50 Lessons Learned from 50 Days of Running

running cheaper than therapy square

Lesson #1

Back in May, after two months of almost no exercise, I decided it was time to start running again.

I didn’t have a goal, but I knew I had to get back out there. Running was one in a string of changes I decided to make in my life, having been armed (finally) with the skills of habit change and elated to see one change after another actually sticking.

Starting a running streak wasn’t my intention. But from what I had learned about how the brain forms the grooves that become our habits, it seemed that running every day was a surer way to success than taking even one day off each week.

Besides, I wasn’t training for anything, so what did I have to lose?

Fifty days later, that streak is still going strong. I started small, with just 20 easy minutes each day. Each week, I added 10 minutes to the daily run until it got to 70 minutes, at which point I’ve started to transition to more traditional training (but still running every day).

As running streaks go, 50 days isn’t anything to write home about — I have a friend who ran for 12 years straight, and I’ve read of people doing twice that or more.

But for me, it’s new, and having a streak to nurture has breathed fresh air into running. And the effectiveness of the method itself — at getting me moving again, but also at helping me understand what it really means to be a runner — has been incredible.

I’m writing this post to share my rediscovered enthusiasm, and (I hope) to inspire a few people who have never considered what a streak might do for their dedication to running. And, no exaggeration here, for their lives.

50 things I’ve learned during my 50-day running streak

1. I finally understand those “Running is Cheaper than Therapy” t-shirts. The difference in my mood before and after my run is so noticeable that my wife has several times suggested (on certain, grumpy mornings) that I make today an early run day. And rightly so.

2. You can dramatically lower your breath rate (and as a result, your heart rate) if you learn to breathe through your nose and focus on taking more steps per breath.

3. If you don’t have the same trigger for your run every day (waking up, lunchtime, etc.), it’s easy to forget, and find yourself running at dusk to keep the streak going.

4. On that note, running hills right after dinner is a terrible idea.

5. You can go from zero motivation to full-on, can’t-think-about-anything-else mode in only two weeks or so. The key, for me, was inspiring reading and using the tools of habit change to get started.

6. The 10% rule really doesn’t matter much.

7. Hiking up hills can be a much better exercise than struggling to run up them, especially if you’re training for a trail race where you’ll have to hike.

8. You’re more likely to feel the steep downhills than the steep uphills the next day, so be mindful and step lightly.

9. I will really miss my Green Silence when I can no longer get them (they’re being discontinued).

10. You don’t need music to run. I used to think I did, but paying attention to your breathing is far more interesting.

11. All these years when I’ve told myself I “need” a day or two off each week for recovery, it’s been nothing more than an excuse. I’m not saying a day off is bad, by any means. But if you really wanted to run every day (and don’t have some special circumstance that prevents it) you could.

12. Start small (really small) and have patience, and you’ll be far more likely to stick with it than if you go balls to wall out of the gate. I started with just 20 minutes a day for the first week. For some people, 5 minutes might be even better.

13. Running is a perfectly good time to meditate.

14. About 15 minutes after you finish running, I’ve found, is even better.

15. When you have an everyday habit, you can use it as your reminder, or trigger, for other habits. For example, I started spending the last 5 minutes of each run, while I’m breathing slow and cooling down, to remind myself of all the things I’m grateful for.

16. You can get by with three pairs of running shorts if you do laundry once a week, by washing them in shower with you after your run. After one shower wash, though, the funk becomes impervious to anything but the heavy artillery.

17. I’ve always been insecure about wearing tanktops, but I got over it. They’re so much cooler in the heat.

18. For runs of under about 45 minutes, it doesn’t really matter whether you wear fancy moisture-wick running clothes. An old t-shirt, gym shorts, and even cotton socks work just fine.

19. Running for time requires less planning and is less stressful than running for distance. Not as fun to log your minutes as it is your miles, though.

20. Blister Shield is your undercarriage’s friend for the first few weeks back to running, especially if you’re not taking days off. (Anybody know if it’s vegan-friendly?)

21. The less you run with food and water, the less you start to need it. (I suggest doing this gradually though, instead of attempting carb-depleted runs. For me, it has just happened naturally because I never like carrying stuff with me.)

22. There’s a ton of stuff about running form that you don’t know if you’ve never paid very close attention to your body. But I’m not sure that it all matters, if you just pay attention to a few things.

23. Fifty days is plenty of time to make big changes to your physique and body composition. I’m shocked that easy running (with some hills mixed in) and three sets of bodyweight exercises each day has done what it has for me.

24. Running every day for a year would be an accomplishment to be proud of.

25. Doing it in a manner that gets you across the country (and it needn’t take a whole year) would be far more awesome. I read Marshall Ulrich’s Running on Empty a few weeks ago and I got to thinking.

26. You don’t smell nearly as bad when an easy run in the heat makes you sweat, compared to a hard workout in any weather.

27. Don’t think of hills as an enemy that you need to overcome. Appreciate them as a part of the experience and enjoy them. (I got this tip from Running with the Mind of Meditation.)

28. Likewise with the jogging stroller. I used to hate it and refused to run with it — I’ve realized now that as long as I keep decent form, it makes for great hill-hike workouts. And it’s a nice way to spend uninterrupted time with my son and give my wife a break.

danny tanner

Lesson #29

29. The jogging stroller is also a wonderful place to dispense cheesy life lessons that even Danny Tanner would be proud of. Endorphins are flowing, your audience is captive, and it’s fun to talk to somebody who will repeat every word you say in his own little voice.

