I’m not big on fitness challenges and I never have been. This time of year, over the summer, etc. my Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of “3 week ab challenge!” or “30 day healthy eating/drinking challenge!” and I’ll be the first to admit, they typically turn me off. Why? Because I like doing my own thing. I like to run, and that’s it. I’ll run for ME (not a challenge) and be happy with myself for doing how I do.
But last year, when I saw that one of my favorite bloggers, Runs For Cookies, was doing a fall to winter walk/run challenge, I thought, I can do this. What’s the big deal? I already run every day and track my mileage, this is just a group of people who like to do the same thing. Little did I expect that I’d finish the challenge with the most mileage of the group and a prize (the prize was given out randomly, but I was still just as excited to receive it – it’s a Kindle! my first one!).
So, when I saw Cleveland Marathon was doing a 21 Day Challenge starting January 1, I was curious. No, more than curious – I was interested. I had just done one challenge, could I do another? Especially since this one was mysterious – each day you’d be given a random challenge. It could be running related, strength training, or other healthy habits, all to help you prepare for training for the Cleveland races. So, as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador, I decided to sign up!
Now that we’re one week into January – and I’m one week into the challenge – here’s how it’s going.
Challenge Day 1: 20 minutes of activity (walk, run, hike, etc.)
What I did: This was New Years Day and I was tired. But, I still got out to run 5ish miles.
Challenge Day 2: 15 minutes of cardio plus strength training: 3 circuits of 10 jumping jacks, 10 squats, 10 lunges, 10 kickbacks
What I did: I got in 5.19 miles of running outside and then did the circuits with FW. These were hard for me! I never ever do any strength training, so I was happy when they were done. But it was fun to have FW joining me!
Challenge Day 3: Meal plan and prep
What I did: I got in 6 miles of running (about 2.5 on the treadmill when FW was the only one awake and 3.5 outside when everyone else got up in the house) to keep up my run streak. I haven’t been great about planning our weekly meals in advance, but thanks to the challenge, I knew it was something I had to do. So, I planned out the meals, ordered groceries, and went for my run while B picked them up. Plus, I prepped and washed the fruit when he got home, so that it will be easier to grab this week.
Challenge Day 4: 25 minutes of activity
What I did: 5.33 mile run. It was snowy/slippery, so it was more of a walk/run than run since I was trying to not fall half of the time.
Challenge Day 5: Work out before noon
What I did: This was TOO easy for me 🙂 I’m only a morning worker outer. I can’t work out in the afternoon. So, it was easy for me to get out and run 5.33 miles before the sun came up. was done by 7 a.m.
Challenge Day 6: Upper body workout – 30 second plank, 10 pushups, 10 shoulder taps, 10 punches (3-5 sets) plus 15 minutes cardio
What I did: I got in a 5.4ish mile run, followed by the circuit (4x). It was hard. I never do upper body workouts (or really, any workouts besides running) so I knew it would be tough. LM did want to join in, which was fun!
Challenge Day 7: Share and prepare a healthy recipe
What I did: 5.3 miles run, plus some jumping jacks, pushups and planks to get my body moving when I got home. Oh, and of course I shared a recipe — avocado toast! Thursday nights we eat brinner at our house, and that’s exactly what I wanted.
Challenge Day 8: 30-minute walk
What I did: I had an early day, so I knew if I wanted to keep up my running streak and getting 5 miles AND a 30-minute walk before walk, I’d have to get up earlier than I have been the past few months. It’s funny, I used to have my alarm set for before 5 a.m. before the pandemic, but since I’ve been working from home and the kids don’t have to rush to eat breakfast/get ready (because they’re also at home), I get to sleep in and run an hour later. But Friday, I had to wake up at 5 again. It wasn’t bad — I woke up, got in a 5.32 mile run and then got in a 30-minute walk with the whole family. It was such a great way to start my day!
Challenge Day 9: Push Yourself: Run 1 mile further than you’ve run in the past month.
What I did: I groaned when I saw this one. While I’ve been keeping it steady at 5 miles/day for the past month, I did run 6 miles twice in December and wasn’t looking forward to pushing it up to 7… But Saturday morning I woke up and for the first time in ages, there was blue sky and sun! It was COLD but I had a really good 7.5 mile run and felt pretty good almost the entire time.
So, for those of you still reading, I hit a little more than 40 miles this week, for the first time since November! We’ll see how this week’s challenge goes. I’m about halfway through!
- Are you doing any challenges now?
- What’s the longest run you’ve done in the past month?