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100 days of running

A neighbour had started a “100 runs in 100 days” project and told me about it the following day. This was on 1st January 2016. I liked the idea. Could I run at least 30 minutes, every day, for 100 days. I found some group rules online but I decided to make a version of my own. The main difference being that I wanted to run every day. So I took these original rules:

  • You must run a minimum of 30 minutes.  Any shorter and you won’t get the cardio benefits.  Longer is your call.
  • 100 days starts when you say it starts.  But once you start you run regardless rain, sleet, snow or global thermo nuclear war!  You can also use a treadmill or a treadmill in a bomb shelter, 30 minutes running is 30 minutes running!
  • You can run twice in the same day and count it as two days!  The runs just need to separated by more than 6 hours.
  • This isn’t a race!

and I  made my own:

  1. Run a minimum 30 minutes every day for 100 consecutive days.
  2. Run as long and as often as I want but at the end I will have run every single day for 100 days.
  3. Don’t give up!

The main difference between the two sets of rules is that in the first set it would be ok to do two runs on Monday, take a rest day on Tuesday, and back to running on Wednesday. However, If I was going to do this, I wanted to try to run every single day. I wanted to really test my willpower, even on those windy, wet, sub-zero temperature days. And it did actually drop to -17 in January :)

I have read several books and articles on boosting willpower, changing habits, creating new habits. But that was just theory, how would this work in real life?

Here is the science that was supposed to happen:

  • If you do a repetitive action for 21 days you begin to form a habit.  Chances are that if you can go for 21 days you will continue for a short period of time if you suddenly had to cease briefly.

  • At 40-48 days you are successfully forming if you haven’t already formed a habit.  Chances of ceasing are limited.  You are making the activity part of your daily life.

  • At 90 days you have for lack of a better explanation, re-wired your brain to accept the activity and it has become part of your daily routine.  Like showering and brushing your teeth.  Even if you miss a day you will pick up the next day where you left off.

Here is what actually happened:

  • Days 01-20: Why did I start this project?! I’ll never last a hundred days! I ran a half-marathon in Tromsø which was icy and cold. My legs started complaining and trying to show me pain. I wasn’t listening to the pain.
  • Days 20-40: A lot of late night runs around 10pm and 11pm. Really had to keep pushing myself to not miss a day. Had to do a few lunch time runs when Margrete was traveling with work and then I was alone with kids at night. In this period, I kept running but I did not feel like a runner. Started running up to average of 7k per day.
  • Days 40-60: Had 7 days running in Gran Canaria which helped a lot. It was nice to run in plus degrees, t-shirt and shorts. Came back to Oslo and it was around -5 degrees and dark but that was ok. Once I passed the 55 day mark a strange thing started happening mentally. I have done lots of awareness and mindfulness training before but now i was experiencing the same effects while running. My head was becoming much calmer while running, fewer thoughts. Usually when I ran I was organising thoughts and things to do when I got back home.  Now I was up to average of 9km per day. This resulted in a total of 321km in February as I had several days with several runs, one in morning and one at night.
  • Days 60-80: The effects just keep getting better in this period. I can run in the forest for several kilometres with an empty mind. Aware of every step. Peaceful yet faster running. I’m now at an average 10km per day. I decided to start another 100 days of… wakening Margrete every morning with coffee in bed. She likes it and it is simple payback for helping me find time to run too.
  • Days 80-100: I had a half-marathon planned for day 99 so in the 2 weeks leading up to that I still ran every day but short slow runs, about 6km daily. I also had a cold which affected my breathing a little so I had no idea what to expect in the half-marathon. I wanted to try for under 1:30 for the first time and see how long I could keep up the required pace of 4:15 per kilometer.
    Race: The first km was crazy fast with a pace at 3:50 per km. I had to settle quickly but soon found out that I was running at an alright tempo and was already 50 seconds ahead of goal. I was checking my watch every km to make sure I was staying on pace and kept this up until around 17km. Then I started to feel the heaviness in my legs. I thought I was gonna faint. Told myself this was only my brain playing around and I could manage a lot more before fainting. I knew I was close to achieving under 1:30 so I decided to push on. The last 3 kms were mostly mental strength as I couldn’t feel my legs much :)
    At the finish I registered in at 1:27:50, really really happy :)
  • Days 100-?: Decided to keep running daily. Train smarter, drop a few kilos and I can easily run under 1:25. All I gotta figure out now is WHY would I want to do that :)
    Margrete is still getting her coffee every morning :)
  • Day 121: Just a small update here. Still running daily and I got some amazing shoes, the new Hoka one one Vanquish 2. These shoes are so comfortable and really light weight. Definitely one of the best running shoes I’ve ever had.
    Another highlight lately was running 10km with Olympic and World Champion Tiril Eckhoff around Poros island in Greece.
  • Day 138: Trying to up my average km per day lately. If I get it up to 10km per day then I will have covered 3650km by the end of 2016. That would be pretty cool but 4000km would be even nicer.
  • Day 147: Sandås-Lilloseter-Sandås (Recommended by neighbour Stian. From where we live, it starts going uphill after 1km. The run can be found on Strava running app.)
    • Distance:15km
    • Elevation gain: 361m
    • Time:1:06:40
  • Day 160: Really nice 16km run around/up/down Halden with Rainer from Logiq AS