30. Cold apple juice after a hard run in the heat tastes better than any beer ever has.

31. Seeing a bear with her cubs one time has rendered me permanently unable to relax when I run in the woods.

32. I’m lucky to live in Asheville, NC, an amazing place for running (even if there are bears, snakes, and roosters in my neighborhood).

33. Action, plain and simple, is often the antidote to a lack of motivation. I wasn’t very motivated to run when I decided to start this, but once I got a little streak going (thanks to starting small), I came to love running again.

34. You could also try reading Scott Jurek’s and Rich Roll’s books in back-to-back weeks.

35. Having a streak can itself be your source of motivation. A dozen or so of my 50 runs have happened after dinner as the sun is going down — I’m positive that without this little streak, on those days I would have lazily settled on, “Oh well, I probably needed a day off, and besides, there’s always tomorrow.”

36. For as beneficial as that is, there’s also the downside: if keeping the streak alive is important to you, you have to run even when doing so is just silly. I’ve had to go out in downpours once or twice to get my run in. Good that I ran, I guess, but under normal circumstances I’d have stayed inside and been perfectly happy with the decision.

37. When you’re relaxed, there is a space between an exhalation of breath and the inhalation that follows it. If you pay attention to this pause and note when it disappears, it’s easy to see exactly when your “easy” pace has become no longer easy. (Thanks to Body, Mind, and Sport for this idea.)

38. I wear the same five running shirts all the time. Why have I been holding onto 15 of them, including duplicates of the exact same shirt that I don’t even wear one of?

39. Instead of a heart rate monitor, you can use your breathing to govern your training paces.

40. The best place to run on Hilton Head Island is not the beach or the bike paths, but the Nature Preserve. Just in case you’re headed there on vacation this summer.

41. Every once in a while (or maybe a lot more than that) you need to screw whatever plans you had for the day’s run and just go hard, or long, or do whatever feels right.

42. There’s no feeling like letting go when the rain starts pouring on you in the middle of your run.

43. Your body acclimates quickly to the heat and if you just tough out those first few runs in it, running when it’s hot will become more comfortable.

44. Badwater sounded like a great long-term goal until I went for a run on the beach while I was on vacation in Hilton Head. No shade and 100+ degree temperatures made for a brutal 10 miles, much less 135 of them … and I hear they don’t even give you an ocean in Death Valley!

45. I need to start routinely running in the mornings, so that the run is finished and isn’t on my mind as another to-do item all day long.

46. Although I’m far from a barefooter and never really got into running in Five Fingers, these 50 days have taught me how much I prefer shoes like the Green Silence and Minimus to traditional shoes. Every once in a while I’ll put on my New Balance 890’s, to mix it up a little or because my feet could use a break, but the experience just isn’t the same when you can step on a rock without feeling a thing.

47. This is the longest I’ve gone without even a nagging injury, in spite of taking no off days for the first time in my life. I suspect this is because I haven’t done any speed workouts or long runs — I’ve run mostly easy pace, for a steadily increasing amount of time each week, mixing in some hills and tempo runs now and then. If you’re always getting injured, maybe it’s not less running you need, but easier running.

48. This streak has caused me to drink less alcohol. A lot of times I like to have a beer (or two) with dinner, or perhaps while I’m cooking. But if I haven’t done my run by then, well, I skip the beer.

49. A daily run is the perfect trigger for a quick set of pushups, situps, pullups, or whatever you choose. These things are so easy to do, and so easy not to do. Running every day has helped me to remember to do them.

50. This has been way too good, for both my body and mind, to stop at 50 days. I guess it’s 100 or bust!

The irony of commitment …

If you made it this far — and I don’t expect many will — then there must be something about all of this that intrigues and inspires you. In that case, I say go for it!

If you run for a week and decide you hate it, you can always stop. But if you’re like me, I bet you’ll find something like what that Anne Morris quote you might have seen on a Starbucks cup says:

The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating — in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around like rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.

Why not start your own commitment today?

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Comments

  1. Very nice post! And what you said at the end is true… I did read that far, and there is something about the idea that intrigues me. I think about the streak idea quite a bit, but I have a hard time seeing myself do it. I also use the rower and wonder if I would have to give that up. I guess not if I were hardcore about it. :) We’ll see. Another half year and the several already-paid-for big goals will be done. Maybe then I’ll give this a whirl.

    • “Already paid-for big goals” … does that mean they’re races you’ve actually paid for, or do you mean you’ve already paid for them with sweat?

      • Petr Mach says:

        If Shannon really meant signing up (and paying) for races, i can only recommend that, too… Signing up for a half-marathon couple months in advance is what got me to train for it, when otherwise i’d probably have bailed.

  2. I loved this post! Thanks so much for sharing it! I am now going to commit to something, not sure what yet…
    Also, running in th rain, my favorite thing!

  3. If this is the direction NMA is headed, I’m sticking around. Great post, Matt!

    Also, I wear the same running tank tops too only to have 15 sit in my drawer, unused.

    • Haha, NMA is headed many directions, not just one. (I should have phrased that Facebook post a little better. :)) Thanks for still being around after several years, Bridget! You’re old school!

  4. Great thanks, I’m starting tomorrow for 1year daily runs. Just the motivation I needed as I’ve come off two yours of fifulling my goals of 4 Local ultras here in South Africa and my first ironman.

