Running and Juggling Every Day – Good or Bad?
At an enjoyable dinner the other evening, my father-in-law inquired about my latest project for 2008. Familiar with previous year’s projects such as the running/joggling streak, food tracking log, week without spending money, the donut nix of 2006, the nut diet, etc., he was curious about the new year.
I told him about the Push-up project. Recall, in this project I endeavor to do push-ups every day equal to the number of days of the year that have passed. On January 1, you do 1 push-up. January 2nd, two push-ups. And you keep building by adding 1 more each day. Today, I will be doing 77 push-ups as it’s the 77th day of the year.
Happy St. Patrick’s day by the way.
Anyway, my sweet mother-in-law mentioned some advice she heard from a fitness guru that suggested doing an exercise every day was not necessarily good. The guru went on to say to get the most benefit from exercise, you need to take a rest. I could tell she was not only talking about the push-ups but the running streak too.
I’ve heard this advice before and it makes sense. But I’m suspicious of any general advice believing that individuals will vary.
I’m unique just like everyone else.
But I wondered. Would it be better to skip a few days here and there? Is running every day bad for you?
Running every day is Bad
1. Increased chance of injury. Most everyone says that running every day is not good for you. There are a variety of problems cited. First, you are more likely to become injured. Each mile on your legs increases your chances. Taking an occasional break can speed recovery and reduce injury risk.
2. You’ll run slower. Running every day definitely makes you more tired. This may start to affect your workouts and your times may start to get slower. If getting faster is a priority to you, start taking some days off.
According to the experts, your body becomes stronger during the rest periods, not during the working out periods. If you don’t rest, your strength will be diminished.
Running Every Day is Good
On the other hand, maybe it’s not so bad. Daily running and joggling does have some advantages.
1. Motivation is not a problem. When you are on a running streak, it satisfies almost all you motivational needs. You never succumb to those thoughts of skipping a run and making up for it the next day. You want to keep the streak alive, you have to go out an run.
2. Mileage is easier to achieve. One of the hardest parts about marathon training is getting enough miles run. If you skip a day, it’s hard to make up more miles. You could easily turn a 5 mile run into a 9-mile run. These will have different effects on your body and probably aren’t great for your training plan.
3. Stronger sense of accomplishment. There is something about running every day that adds to your sense of accomplishment. Even when you run a mere mile and a half, you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something great. The effect is not the same when you are skipping days here and there.
Since my speed doesn’t seem to be increasing, I would probably benefit from a day off every so often. But speed is taking a back seat right now to my other joggling goals. I’d like to run my streak to 444 days. Then I’ll focus on getting faster the rest of the year.
Future of the Joggling Streak
Today is day 427 of the running and joggling streak. This is well beyond my original 365 day goal. I’m like a Mars Rover. But alas, I may be ending the streak soon. Day 444 is coming up and that seems an amusing enough day to stop as any. We’ll see how I feel. When you start doing a thing every day, it becomes part of your identity. That makes it hard to stop.
The “green juggler” in your picture above is Peter Panic, a Cambridge, Massachusetts juggler who is one of my very favourite performers anywhere. If you get a chance to see him, you definitely should. http://www.peterpanic.com/
Regarding rest: For a bit over a year I’ve been using the “FIRST to the finish” plan from Furman University.
The general idea is three intense running workouts a week (intervals Tuesday, tempo Thursday, and distance Saturday) with at least two cross-training days in between. So, lots of rest, and specifically lots of rest of your running muscles. The designers of the training plan have recently published a book called “Run Less, Run Faster”.
FIRST is one of the few training plans that has some actual scientific study behind it, and anecdotally it’s also worked for me — I’ve been injury-free for the whole year, after years of intermittent knee problems, and I’ve knocked about half an hour off my marathon time in the process (from about a 4 hour equivalent, based on my previous half-marathon times, down to 3:33:03 on my last race).
Something to think about for day 445.
The end of a calendar year seems like a good time to stop.
But is 716 too close to 1000 for comfort? I guess that only you will know the answer to that. It’s great going, whenever you decide to take a break.
End of a calendar year is interesting but you’re right, if I get to the 716 mark, I’ll certainly want to go the extra 14 days to make the 2-year mark. Then I’ll think of some other reason to go longer (my birthday maybe 4/4). Then 1000 days. Ah, I don’t know.
I read about the FIRST program in Runners World and am really interested in trying it. I think I’ll use it for the Chicago Marathon training. I haven’t been so good at following the one I put together (I cheat on the miles) so maybe less miles but better structured would be good.
This is such a remarkable streak already, it’s very impressive..If I were to say whether or not running everyday is good thing, I would have to say it’s better, it’s just really hard..