End of the Streak
It’s the end of the month which means that this time next week my running streak can, and probably will have already, come to an end. On paper, running every day compared to running just most days shouldn’t make too much of a difference, and physically I don’t think it has been altogether too demanding. Once a week I’ve been doing just 10 minutes of running with some stretches to replace my off day in order to keep my streak going. This little mini session has worked quite nicely as a recovery, and although I think I’ll be having some proper days off a couple of days a month I have no doubt that I’ll be keeping these micro-runs in place. They seem to work particularly well after a long day, just that ten minutes seems to give me the mental boost that a good run can give, shaking away the cobwebs in my brain which have accrued over the workday, but without straining my body too much.
Where this streak has been more challenging, and ultimately rewarding, is in the mind. It is healthy to rest and recover, don’t forget that. A fit runner beats an injured runner every time, so know your limits. However, pushing the boundaries of what defines ‘rest’ and running through these off-days has really pushed this hobby of mine into an undisputed habit. I’m getting up earlier, running further, faster, and feeling altogether extremely positive about hitting my half-marathon goal in October. Although I do feel like my body needs a few days of rest, I also feel like when I come back I will feel the benefits of the streak, and probably be ready to start another.
Even if I am running everyday there’s always ways to be healthier though, right?
Any exercise is better than no exercise, but really we should be aiming to get a minimum of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise if we’re really strapped for time. Running regularly means that I hit these minimum levels pretty easily, but that doesn’t mean I can relax. Independent of physical activity, a recent study has re-emphasised the dangers of sitting.
The excitingly titled ‘Trends in Adherence to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans for Aerobic Activity and Time Spent on Sedentary Behavior Among US Adults, 2007 to 2016’ has found that despite warnings about the dangers of a mostly sedentary lifestyle, Americans were sitting more in 2016 than they were back in 2008. The rate at which people were adhering to the aerobic exercise limits stated in the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans did increase, but not significantly enough to suggest much positive progress has been made.
The conclusion of the study? More effort must be made to increase physical activity in Americans and perhaps even more significantly, stop their sedentary lifestyles, or at least make it clear how much damage it may be doing them.
Well what’s the big deal with sitting? What’s the point of these juicy rears if not for lounging around on them?
“…prolonged sedentary time, particularly time spent on sitting for television watching, is associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and mortality.”
Sit too long, and you’re basically asking for an early death…is an extremely over the top summarising of that sentence, but the point is it doesn’t matter if you nail that 150 minutes of exercise, vigorous, moderate, whatever, if you then go ahead and sit on your posterior for the remainder of the week, you might be in trouble down the line.
This survey is about Americans, and I’m sure we can all conjure up mental images of the hot dog guzzling stereotype which might suggest that we shouldn’t be surprised about these facts, but I would be shocked if the numbers didn’t line up in the UK as well.
Even I must admit that outside of work I do probably spend a bit too much time on my bum. Luckily my job means that I’m on my feet all day and might just be getting away with it, but it is worth thinking about how I spend my non-running time because type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and err…death, doesn’t sound like my cup of tea.
Something Wild Trail Running Festival
This week I want to shine a light on not just one run, not just one race, but a whole festival of them. The Something Wild Trail Running Festival is a family-friendly event which wraps up kids’ races, a 5k, a 10k, a half-marathon, a marathon, and an ultra-marathon, into one all-encompassing weekend in Dartmoor National Park. There’ll be speakers, music, food, even a wild guided swim in a secret spot for those who like to dabble in exercise away from dry, solid land.
But of course, it’s really all about the running.
The ultra is described as an ideal beginners ultra as it’s only (!) 32 miles, but it certainly won’t be easy as it incorporates a tantalising 4533 feet of climb. If that sounds like it’s up your alley, or you want to find out more details about the other races at the festival, check out the website at www.something-wild.co.uk/races-something-wild-festival/