    Also I’ve experimented with so many shoes this last 2yrs and with out a doubt my favorite road shoe is NB Minimus zeros, the most comfortable shoe I’ve ever run in. (they surprisingly last along time, mine are just reaching the 1000km mark and other than the cushioning being non exist ant it still looks brand new. At this rate I reckon I have at least another 500 plus km on them.
    Thanks again for the motivation.

  5. Oh and I’ve found running in Ice breaker 150g for summer and then the 260g for cold allows you to run many runs befor the big wash if you rinse in the shower. Sounds weird using wool in summer but try it out…you’ll never look back.

    • Thanks Travis. I haven’t heard of Ice Breaker (and I’m trying hard to figure out what the gram designations mean). I’ll look them up, but since I’m vegan, the only wool I wear is sweaters that I still have from before I went vegan.

  6. RetroCat says:

    Excellent post. I related to much of it and understand that some of us, including me, do much better by making a commitment. I enjoyed reading about how your 50 day commitment to running enhanced your life in ways in addition to your quality of running: getting to spend time with your son, consuming less alcohol, keeping up with cross-training, enjoying the weather you happen to receive instead of being a fair-weather runner, etc.
    Thank you for posting!

  7. You mention that the 10% rule doesn’t really matter. Do you think that this mostly applies to more experienced runners such as yourself? I ask only because I’ve been running for a few years, but never in any serious capacity. Then I started training for a marathon in December and had a 1/2 marathon in June. Prior to June, I fell and hurt my knee and had to take some time off. Then I crammed in extra miles prior to the half–I went from 7 miles to 9 miles to 13 miles in 3 weeks.

    BAM–a week after my 1/2, I get diagnosed with a stress fracture in my left foot. I was so surprised. (Maybe it’s stupid to say that, but I was). I had thought that because I’d been running consistently, my body could handle the leap from 9 miles to 13, even though I knew that it wasn’t exactly “ideal.”

    Now I find myself a bit afraid of what it will look like to return to training again. I’m still hoping to make that marathon happen in December, and will need to cross train on the bike (yuck) or in the pool (blecch) a lot to make it happen.

    So–could you share here, or in another blog post, why you think the 10% rule doesn’t really apply, and what you think would be a more important focus? Or any thoughts on things you think runners do that might cause stress fractures in the feet? I would appreciate hearing more.

    • Hi Kate,

      If you click the linked text “10% rule,” it’ll take you to a blog post I wrote about it a few weeks ago. Basically, I think there’s really only a small window of mileage it really applies. Where it especially doesn’t apply (in my experience and some others’) is when you’re rebuilding to a mileage level you’ve been comfortable with in the past (what my friend Jason at strengthrunning.com calls your baseline) If you’re a brand new runner, then I think it’s a good rule of thumb (perhaps even too aggressive) until you develop a baseline.

      7 to 9 to 13 miles in three weeks is a much bigger jump than I’d recommend to someone who hadn’t done half marathons and probably even marathons before.

  8. Great Post! I often need a challenge to stick to my training and had never considered stringing together a long streak! This could be exactly what I need to get back in to the swing of things!

    Thanks Matt!!

    • You’re exactly who I wrote the post for, then! I had never considered an open-ended streak either, until I fell into this one. Once I set a goal of running every day for a month, but I failed at that. Having no definite end has made it more motivating!

  9. Great post and I definitely read the whole thing. I’ve never done a streak but am pretty set in my regular routine of making time for running almost every day!

  10. OK, I’m intrigued. In 2011 my goal was to run one race per month, partly because it was a neat goal, and partly to keep me from pushing past my limits (which always leads me to injury). I ended up racing 16 months in a row – and stayed healthy. Until the month where I stopped, and had to take off a month with a back injury relapse. so I’ll definitely be giving this idea some thought…

    • Cool, Kris. I knew someone else who did the race-a-month goal, and she achieved a lot more than she expected to that year. I haven’t experimented much with streaks, but this has taught me how powerful a motivating force one can be. So I expect I’ll try them for other things, too, possible races. Thanks! Hope your back is okay.

  11. As a 44 y.o. woman, I’m really wondering how old you are. I’ve tried every day running, it doesn’t work for me. Things fall apart.

    • Sage, I’m 31. Maybe that’s part of the difference, and maybe running every day isn’t for you. But keep in mind I’m not doing a lot of hard workouts here which would require more recovery. And when I do start them, I’ll have to be extra careful that my easy pace truly is easy enough. Could it be that you’re running too hard when you try to do it every day?

    • Carolyn says:

      I am 45 year old women and I have success at running every day. On one or two days a week I will run a slow mile and it still counts as running. The first thing I change into in morning are my running clothes and from there I am committed! Getting it done in the morning makes me less likely to eat junk because I don’t want to erase my hard work in the beginning of the day!

      • Carolyn, you are just tougher than I am. I am a lazy ass runner. I only started doing speedwork again in the last couple months. ALL my runs are slow!

  12. Chrissy says:

    Very inspiring, thank you!

  13. David Alig says:

    Thanks for your post Matt. It was too short. Have enjoyed your entries now for a couple of years or so. They help keep me on track both as a runner and a vegetarian. I recently bought the Kindle version of your half marathon planning training guide. Congratulations on your move to NC. I visited the Asheville area last September for the first time and it is wonderful. Thanks for being my imaginary friend and coach.

    • Thanks for reading and leaving a comment, David! I can assure you I’m not imaginary. Then again, isn’t that exactly what an imaginary friend would say?

