What I learned in training (almost) every day in January
I just completed a virtual challenge during the month of January. The Badwater 267 VR is a month-long challenge to kick off the new year by completing 267 miles. Badwater has three main events in its event calendar consisting of Badwater Cape Fear, Badwater Salton Sea, and the Badwater 135. This challenge combines all three distances for the 267 miles. There are a few variations and I chose the running-only option. For reference, the multisport option allowed for cycling, rowing, swimming, and running to complete the mileage. For me, this would be a great start to the training year with building base miles which I was going to do anyway. I would need to average 8.6 miles a day to complete the distance in the allotted 31 days.
Let’s back up a second. This is a tough challenge and I am in no way suggesting that everyone go out and complete this one. I also in no way am promoting run streaks or not taking rest days. Training structure should account for rest and recovery. I did have one day this January of zero exercise as my body needed it and a few other days were less than 4 miles with dog walks and easy jogging. It is pretty typical for me to do a 300-mile month in July as a lead-up to my favorite August race but January in Colorado can be challenging so I thought I would try and challenge myself. Again, this isn’t for everyone and I am only sharing my story.
Here are my takeaways:
- When I committed to the challenge I found the time to get it done. I live a busy life with school-age girls and a wife who works a crazy and at times chaotic schedule. But I found the time. Better yet, I made the time. I ran between dance performances while out of town a the Dance Convention. I ran during my daughter’s volleyball practice. I ran/hiked with the dog on snowshoes to get her out and to add to the mileage. I ran after 8 pm on my treadmill even if it was for 30 minutes to add to the mileage for the month. I made the time when the goal mattered to me. An additional note: my screen time (iphone weekly analysis) was down and I didn't watch as much TV. Both are great reminders of the time available that I DO have to achieve something important to me.
- I am in better spirits when I train consistently. January is a tough month with the winter darkness and the cold here in Colorado. I can struggle to find the motivation to move consistently during these months in the past. I can see that I have more energy when I train regularly and my emotional mood is also improved. I tend to be more productive in all aspects of my life that aren’t training-related.
- Training builds upon itself. This isn’t “breaking news” by any stretch of the imagination. However, I do see that my data metrics for this training block that started on December 1st have improved across the board. My HRV and pace are up while my running heart rate and weight (1 lb. of holiday cookies- I have a sweet tooth!) are down and that is a great reminder of structured training and benchmark goals.
- I enjoy a good challenge. This particular challenge was great! The Badwater organizers have a great product with an interactive Strava group, motivational emails, benchmark distances when you finish a certain section of a particular course, and cool schwag! The Strava group stands out the most as it was so supportive of its participants that I believe that a few have made lifelong Strava connections! So, knowing this about myself I have decided to do my own February challenge. I will do at least one Peloton workout a day for all 29 days(it’s a leap year). Peloton isn’t just the bike and treadmill. They released a new rowing machine (I do not have one) as well as offer a variety of classes for strength and conditioning, yoga, foam rolling, and meditation to list a handful. The challenge format helps keep me engaged and offers structure to a season where I have struggled with consistency.
There were times I wasn’t sure I was going to get all the miles in and that maybe it was just a bit too much with my busy life. The last few days of the challenge have left me motivated. I have worked hard to get the miles in and finish this challenge. I wound up needing 23.98 miles on the last day so I created a route that would lead me to finish at my local Hot Springs Pool for a well-earned soak. And that's exactly what I did.
What challenges have you thought of doing to become a better version of yourself?
How can you create consistency by using your time more wisely?