Halden by

 

 

 

 

 

  • Day 179: Almost half-way to a year but the longer this goes on the more i lose count off the number of days. I remember at the start I knew exactly which day I was on, but recently it’s become more of a “roughly 160 something”. Some nice runs lately too.
  • Day 184: Over half-way to a year :) I had a great run last night, new PB, 37.13, on my standard 9.2km very hilly route.  Before I started this daily running project I was struggling to get around in under 45mins and a normal run could very easily be 50 mins. The best thing is that most of those 37 mins last night were real “in-the-zone”-running minutes.
    No thoughts, no internal noise, just peaceful hard running. Some people achieve this quietness through mindfulness or meditation. Now I get it easily on my daily runs.

  • Day 192 and I just wanted to go out and beat a strava segment. I’d been reading all day and need some explosive running

  • Day 201: Life goes slower when I’m counting days :)

(Posted on facebook)
Day 201 of running. Simple rules: a min 30 minutes running every single day. Average since 1.jan is now 10.1km per day. Follow me on polar or strava apps, or even cooler is if you join me for the next 50 days. 😀
Best runs so far :
4km around Rødtvet with Erika
10k in Poros Greece with Tiril
15k around Brønnøysund chasing biker Andreas
16k around Halden with Rainer
15k to Lillomarka and back with Stian
15k around Romsås with Børge and Brage
19k withConor Mckeownn
10k around the forest with Lars Martin
Loads of runs in forest with Eirin Sii and Raymond!
Half marathons with Terje, Ulli & Tore
All the deer and snakes that have shocked me in the forest
Forgotten some cool people but thanks to everyone who has joined in so far.

  • Current Strava records
  • strava_records

 

  • Day 211: I took part in my first ultrarun. It was a 57km race over a few mountain tops. The main mountain was Blefjell:
    bren_ultra_blefjell

 

 

 

 

That photo shows me at the main top of the mountain. However, after two hours I fell into a deep mud pit and damaged some tendons in my left ankle.  It really hurt but I wasn’t gonna let that stop my first ultra so I ran on for another 8 hours eventually coming to the finish with a time of 10:19:36.  It was an ok time and respectable placing for this race. Another positive is that I learned a lot about eating and drinking while running for 10 hours. I managed to avoid cramps by eating good food, drinking lots and submerging my calf muscles in any river i had to cross.

But the next morning my ankle wouldn’t work. There was just no link between my brain and my left ankle. Doctor, x-ray and crutches. This meant that the following 3 days 30mins were done on crutches. Didn’t get very far.

I tried running again after stopping with the crutches but something isn’t right in my ankle so i contacted my amazing physio Trond from phoenixklinikken and he will fix me with his needles and expertise.

At the moment I’m suffering withdrawal symptoms from not being able to run. After 211 days I became addicted to daily running. I love the buzz of running in pouring rain or freezing cold or warm sun or even late at night when the forest is empty for people but the deer come out or even early in morning before most people are up. I became a runner and now i’m missing it a lot. For every day that passes i feel my vo2 max decreasing, my times getting slower.

But the most beautiful thing is that now I have a record of 211 days to beat. Just gotta start again once my ankle gets better….. in a few days :)

Back running again at full speed! Planning a 160km race July 2017 :)

UPDATE: First 160km run will be in May 2017