      Glad you liked Asheville; we love it here!

  14. what a great read! i’m always facinated with running! i’m a wannabe runner, but this has definitely motivated me to pick up the pace. will be printing this out to motivate me to RUN!

  15. also first time reader!

  16. Lina Bean says:

    Right now I’m on a training program that allows for 3 runs per week (repeat, tempo, long), but there are days where I just want to break free of it and do an intuitive, gadget-free run. I see you run nearly every day…and as far as I can tell, you haven’t reported any significant joint problems. Do you think it’s a good idea to break free of the norm and do a “free run”? Or would this negatively affect joints? I’m terribly new at this… haha

  17. Great post, perfect timing for me, I’d mislaid my running mojo after the London marathon but after an easy run in the rain tonite nd so loving it nd then finding this post makes me want to go out again tomorrow and start to build for something more, like running every day nd see where it leads:-) thanx

  18. Jessica says:

    I read through all 50 observations, and really appreciated each one. Many are thoughts I’ve had myself, or ambitions that were similar. Congrats on your 50 days, and have fun with the next 50.

  19. Great post Matt! I joined a streaking group recently that formed at the beginning of June. The goal of the group is to keep each other motivated to keep their individual streak intact as long as possible.

    For the purposes of the group, the minimum daily requirement is to run 2 miles, do 50 pushups, and 50 crunches (or situps.) You can walk on “recovery” days and break up the pushups and situps throughout the day, or do “knee-assisted” pushups, etc.

    It’s been an extremely motivating group, lots of support, encouragement and enthusiasm. Many of us have been streaking since June 1st.

    Feel free to join the group page if anyone is interested (including you Matt!) Just make sure to introduce yourself and someone will guide you to the web page we have set up for logging. Hope to meet some new streakers soon!

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/312114465537133/

  20. Melanie says:

    You don’t know me and I don’t know you although I have followed your blog for several years…and own one of the first all cotton NMA t-shirts! Today I sat down at my computer after getting my daughter down for a nap and school age boys planted on sofas with books and thought “I will take a rest day”. And then I read this…thank you for the reminder that running is meditation so its ok to do it every single day. I am recommitted with no particular goal in sight. Thank you, thank you, thank you…

  21. Great post, Matt. I enjoyed reading through this list – very inspirational. I live on an island and my biggest obstacle is boredom. There are only so many roads, so many paths… I’ve done them all! Perhaps creating news goals that force me to mix things up constantly will help me stay motivated. I’ve also been working on nose breathing. Thanks for all you do!

    ~Kevin

  22. Amazing blog post!! You inspire me (and make me laugh)

  23. Thanks for the post, this streak sounds intriguing!

    Can you elaborate a bit on your bodyweight exercise regimen?

    Thanks, and keep these posts coming :)

  24. Love the post Matt, I have been running since 1975 and for many of those years I ran everyday. Now older and a heal that flares up I run every other day. I love running in nature but sometimes it has its surprises. This past week a bear cub cross my path and I worried each switchback down to my car the mother bear was going to show up next. Life is an adventure and running a rewarding part of it.

  25. I used to run with music, but I lost my headphones on the way to Accra, Ghana this summer, which was probably for the better. Running around the neighborhood means getting stopped every five seconds to greet people; with headphones, it’d be a lot harder to interact with the folks who live nearby. It’s great to be an engaged member of the community, not a white person ignoring the neighbors.

  26. I’ve never even considered a running steak before but now I’m definitely going to give it a go to get myself back into running. Thanks Matt! What body weight exercises are you doing in your three sets?

  27. Amazing post – I’ve never heard of a ‘running streak’ before, but now I’m thinking it sounds like a good idea – I guess you could fit in some longer runs, etc. if you were training for an event.

    Liking number 48 – just this week I took the decision that I was going to cut out my regular evening bottle of beer. Not saying I’m cutting out totally, though that may come in time, but still planning to allow myself the occasional night out with friends, but I already feel more alert and fresher in the morning for it.

    Off to check out the roadmap for marathons – with 20 years as a veggie, recent member of the Vegetarian Cycling & Athletic Club and with my first marathon coming up in October I think it could use some help. :-)

  28. Hi Matt! I think your website is super inspiring in general, and I seriously loved this post. I have had a tumultuous relationship with running (but somehow have managed to complete one [slow] marathon a year for the past 4 years) but I like this approach. No stress, no questions, just action. My latest mantra has been “lace up and go” and I think this post has just put me over the edge to apply that mantra on a daily basis. Thank you for being such a consistent source of motivation and information!

  29. Scott Larkin says:

    Great idea, i’ve started my streak yesterday, 10 mins a day this week, 12 mins a day next week. Might seem slow going but with my injury record, im leaving nothing to chance, its a great motivational technique, im already looking forward to my very early morning run in the morning.

  30. Thank you, Matt! I’ve stopped running a few months ago due to an injury, and never got back into it. Now it’s time!

    I’ve been to Asheville in spring this year and I absolutely love the city and the area around it. Oh, and the restaurants, Plant especially! Asheville truly is vegan heaven. You’re lucky to live there!

    Please keep on writing! :)

  31. Chris Lassen says:

    #34!! Just finished Jurek’s book, and just started Rich Roll’s. Great stuff!!! And great tips, thanks for sharing!!

  32. Jon Weisblatt says:

    Great job Matt! Keep up the awesome posts. I wonder if anyone out there has a “streaking” streak going (I’ve never had the courage to so it even once). Maybe that is too 1970’s.

