Thursday, January 5, 2012


So I'm on 'streak day #16' which conflicts with the 'rest day' suggestion in my training program.

I'm still torn about the whole streak thing. On one hand I think it's a fun thing to shoot for, could be a great motivator to keep going and one of those 'anything that keeps ya running' things.

You hear about people who've been on run streaks for years and years and they seemingly remain injury free.

You read about and admire the Dean K guys who run 50 marathons in 50 days or clear across the country.

Did Forrest Gump ever stop to take a rest day during his streak?  can't be sure but I think not.

one of my favorite movies by the way
On the other hand some (myself included) worry about if a streak will eventually set you back. Will you push too hard? Go too far? Suffer burn-out, become obsessed with "not breaking the streak" to the point of being stubbornly stupid?

I'm not sure. I'm taking this one day at a time. I didn't start this to prove anything - I've just been looking forward and needing my daily run a lot lately - so I've done it.  Part of it is fueled by a small panic of the indulgent holidays (and a few pounds that showed up on the scale) another part of it is fueled by thinking about Spring races and the last part is fuel to keep mentally happy.

Anyway, back to the discipline thing.

a little dramatic but effective

It occurred to me during my 'rest' day slowed-down jog/run this morning that 90 pounds ago it used to take an incredible amount of discipline for me to just get to the gym and then just push myself to run at a 4.2 on the treadmill for a bit.  Now, it takes a tremendous amount of discipline to keep the treadmill between a 4.5 and 5.0 for only only 20 minutes to keep myself at a "rest pace."  How it has all changed!!

Discipline is a tricky thing and true discipline requires balance.

The 'disciplined' dieter who restricts calories to the point of starvation is not showing true discipline… he begins to cross the line into obsession which negates the point of having discipline in the first place.

I guess the same holds true with running. Where does discipline start to cross the line into obsession -and is there ever too much of a good thing?

The thing I have learned about discipline is this - it's necessary for driving yourself forward towards your goals but it is also very, very addictive. With discipline comes power over yourself and control. If you've ever heard some anorexics speak, they'll say the power over their food was the only thing they could control - it could begin as a good feeling of pride for having 'such discipline' and then cross that line.

I take pride in the discipline that I've developed. No doubt.

And I like to think I have discipline because I really am trying to approach this thing with a day-by-day, not afraid to break the streak, approach. But maybe I'm just fooling myself?

In any case. I did keep my pace to around a 13 min. mile for my 1.5 rest day run - and that took mucho discipline because I wanted to RUN.

I'm heading to Atlantic City tonight and I'll be required to have some food/alcohol/gambling discipline… or maybe I'll loosen up just a bit. ;)


Do you have discipline? Do you grapple with extremes? Any further thoughts on running streaks. Where are other places in your life that you work at being disciplined?



Jason said...

Do I have discipline? Does the Pope wear a funny hat?

But it is true that too much discipline can be a bad thing. I am learning to relax more about my training and by that I mean actually hitting them the way coach wants and finding out about myself in the process.

When coach says Aero on the bike I know I am to be between 135-145bpm and on the run that means an 8:30-9:00/mi pace and I need to remember that. The road to Ironman is long and I can't risk injury and so with that I say that I have discipline to do as I'm told and not go overboard.

Erica Gorman said...

Great "rest" day and ironically I was in the same boat. What to run on my rest day. I ended up doing an easy mile and lots of lovely stretching!

Unknown said...

i am diciplined but i am also human and have my days.
it's funny, i was just thinking back to my days too (im training a girl new to fitness) and we started with run/walk intervals this week. i remember when i thought 5.0 was SPRINTING! woo hoo
high five girlie on all you have accomplished.
just remember to follow your heart and listen to those legs :)

Holly said...

I was thinking of doing a streak, but my body has had injuries due to overtraining in the past, so I won't try a "running streak" but maybe a "fitness streak". Something every day. So if you feel a physical need for a break from running, why not a walk, bike ride, weights, etc.? I am hoping to be active in 2012 as many days as I can!

misszippy said...

I think that once you cross a certain point as an endurance athlete, yes, it's easy to be too disciplined. I've learned over many years that it's ok to skip a workout now and then. Do I do it often? No. But I know it's ok.

I say roll with it tomorrow. If you have a little too much fun tonight, nothing wrong with letting the streak go and sleeping in!

Lynette said...

Interesting speak about discipline in that last part! Love it. Congrats on all you've accomplished! New reader here. I say go for it on your streak. Even if you walk your mile or so some days, it still counts! I think so at least. Good luck!

RunToTheFinish said...

this is a really interesting thought process...largely because I think you were in my head. I used to run every single day for months on i've started to realize that might actually be keeping me from reaching certain goals. so i have a workout streak instead :)

LilyWren said...

Hi Jen,
I do enjoy reading your blog and there is certainly food for thought! I have just started on this running malarkey and today I already noticed the need for that said discipline. Yes, I need lots of it to actually get on the treadmill but now I feel I need lots to enable me to pace correctly and not do too much.

I have only just started really and felt I could have done lots more today but I know I could have run the risk of injury or just plain collapse!

Yep, I love your 'rest' day! Something for me to aim for :)

Mandy said...

Catching up in blogland - I like to think I have discipline...but probably not as much as I could.

I'm not a big fan of running streaks...but that's because I'm a firm believer in complete rest days - and right now I need them. LOL! But, it worked for you!