :)

9:46 pm  
Blogger Raina said...

Having just finished my 5k a day for a month, I will say that this requires some real determination and- as you put it- OCD qualities! lol

I think I had 5 or 6 days over the month where I really didn't want to run...but got used to it.

I like your plans for a little XT hike. Don't get carried away and do it every day though- you must still run!

5:25 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Saw you out there on the trail/path today Ewen but I don't think you saw me. See you for post run coffee one Saturday soooooooooooooooon.

8:46 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Oh well, if elite Japanese female marathoners are doing it, it must be a good thing for everyone.

9:06 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Raina, that's the main thing I was worried about - over-training my OCD inclination ;-) I'll definitely still be running. Love running!

Liz, think it was a 75/25 ratio of women to men this morning - that's probably why I missed you.

Luckylegs, not for everyone. Just young Japanese ladies and old blokes who want to strengthen their leg muscles.

9:42 pm  
Blogger trailblazer777 said...

What Jog blog said!!!! Periodisation and peaking and recovery are crucial to success, are the cliches I've had drilled into me over the years. Seems to make sense. One thing my racewalking coach used to say comes to mind and it may be irrelevant here but here it is anyhow; "if you race your training you will train your races". I have huge respect for him, not just because he competed in the olympics, but he was just a total freak of a bloke, pretty much everything I learnt from him seems to be true, and much of it goes against what many seem to think is true. He always had us doing a rest day one day a week, and he seemed to be keen on careful use of doubles, as well as a long one. Canute might be onto something as usual with the doubles. The Kenyans so I heard do triples or quadruples, not making that up by the way, I'm serious. Those Nippon ladies do seem to be pretty good, was some good ones at Gold Coast, Perth City to Surf this year actually. Hiking is a good thing for the soul as well as the body, only problem is it will encourage you to do more 6 foot races, maybe TNF Coast 2 Kosci etc. ??? Get the 5k , 10k and HALF M50 PB's next year first. Don't get too OCD about the hiking. Like me you have had a solid year, with some promising results but no big breakthroughs although the 22.17, 45.11 and 1.44.30 are all very good and the last 2 a few seconds quicker than me in 2012, but sometimes you have to have a year like that to get the fantastic breakthrough year that follows. A few small refinements and could be some massive! M50 PB smashing going on in 2013. Hope I'm a correct prophet. All the bst in 2013!

2:08 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Jonathon, give Jog that many exclamation marks and she'll get a big head. I like your old coach's advice not to race one's training. It's good to have separation of training effort and racing effort. You're my go-to man for prophecy - hope you're correct on that one!

9:27 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Trailblazer777 (aka Jonathan) is my new best friend because of how many friendly exclamation marks he gave me :) Thank you!!

Ewen, on a more serious note, and following on from your reply to Strewth, seriously .... I found that I seized up less when I had a cross training day than I did when either I was over tired and sore from excessive running and yet I ran more or I had a total day off from all physical activity. Bottom line is ... you won't see the merit in all of this until you do it yourself so .... "just do it" - ie, routinely take a day off running and cross train - and then we can take this debate to the next level :)

8:35 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Liz, that's interesting. I'm inclined to do that (instead of a full day or days of resting, cross-train). I'll have to ease into it as I'm wary of 'unused muscles' & DOMS. For cross-training, besides the mountain hiking I'm looking at large wheel scooters.

7:51 pm  
Blogger Robert James Reese said...

Congrats on finishing up your streak! That is quite an accomplishment. I've run for 9 or so straight days and my calves are already screaming at me. I can't believe you made it 365+!

12:28 pm  
Blogger Paul Wilson said...

Hi Ewen. What a fantastic effort. Well done. Whilst it may not have helped your overall speed it certainly helped you learn a few things that would otherwise have remained a mystery to you. We all respond to training loads in different ways. I trust 2013 will bring more of the good stuff for you. Cheers, Paul :-)

9:30 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

Those geese are definitely resting. Good examples, eh?

9:56 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Thanks RJR. And if I ever (not likely) decide to run a marathon in every state/territory, we only have eight of them ;-)

Hi Paul. Thanks for that. Maintaining a streak is a great lessson in day-to-day recovery, if nothing else.

Speedygeoff, great examples - resting geese fly faster!

10:08 pm  
Blogger speedygeoff said...

Damn - 2x7x365. Haven't tried that yet.

11:26 pm  
Blogger Jog Blog said...

Ewen, the large wheel scooters look like awesome fun! What kind of approach would you take - scoot randomly and recreationally or scoot systematically and seriously (ie, certain no. of strides on one side, then swap and do the same etc)?

Of course, as you know, the other form of cross training that I'm totally in to and highly recommend is kayaking.

10:19 am  
Blogger Ewen said...

Geoff, my tip is to try the 1x7x365 first.

Liz, think I'd scoot seriously, but for fun too. Perhaps around the lake, trying to use both feet equally on the flats and ups, coasting on the downs of course! Yes, have done a bit of kayaking and agree. If only I was working a 4 day week ;)

10:56 pm  
Blogger Luckylegs said...

Is it a possibility that it becomes 'impossible'... in one's mind .... to break a streak by having a rest day? Just curious.

2:09 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Luckylegs, only if one has a serious OCD problem. Mine's only mild. I'm looking forward to a rest day on Wednesday.

12:32 pm  
Blogger Robert Song said...

I always think my training is going well when my Rest Day is an very easy 6k trot.

I am coming down to Canberra for the Half this year. Hopefully I'll see you out on the road.

9:20 pm  
Blogger Ewen said...

Robert Song, yes, that's a good sign. There were a few times during the streak when I was struggling with tiredness from work/lack of sleep and could have done with a day off instead of an easy 5k.

That's great - look forward to seeing you. I'm planning on running the half too - haven't entered yet.

3:44 pm  

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