Run 10km every day for a month. Why not?
I decided to set myself a personal challenge: to run at least 10km every day for a month.
I checked my diary and May looked like a goer. No holidays and pretty clear with work. 10k a day in May? Hmmm, it had a bit of a ring to it. So, for the first (and possibly last) time in my life, I came up with my own hashtag: #run10kadayinmay.
I had no idea how this was going to pan out.
Why run 10k a day for a month?
I always feel better after a run. Like other runners who’ve posted on here, I’ve had ups and downs with my mental health. Running definitely helps, but from experience, setting goals and challenges works well for me too. I like having a target to aim for, being motivated, and above all, feeling ‘busy’.
I love taking part in official, organised running events but they’re not cheap. I was feeling a bit skint – who isn’t these days - and setting my own challenge wouldn’t cost me a penny.
That was it. Decision made.
So, how did I get on? Well:
1. It wasn’t as tough as I thought it’d be.
Before I started, I was worried I’d be tired and grouchy running every day. Would it push me too far? But it was the opposite. As the challenge wore on, I felt stronger and stronger. At first, I relied on willpower and my 5.45am wake up call to get out of bed and go for a run. To be honest, it was a shock to the system. But after 10 days or so, it was becoming a habit. I’d wake up, think ‘Right, let’s get the kit on’ and head out without questioning it.
Surprisingly, this habit has stuck. A month after I completed the challenge, I’m still running every day except Saturdays, which I take off to relax. I guess I’ve programmed myself to wake up and run. And I’ve never felt better. So it wasn’t as hard as I thought it’d be. What I didn’t expect was that…
2. It was great fun.
Yes, who knew running 31 days in a row could be so enjoyable? I loved how peaceful it was running early morning, which became my preferred time. I got faster. I ate like a king. I slept like an emperor. I felt happier. I had more energy. And I was more focussed in work.
Some mornings were so glorious I just kept running. Why stop at 10km if the sun’s shining? And I discovered early morning folk are a friendly bunch. I’d always get a pretty vigorous nod, wave or ‘morning’, and felt like I’d stumbled on a secret ‘good morning’ club. Small gestures like these from a fellow runner or dog walker make a big difference, and lift my spirits every time. To be fair, it wasn’t all sunshine and laughs. On day 8, I took a wrong turn and got choked by car fumes for 2 miles. On day 15 I ran twice, in the morning and evening, due to running club commitments. Both times, I got absolutely soaked.
But day 20, a drab and soggy Saturday, wins the prize for toughest slog. I’d had a few sherbets the night before and trudged 10km with a hangover. I hated every second of it. But then, I only had myself (and alcohol) to blame.
3. It was an adventure.
I live in Cardiff and knew that most of my runs would be around the city’s parks and river trails. But running the same route over and over would be pretty dull. So I tried to mix up my runs as much as I could, and threw in some trail runs.
In week 3, a friend invited me to Abergavenny to run along the Monmouthshire-Brecon Canal. We chatted the whole way and before we knew it, we’d run 10km. It was just what I needed at the time, and a real highlight.
The following week, I was in the Brecon Beacons with work. What the hell. I took advantage of it and went for a trail run up and around Pen y Fan (the highest peak in South Wales). It was breathtaking.
Over the 31 days, I also became a black belt in ‘sneaking in a run’. And I needed to be. Finding time for a run when I was away with my (very understanding) wife celebrating our wedding anniversary was tricky to say the least, and required a bit of negotiation.
If you’d told me before I started, that I’d run 10km every day for a month (totalling over 200 miles), and that I’d enjoy it, I wouldn’t have believed it. I don’t have a flashy medal to show for it, and I was only competing against myself.
But completing my own challenge was just as rewarding as entering and finishing a race. And proof is in the pudding. Before this, I was running 3-4 times a week. Now, I’m running six days a week and loving it. I’m now busy plotting what I can do next.