  33. First time reader, great post. Coincidentally, today was day 38 of my planned 50-day streak. I’ll be taking a couple of days off before I run as a pacer for the San Francisco marathon. I was always told you need days off for your muscles to recover and strengthen – but I’m not sure that’s true. I listened to a Michael Wardian interview and he describes how he sometimes runs 5x per day (early in the morning,to work, during lunch, home from work, late at night). Today’s run was my fastest pace of the year and I’m coming off my highest mileage week of the year.

  34. Great post…I so much appreciate your honesty and commitment to keeping it real! After on and off running for weeks after my first marathon I’m so inspired to do this :)

  35. Thank you so much for this post! Today is day 236 of my streak of at least one mile each day. It has changed so much for me. I’ve discovered many of the things you listed, particularly that you don’t need a day off for recovery. I haven’t had an issue with injury and I used to think I couldn’t run more than 2 days in a row! The streak has also taken running from a “should” to a “must”. It’s no longer whether I should run, but when and how far. It’s much harder to skip a run with so many consistent days already on the books. Thanks for affirming my enthusiasm for running streaks and thank you for your website. It’s been an amazing resource!

  36. Matt,
    I found your blog when I first watched “Earthlings” earlier this year (I was looking for reviews before taking the plunge). I had been toying with vegetarianism and veganism the last couple year and finally took the “for real” plunge this summer. I liked your blog, but didn’t always read because I’ve always considered myself “not a runner.” My mantra used to be, “I only run if I’m being chased.” :-) I’m a big swimmer, though, so I figured it didn’t matter, and that some people are just built not to run.

    However, reading more of your blog and learning more about Scott Jurek and Rich Roll (a couple of my good friend’s heroes – he’s a big time runner), I’m intrigued by the whole runner’s world. I’ve decided to give it a shot. I’ll start small and I won’t push to hard (and I’ll keep swimming, because that is my passion), but I’ve decided to try and become a runner by the end of the year. Ultimately, I would like to train for the Las Vegas Marathon – which is where I live.

    The problem I’m having now is some of my friends coming out of the woodwork to tell me that 1) it’s an outlandish goal, 2) I can never get the requisite training in with my busy schedule (I’m a school teacher) and 3) “the human body is not designed to run such distances” <— that's a direct quote…

    I'm going to keep at it, though, and I want to thank you for the inspiration of your blog both in the running aspect and the plant-based diet aspect. Any extra words of encouragement would be much appreciated for this running-newbie, though.

    Keep up the good work!

    • And I can assure everyone that my typos are not a reflection on my teaching ability, merely an issue of thinking faster than I type. :-D

  37. Nancy rue says:

    Try altra running shoes. They’ll make you forget your Green silence!

  38. This post is one of the most inspiring ones that I have read in a long time anywhere.
    I am not much of a runner, more of a brisk walker, but am thinking of starting a little bit of jogging every day with some yoga or other strength building exercise. In fact, I already started yesterday when I hit upon this post.
    Sometimes, we have things in our head with all the right intentions but don’t follow up. A jolt like this could do a lot of good.
    Thanks again! Keep it up.

    P.S. I have shared this on Facebook.

  39. celeste says:

    Today was day 200 for me. :)

    • Scott Larkin says:

      Wow Celeste, that is amazing, can i ask what distance /time are you running each day, do you change it, or stick. inspirational, im only at day 15

  40. Heather says:

    Remember when I emailed you about training in the humidity and heat of Okinawa? I have noticed several times, the Okinawans running with full sweatsuits on in the same weather that I am dying in wearing shorts and a tank! Maybe they have evolved over the centuries? I think I’ll stick with my slow, bring lots of water, and take walk breaks method until it cools down a bit! But thanks for the link about acclimating to the heat!

  41. I’m inspired! Goals are being worked on and set today!

  42. Scott Larkin says:

    Day 15 just gone, building up slowly, but each morning i get up at 5am and the first thing i do is run, i love it, its become a habit.

  43. Been running since beginning of October 2011 & progressed up to an average of 25 miles/week. Then about six weeks ago just lost my motivation. The Tx summer heat probably had a little to do with it. Last Saturday I got in a nice run with my brother in law in some brutal mid day heat. After run got to thinking about doing a streak (at least 1 mi/day). On day nine now & feeling great. My motivation is back in bucket fulls!! This post just reinforced my decision to take on this open ended streak. Thanks for the insight with your post.

  44. graciela. says:

    My biggest take away from this post is that the Green Silence is being discontinued. No!!!!!!!!! I run in them and think they are the best shoes I’ve ever owned so it is sad to see that they will be no more. I just ordered a pair to save for the future. I might have to buy another pair as the end of the year draws near.

    But anyway, I’m also getting back into running. I just got so lazy and didn’t want to do any kind of working out in the last few months. But my head is back in the game and I’ve been doing decent. I don’t run every day because I lift weights but I’m committing to running 3x a week.

    It’s true about the therapy thing. I stopped because I felt overwhelmed by keeping a work out schedule but now it feels like therapy again.

  45. Hey Matt, I love your post and am a big fan of yours. For #23, you mention bodyweight excercises. What excersises would you recommend?

