For the second December in a row, I participated and completed the 3 for 31 challenge. What that means, is that for the whole month of December I ran 3 miles each day. And after my second consecutive year of participating, I noticed some of the same challenges, obstacles, and rewards each year! Before starting this last year I figured running three miles a day would be no problem- I had been training and running the sum of that each month already anyways. How hard could it be? Well, I am here to tell you that it was NOT that easy. Even after coming off of a crazy marathon and training season this fall running at least 3 miles every day for 31 days was absolutely challenging.
The challenges. Let me be the first to tell you that finding the time to run for any amount each day is so challenging. Yes, the miles themselves only take a certain amount of time, but you have you account for the prep time (coffee, stretching, eating) and then post run (coffee, stretching, eating + showering!). Then when you think about the amount of daylight in each day in December, you realize that if you want to run outside, just about all your weekday runs will be done in the dark. For me, the challenge of having the motivation came and went, but where I felt most accountability was through my Instagram Fitfam which sounds crazy, but I would post my run just about every day and I honestly felt like I would let some of my followers down if I didn’t get my run in (whether there was a post or not!)
The obstacles. December is one of the most crazy and busy months for most people, myself included. Between all the parties, Christmas shopping, Christmas celebrations, traveling, and NYE, time is one of the biggest obstacles I faced, but I am a big time planner and I would take it week by week and look my calendar and see what plans I had each week and I would choose to do my run either before or after after on each day.
On one particular morning I slept through my alarm and had a holiday party to attend after work and meetings at lunch, I found an hour from 10-11 where I could fit in a run during work. TBH (and maybe TMI), I didn’t even shower after this one… literally just had time for the run, so I busted out the dry shampoo, wiped down my face, and re-did my make up and was off to my meeting and the rest of my day.
Another instance where time got in my way, was when I was heading up to Tahoe for a night, with friends. I didn’t want to run in the mountains in the cold, so I ran at 4am before we left at 6am. Some people may call this crazy, but I just call it dedication. The commitment to this year’s challenge was so real.
The rewards. You know how everyone talks about gaining all the holiday weight at the end of the year and then everyone feels the need to go on crazy diets come the first of the new year? Well, for two years in a row this challenge literally kept all the extra holiday weight at bay, in fact, for two years in a row I actually lost weight in December. And trust me, I did not hold back on the holiday eating or the cookies! Now, I don’t run to lose weight, I run because I love it. But I would be totally lying if I said it wasn’t conscious of my weight each day. Each year this surprised me the most, because I don’t even usually lose weight when I am marathon training. While, that is obviously a nice surprise, the biggest reward is looking back at the end and realizing you actually accomplished running 3 miles every day for 31 days! Woah. When you realize you made the time for yourself to do something you committed to doing for yourself and only yourself. It’s pretty cool. This challenge doesn’t benefit anyone but yourself, and you don’t get anything at the end except for the satisfaction of finishing and that for me was a big enough reward.
I challenge you to give it a try at some point this year or join me next December!