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Health & Outdoors

My New-and-Improved, Pandemic-Era Running Regime

I had two primary running goals coming into 2020: first, to run over 1000 miles for the year, as I did last year; second, to run a 20-miler. I’m within 30 miles of achieving the first goal, with over 2 1/2 months to go, and I ran 20 miles for the first time back in June. In fact, I followed up with second 20-miler in August.

With my running goals completed or well under way, I guess I was ready for something different. Also, I started to notice something: with the Pandemic-induced stay-at-home life we live, running has become a sort of personal mood stabilizer and enhancer for me. In other words, I find that on days I run, I am generally clear-minded, energetic, and overall happy throughout the day.

On the other hand, on non-running days, I have noticed the opposite: negative thoughts in my head, taking long naps to check out, and often having the sense that I am waiting out or surviving the day.

Running seems to provide the energetic shift that sets me up to stay in that high-flying place, especially these days where I often do not have anything physically to go do otherwise, or where there are long blocks of time in which I am not interacting with other people. (If you are reading this in 2020, I’m sure you can relate!)

Having noticed the benefits of running for my day, I shifted my strategy: instead of running every other day and generally for longer runs–as I have primarily done over the past 3 or 4 years–I started running on more consecutive days, for shorter distances.

Last month (September) I really took this on. Here is some basic running data for the last three months:

MonthTotal # Runs# Consecutive Running DaysRange of DistancesTotal Miles Run
September 2020 20102 1/2 to 12 miles126
August 20201525 1/4 to 20 miles117
July 20201732 to 16 miles123

To summarize, in the month of September, I ran 20 different days, whereas in August and July, I ran 15 and 17, respectively. In September, I ran on consecutive days ten times (including a string of 4 days in a row). In August and July, I had back-to-back run days 2 and 3 times, respectively.

Lastly, in the month of September, the range of my runs was as little as 2 1/2 miles and as long as 12 miles. That seems like a long range, but in August, the range was from 5 1/4 miles to 20 miles; in July it was 2 miles to 16. So, overall, length of my runs significantly shortened.

Needless to say, I’m seeing this strategy pay off as I hoped it would: overall, a fine mental mood precedes from a good morning run 🙂 Although I would prefer not to feel dependent on running to help me psychologically, it has reliably done so.

On a nerdy runner note, it’s also interesting that despite decreasing the length of my runs, I actually ran more miles last month than in either August or July ( 126 compared to 117 and 123). Sometimes shorter ends up being better in many ways!

Last but not least, I ran seven out of the first eight days of October, going as little as two miles, or as long as eight. For the time being at least, the shorter, more frequent runs are here to stay!

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