  46. Scott Jordan says:

    Great post! really inspiring. I think i just found my new years resolution.. 365 in a row would make a great challenge.
    Keep up the good work

  47. This is a great post! I’m currently 77 days into my running streak and I’ve learned a lot of the same things that you’ve written about above. I started out with the goal to run at least one mile a day for everyday in December. I definitely plan to work up to 100 days, and we’ll see what happens after that :)

  48. Ive always been in good physical shape but recently ive been wanting to step it up a notch.really challenge myself.i never ever hit the gym, and i dont like weights.id rather do cardio and speed training anyday.
    ive been on this running 3 days a week plan but after reading i decided that im going to attempt a streak

  49. Contrary to my email addy, I’m a 50yr-old runner of 30+ years and have done streaks on/off over the years to keep running ‘fresh’. My longest was 31 days, shortest have been between 5-13 day jaunts where for one reason or another (raising 3 kids put a kink in the plans, too) the streak never stuck. I’m currently on day 17 of my newest streak..and promised myself since I turned 50 this year, I will run 50 days in a row. It may take a couple of attempts, but I’ll do it this year. A google search led me to your blog! Bravo my good man, and keep running strong…and long.

    • Update! Today was Day 67 of my run streak…I made it to 50, and kept on going. I feel great. I have more good days over bad (the wx was unseasonably hot yesterday, I ran like a wet noodle) and I feel stronger each passing week. I’ll keep going…100 days sounds great.

  50. Great post, very timely for me. In searching for info on consecutive days running, I was very fortunate to find this. I have done “streaks” before, but not with running. 100 push ups a day for 100 days was my latest. lately being in a bit of a running slump, and feeling a little down because of some runners knee issues. I figured why not do some easier running everyday, not just a lot of hard running to get ready for a race. This is just what I need to “breathe some new life” into my running as you said. My first official day is tomorrow, although I ran yesterday and will run today. I am doing the running, in conjunction with another 100 push up streak. Thanks for this post! Happy running.

  51. Starting a 100 day streak, or what I hope to be anyway, tomorrow. I have done 100 push ups a day for 100 days. Thinking of doing it again, I decided to do some running too, hoping to “breathe some new life” into a bit of a running slump. Great post!

  52. Thanks for your post. The streak approach is the best way to counter excuses not to run, barring Injury, of course. Light running the best to avoid injuries

  53. This one goes into my bookmark bucket. I run 2 miles a day everyday it’s been close to 60 days now and I can so much relate myself to the experiences and thoughts that you have put up. Inspiring stuff… Hail to the runners! Jump and Run!

  54. I first started runing when I was 42. I followed the c25k and ran several 5k but then summer came and the kids were out of school and my youngest at the time was a little over a year so it didn’t allow extra time. I’m now 45 and started runing again and I really hated getting out there only 3 days a week so I googled running everyday and found you. I’m glad I did, Thanks, Maria

  55. Just stumbled across this from Google!

    I was originally looking for running tips as I have just started out on a mild 6 week programme to ‘ease me in’ to being able to run for hour… However this blog has helped me with so much more!

    I clicked onto your habit changing and about goals and also read those in full. At the moment Im saving for a deposit on a house, learning to drive, really want to get my abs visible again and also want to stop drinking as this has become an unwanted midweek evening habit having a can or 2 at the moment! Even though I’ve been struggling with these 4 goals for months it wasn’t until I read all your advice that I now feel I can do this.

    I wrote down my goals and plans as you said, thought of triggers and alternatives. The drinking trigger is normally my Dad having a can, it normally happens 8:30 to 9pm. My alternatives for this are now going to be to list items on eBay, to study theory, to go on a driving lesson, goto the gym or go on a run, or if I have to do these activities sooner I can hold off getting a shower and go for a long soak in the bath during this time.

    Now I’ve read this it all seems clear as day now! Actually wondering why I didn’t just realise this myself before! Ha.

    Thanks for the kick up the a** I needed Matt! You have been very inspirational to me & I’m definitely going to check out as many of your articles as I can! =)

  56. I love this and will share, with your permission. I know it was written last year but it all applies. Motivation Friday…. Thank you for sharing :-)

    • Sure Terie, feel free to share! All I ask is that you don’t reprint the whole thing word for word on your site … Google doesn’t like that, apparently.

  57. Grizzly says:

    Up to day 87 of my non-deliberate attempt at a running streak and I think I can echo most of your major points, only for me it’s running in the cold, what is this “heat” you speak of? I particularly like your comment about it being a trigger for other habits, and I find that is quite true with me. I work in a very treat-centric department and for 87 days have avoided the cookies and cake and pop and candy that are around me because for some strange reason on that first day of my running streak I said to myself “No, not today, I ran today”, and that’s become a mantra and as much of a habit as the running has been.

    I’ve also found, looking back on my old running logs that even at the height of my mileage (70-80 mpw years) I never was THIS consistent, just running for time, running by feel, not caring about the distance.

    I know that daily running isn’t for everyone but I am enjoying this. Now to not obsess over it when it becomes patently stupid to run (illness or insane weather)!

  58. Erica S says:

    Yes, I was intrigued.. Finished reading this page, as well as taking some side roads that you have highlighted. As a swimmer, who is feeling more and more compelled to hit the road, I was looking for some validation to jogging/running (whatever the heck this is I’m starting to do) everyday-and I found it. The green light is on. Thank you for your thoughts on the 10% rule too.
    As far as diet goes, here is yet another area that I’ve been doing a lot of searching and questioning around (not joking, I finally asked my version the ‘divine wow’ to throw me a bone here please! Or not a bone…anyways..) The info here is duly noted.
    Ok, out the door now-day 4 of 50. woot!

