Running Challenge

The Gobi MarchRunners are always looking for a different challenge. But what does one do after signing up for countless 5Ks, long-distance races, color runs, and obstacle races through the mud? Commit to the so-called “Holiday Streak!”

The Runner’s World Holiday Streak challenges runners to lace up their shoes and run at least one mile per day beginning Thanksgiving day and ending on New Year’s Day. No substitutions allowed: biking, swimming, yoga–none of them count. You must commit to running one mile every day. The idea is once you get out there, you’ll keep going for a bit longer and actually get a reasonable work out in. And presumably, the extra work outs will keep the holiday weight in check.

Five Wall Street Journal staffers are crazy enough to commit to this challenge, and the group will mostly be running their miles in chilly New York City weather. We also upped the ante by setting up a Nike+ Challenge: we have to run at least 60 miles in December. We’ll be blogging once a week to share our experiences, and hopefully at the end of this challenge, we’ll still want to run in 2014.

Shelly Banjo
29 years old, Retail reporter at The Wall Street Journal

Shelly Banjo

I started running on the cross-country team in high school (it was a small school and I wasn’t very fast but I loved it). I ran my first half marathon in 2009 and while my first full marathon in New York in 2010 was a bit dramatic, I kept going. I’ve now run a total of two marathons and 10 half-marathons.

Being from Texas, I hate the cold and my running certainly drops off in the winter when I choose sleeping in my warm bed over getting out to run. This year, I wanted to force myself to do the latter so I agreed to do the challenge. Plus, my competitive streak kicked in when I found out a bunch of other friends were doing it. Here’s to the next 30 days!

On the first week: It turns out, running is the easy part! The hard part is getting out of bed after a night of drinking wine and gobbling down Thanksgiving dinner, bundling up, and heading out in 30 degree weather. On the second day, with family in town and a big meal to cook, I came dangerously close to missing day three, but I rallied at the last minuted and ran a mile at 11 p.m. It soon became clear how this thing worked: intense peer pressure forces that voice in your head to say: “I can’t be the first one to drop out, I have to get out there.” That, in turn, forces you to prioritize running, exercise and taking care of yourself during a season filled with indulgence and packed schedules.

Kaitlyn Kiernan

Kaitlyn Kiernan
24 years old, Options reporter at The Wall Street Journal
I started running when I was 15 with my high-school track team. In college, I ran my first half marathon. Since then, I’ve run 24 races, including four half marathons and two marathons. I decided to do the running streak since I’m in between training plans, and during the cold winter months it helps to have something to motivate me to run. It seemed liked an interesting challenge because it isn’t just a physical challenge, but a lifestyle challenge that really forces a prioritization of running when I would typically just focus on eating, drinking and being merry.

On the first week: I really hope this is one of those things were it gets easier after the first week… This was a hard first five days, but I can also see how this challenge is worth it. If not for the challenge, I definitely wouldn’t have run at all this weekend, or on Friday, but after how much I ate on Thanksgiving, it is probably best I did run.

John Kell

John Kell
31 years old, Real Time reporter at The Wall Street Journal
I started casually running at 22, when I was told by a doctor my BMI was teetering near mildly obese. (For the record, I’m 5’11” and weighed about 178 at the time). I seriously became a “runner” about four years ago. Since then, I’ve completed four long-distance relays, eight half marathons, and one marathon, my first being the 2013 Chicago marathon in October. I decided to take on this challenge after reading a story in Runner’s World magazine about another runner’s experience doing the challenge last year. I liked the idea of forcing myself to squeeze in daily work outs without any excuses. It also helped that this year, there are fewer days between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. The challenge is helping me lace up my shoes on a daily basis no matter how cold it gets; and I’ll likely be in top shape to kick off 2014.

On the first week: I agree, there is no way I would have ran every day this weekend (even though I had the time) without this challenge in mind. It’s definitely kept me motivated (though I haven’t yet run today and I may be singing a different tune in a week). I’m hoping that after we get through the first half of December, it’ll get easier and become more second nature.

Josee Rose

Josée Rose
32 years old, Assistant News Editor at The Wall Street Journal
I started running when I was 26 years old and thought it would be a good idea to run a marathon that year: 1 mile for every year of life. Since then I’ve run 27 races, including 4 marathons, 15 half marathons and 1 Spartan obstacle race.

When John suggested we try the Runner’s World 2013 Holiday Running Streak I thought it was a great idea for a few reasons. It’s something new for me. I never ran more than 3 days in a row, so to do more than 30 will definitely be difficult. Secondly, it’s a good way to stay in shape during all the holiday meals, parties and drinking! And since I’m pretty competitive, it’s a great motivator too. I can add this to “things I did in 2013″ and it will put me in a good place to start my 2014 training.

On the first week: I hate the idea but I love the result. It’s nice to have some sort of motivation to get off the couch, especially since I’m off this week. That being said after six days, my legs are sore and I’m wondering how smart of a decision this was – and how sane we are for agreeing to do it. The weather the past four days has made it easier since it’s been above 50 degrees and that’s perfect!

Steven Russolillo

Steven Russolillo
28 years old, MoneyBeat reporter at The Wall Street Journal.

I started running about five years ago. I’ve completed 10 half marathons and four marathons, including the 2013 NYC marathon.

I’m not quite sure why I agreed to do this running challenge. In fact, I question the decision every morning I drag myself out of bed, lace up the kicks and brave the cold. But it does provide motivation to keep in shape during the difficult winter months. If it weren’t for this challenge, I wouldn’t be running at all. So it is doing a good job of getting my butt in gear for when I eventually start racing again in 2014. So far so good.

On the first week: I’m the curmudgeon of the group. I find this so-called challenge to be more of a nuisance than anything else. Running at least one mile a day isn’t difficult; the hard part is finding the time to do it. I agree that I wouldn’t have done most of these runs were it not for the challenge. But I don’t feel any different/any healthier than I did a week ago. Perhaps I will be singing a different tune later this month, but for now I find the challenge pretty underwhelming.

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source: The Wall Street Journal


Categories: Runners, Sports

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1 reply

  1. It’s very true! I’m doing the Spartan 1 Mile a Day for 30 Days challenge. Last Sunday I ended up running 10km instead. Good stuff!


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