  59. Hi Matt, I love the idea of running everyday, but have had little ‘niggling’ injuries that stop me committing to it. Maybe if I do it then those injuries will disappear!
    I apologise if you covered this, but did you increase your length of time running each day, or did you roughly periodise it? Thanks for the inspiration

  60. Matt can you tell us specifically how your body changed after 50 days of running? How much did you lose off your waist or how many pounds did you lose?

    • Jeff, I really didn’t pay attention to any of that stuff. I’m pretty thin, and I had trained for and run a marathon a few months before this, so I doubt my body would have changed much from 50 days of running. I was doing some strength training at the same time, and I remember putting on a little muscle during this period, but beyond that I don’t recall.

  61. Dave Johnson says:

    This is an excellent post. I am 2 days from completing 7 straight weeks. The biggest things I learned line up so much with what you posted here. Running form, days off are just excuses, no music, breathing, the changes to your body in such a short time. It has challenged me to run at night, on vacation (bachelor parties, wedding weekends, work trips), times when I normally would have stopped and then struggled to start again. I don’t see myself stopping this anytime soon. The harsh winter is coming, that will be the true test.

  62. Great post. I have been ‘Googling’ running streaks, running for a year etc… and came upon your 50 lessons. I thought it was spot on.
    I just completed day 65 of my ‘Running 39 to 40′ goal. http://running39to40.blogspot.com/

    Not always easy, but I have found that my early morning run is one of the best parts of my day. I now cannot imagine not running and praying to stay injury free!

    Peace, ~ Celeste

  63. I googled “461 days of running” and your post came up. Today is my 461st day. I read with interest your many inciteful points about the benefits of the running. I didn’t see anything about cholesterol readings — so I am sharing here: Dec 2011 I did a blood checkup — and had cholesterol redaing of 229, which is bad, and 12 other bad readings related to my health – even though I was in what I thought was great condition. So, it took me 7 months, but one day I found the printout again and just decided to do a Forest gump and start running. So I ran 2 miles, came in, wrote down the date, time, weather, how I felt, and how long it took. I then said to myself: “I will do this for 400 days, and then, if it has become a habit, I will keep going.” In 6 months my cholesterol went down to 195 and all the other bad readings disappeared. I lost 25 pounds. And I religiously run just 2 miles. Sometimes more, but never less. 9 minutes out, 8 minutes back. Personal best is just 15:10, but who cares. At 400 days I discovered it was, indeed, a habit. I thought I could never run in the cold snowy winter, but I did. And loved it. I used to hate running; now I can’t do without it. I look in the morror and I can’t see a belly anymore. I look at other men my age, 55, and they look old and flabby and lost. But I, I am found. Run Forrest, Run!

  64. Douglas Ritter says:

    I’m at 110 days in a row at the moment. I bike and swim and run. I have no clue when to stop. The record for consecutive days running is 44 years!! (At least one mile during a day.) But exercising for about 400 days puts one at number 520 on the list. Not bad. Well done!

    • Sean Esterhuizen says:

      Really? 44 years is the tops? That is amazing. And 400 is in the 520th spot? Just curious — whose list, and who maintains it? Day 489 here, and running in the rain is my favorite. Summer rain. This winter stuff can be brutal. Funny how the body heats up, though, and the second mile is always exhilerating — especially the end. For month of December I am joining my son Hans in doing two-a-days — that is a run and something else (must be at another time of the day), like pullups/pushups,swim,bike. To ward off the holiday food that gathers at the waist.

  65. Ok, nice blog, interesting comments and lessons. I am in my fifth day of my 365 day streak. Running in low temperatures is quite a challenge up here in canada. We are in mid winter and temperatures drop down to -18 to -26, (celsius or fahrenheit, its the same, very very cold) like today. Going out is a big challenge. I think it adds another dimension to the goal, to fight the weather every day. Ice is treacherous, dressing is different, running over snow is harder than pavement. I have been running for three years but this is my first streak, inspired by a colleague that did 535 outdoor days streak. I am having fun though…your blog is inspiring. I wish you could talk more about your difficult moments of hesitation, what you did, and how to keep going, i hesitate every time i check the thermometer.
    Thanks, i learned a lot reading your 50 lessons.

  66. Just thought I would add my 2 cents. I tried this and ended up injured when I hit the 50 minute per day mark. Granted, I have only run about a year but I think for some people running longer but with more days off might be better than running everyday shorter amounts. There is also a benefit to staggering runs (45 min / 60 min / 45 min / etc) which is why you will notice most marathon training plans do not have someone run a set amount of time everyday.

  67. Sean Esterhuizen says:

    Day 589 of 2-mile per day runs. The cold has been soooo cold, but its only 16 minutes of running, so I can stand it. Just layer on 1 short sleave, 2 long-sleave tshirts, a sweater, sweatpants, hat and gloves, and I’m off. Can’t wait for the warmer weather.

  68. 42. There’s no feeling like letting go when the rain starts pouring on you in the middle of your run.

    a-are you talking about peeing?

  69. BayshoreBandit says:

    Nice list, a little off topic in the 30s but all and all a good list. I think you should have mentioned how hard day 2 and 3 will be. Just like quitting smoking, if you just push through you’ll be glad you did but days 2 and 3 remind you just how little you’ve been using those muscles lately.

    • I agree. I am on my third day and the soreness is intense. I just have to keep in mind that I haven’t done a single healthy thing for myself in the last two years so a few days of pain is a relatively small price to pay. I am having pretty heavy back spasms due to lower back weakness…wondering if there are any good resources on proper running form?

  70. I didn’t realize how bad my weight was until I went to get life insurance and the cost of a simple term policy tripled due to my weight. Sounds stupid but the goal of saving money was more inspiration than my lagging health. I went around searching for ideas to kick start losing 35 pounds and came across this list. I hate running more than anything, but usually the things you hate to do the most are the things that will end up being most beneficial. I am on day three and it is going well but embarrassing not to be able to run 15 minutes. It feels like most of my muscles have atrophied due to just sitting in an office chair eating fast food. But I am winning small victories. Running a half mile without stopping, approaching a 10 minute mile…small victories. Anyways, thank you for throwing this up here…it clicked on a light bulb for me.

    Ryan

  71. On day six.. Love this article.. I’m 50 years old but I will do fifty days and looking forward to,dropping ten pounds :)

  72. Sandra Daves says:

    Enjoyed the tips. Started running in April. Ran a 5k the end of May. Really enjoying running every morning.

  73. Was wondering what the best trails are in Asheville for running, specifically?

    • I honestly don’t run trails all that often, since road running is great near where I live. But Bent Creek is the place I’ve gone most often for trails; there’s plenty there to keep you busy!

  74. Hey Matt! This is a beautiful article. I came across this article after finishing my 50 days and trust me, a lot of what u have written is spot on. Its great to see that there are other people out there who value running so much.

  75. Hi (Im’ french, sorry for the english), i used to run 3-4 times a week and already made two marathons, but i’m passionate in ice hockey till 3 years, so making marathons doesn’t interest me for the moment, i ve no time and energy for it, I stop smoking a week ago, so i decided to make a “streak” like you: i’m able to run 2 hours if i’m well trained, but i decided to run everyday 45 min, at a low speed (endurance) rate, just for the pleasure. I’m on day 5 /5, and i enjoy goin’ outdoor in the cold morning before going to work. Thanks you beacause it’s by reading your blog that i find a way to continue runnin even if ice hockey had come my target number one and i was believing not having time to run. I don’t have any idea of a target: 30 days? 50 days? A year?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.” – Anne Morris, but I found it here. This entry was posted in Uncategorized by tessa. Bookmark the [...]

  2. [...] a slightly-less-insane but equally-admirable way, I read a blog post today titled “50 Lessons Learned from 50 Days of Running” in which the author set himself the goal of running once a day, every day, for 50 days. He [...]

  3. [...] I was inspired by a blog from No Meat Athlete (50 Lessons Learned From 50 Days of Running). It motivated me because it reinforced something I was slowly starting to come to realize.. I [...]

  4. [...] a big fan of lengthy-list posts, Matt Frazier at No Meat Athlete makes a compelling one in sharing 50 lessons learned from a 50-day run streak.  These are mostly practical points that provide good insights no matter what your [...]

  5. [...] this time, however!  I was inspired by a post on No Meat Athlete from a little while ago, which is about the author’s 50-day running streak.  I learned a lot [...]

  6. [...] 31 days. And who knows, I might keep going? After all, there are people out there who have gone for 50 days or 48 [...]

  7. [...] något kul – streaka: gör något repetativt under en bestämd tidsrymd, eller så länge du klarar. Yoga varje dag i en [...]

  8. [...] Lots of miles, lots of hours, lots of conversations. All those crazy thoughts you have on a solo run now have a sounding board, grat advice, and feedback. You get the added bonus of looking less like a crazy person because you no longer have to talk to yourself to keep entertained. Nothing is off-limits in a long run conversation and what’s discussed on the run, stays on the run. ‘Nuff said. (via http://www.nomeatathlete.com/50-lessons-running-streak/) [...]

  9. [...] 2. http://www.nomeatathlete.com/50-lessons-running-streak/ [...]

  10. […] in part to the No Meat Athlete for his article, 50 Lessons Learned from 50 Days of Running, I have decided to start my own streak but am instead going with 30 days, which would be until […]

  11. […] This particular challenge was inspired by my friend Matt Frazier and his Lessons Learned from 50 Days of Running. […]

  12. […] that proves that endurance athletes adopt a plant-based diet and still be at the top of their game. This post that he wrote liked to this seed of wisdom, planted back in 2009 by Leo Babauta. I highly suggest […]

  13. […] I mentioned not long ago about doing a 50 day cycling challenge. I got this idea from Matt’s 50 day running streak. […]

  14. […] 1. Don’t go downhill too often–the next day, that hurts more than going uphill. (No Meat Athlete) […]

  15. […] I have always wanted to be a runner. I have always wanted to enjoy running, and I have always envied those that do when I see them. I have tried to do the running thing in the past and it never lasted very long. I needed to be inspired, and I am voracious reader, and when voracious readers need to be inspired, they pick up a book; and I picked up a book very popular in the running world known as Born to Run by Christopher McDougall. I searched for a few running blogs and came across one that I still read today: No Meat Athlete, written by Matt Frazier. There is one article, in particular, that inspired me that I still go back to on occasion even now when I am feeling a bit negative: Lessons Learned from a 50 Day Run Streak. […]

  16. […] 1 January 2013 to 21 June this year, I exercised every day. Spurred on originally by this blog on streak running from No Meat Athlete, and bound to be true to my resolution by declaring it aloud to my son on day one – because who […]

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