30 runs in 30 Days

It’s been a good month of running.  This is the third time I have completed 30 runs in 30 days and every time I am blown away with the results.  I by no means created the 30 runs in the 30 days but I am a HUGE believer in it.  I follow the guidelines lined out by the boys over at Endurance Corner and have encouraged athletes I coach and friends to go after it as well.

read it: 30 runs in 30 days

There was quite a bit behind jumping into another round of 30 days of running for me.  The first being is that nothing clears my head or lets me think more clearly than running.  I love riding my bikes but you always have to be hyper-aware of everything around you…. cars, pedestrians, obstacles in the road, etc.  There are very few times you can totally tune everything out and just go.  I feel the opposite is true with running.  Sure there are things on the trail you need to watch out for but avoiding them is more instinctual.  When I run I just run.  I can think as much or as little as I want.  It’s been a source of free therapy that’s definitely helped me deal with things.

I have also been looking for my next challenge.  I originally thought it was going to be the Everest Challenge and then rolling straight into cyclocross season… but the running somehow took over.  It’s what I had wanted to do since pacing Slater at the Zion 100 and running the Holcomb Valley 33 miler… but unfortunately I was a bit too motivated and ended up getting a pretty gnarly shin splint.  I really didn’t ramp up any faster than I have in the past but I think my body is just different now.  Crossfit has changed my body pretty dramatically and I am carrying more muscle then ever before.   So after Lake Stevens 70.3 and taking 2 weeks off of running to heal my shin, which totally worked, I started to run again.  I wanted to use #30in30 to become a runner again.

I started slow and stuck to a plan I know works for me when I am coming back to running after a break.  I start with 30-45 minute runs with 2 days rest between each run for a week to 10 days.  Once I am rolling through that and feeling good I start running 30-45 minutes every other day.  After a couple of weeks of that I jumped into the 30 days on Tuesday August 21st.

I continued to knock out a lot of short runs.  When I do this a “run” to me just has to be 30 minutes… that’s it.  A lot of them were just 30 or so minutes down the coast after crossfit. I also committed to myself that I wouldn’t do any “workouts” during the 30 days.  No intervals, no tempo sessions, no hill repeats… just running.  No concern about speed, just backing it up day after day.  I do occasionally check my pace and make mental notes of my PE (perceived exertion) while waiting for the MAGIC to happen.  As with every other time I have done #30in30 around 7-10 days in there is  very noticeable change.  My pace begins to quicken at the same PE.  I started the 30 days jogging about 7:30-8 min/mile pace and by half way through that was down to 7 min pace.  And now when I am just cruising I often see between 6:30-7 min/mile pace on my garmin and I’m not running any HARDER.

The majority of my runs were between 30-45 minutes for the first couple of weeks with a long run here and there.  The last 2 weeks there a lot of 60+ minute runs in there, some really long runs, and some racing.  None of it was planned.  I was just going by feel.  This is by far the best I have ever felt running and have never really recovered as well as I am now… even when I have done this before.  I NEVER felt beat down or wishing I could take a day off.  I think a lot of that has to do with crossfit and having my recovery techniques dialed in.  The running never felt forced.  It was just the opposite.  Even after long days of work, and hard crossfit workouts I couldn’t wait to run.  I think it’s probably because there were no expectations for each run.  They were only as long or as short as I felt like running.  More often then not I ended the runs feeling like I was holding back… both the effort and length.  Some days I just wanted to keep going but err’d on the side shorter to keep my body intact.

I also wanted to document this go at #30in30.  Thanks to my iphone and instagram I posted a photo from every run during the 30 days.  I can look back at all those photos and remember the runs.  That’s the main reason I use Instagram as much as I do.  When I got my iphone it re-inspired me to start taking photos again.  It’s really the best way to capture moments and memories without taking the time to have to write about it.  Through social media (instagram, twitter, facebook) I have been able to share this process and also inspire quite a few other people to jump onboard with #30in30.  I’ve had quite a few friends charge it in the last month and are rolling strong, and also got emails from others saying they are going to give it a go this fall.  As with all the things I do I don’t do them with any intention of purposely inspiring people.  I just do what I do, but over the years I have received a lot of awesome emails and texts from people all over telling me that what I have done and the way I live is inspiring.  That gets me super stoked.  I started this blog (facebook, instagram, twitter came later) just as means to record my “racing life” but it’s pretty rad that it’s morphed into something that people can gain inspiration from.  I have no plans to stop this blog.  I am actually working on making it better.  I am also thinking about rallying my friends ,and friend of friends, to all tackle another 30 in 30 starting 1.1.2013.

Some of the highlights of the 30 days were running a lot miles with my friends, exploring new trails, winning my AG at the Mt Baldy Run to the Top, and winning overall at the Endure the Bear 50k… but the best part was becoming a “runner” again.  My last run may have been my quickest of all of them and the hilly 8.9 miles felt effortless and I finished strong.  I ended up with 260 miles & 29,750 ft of climbing in the 30 days.

So now that I am done with 30 runs in 30 days I am ready to keep charging forward and and tackling some pretty BIG runs.  There are some gnarly “adventure” runs I am going to knock out with some friends and also some races I am going go after.  I’m really excited about the my next phase of life and seeing what happens.  I am not really sure where I’m headed but I’ll have fun getting there.

  9 comments for “30 runs in 30 Days

  1. September 20, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    “When I run I just run.” Well said.

    Great post about the almighty #30in30!

    Looking forward to some jogging and drinking in a few weeks…

  2. Ryan
    September 21, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Great post. Like the idea of starting the 30 in 30 on New Years Day.

  3. September 21, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    Great post Walsh. Count me in for the New Years 30in30.

  4. September 23, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    Your 30in30 has been very inspiring. Definitely in for a 1.1.13 start.

  5. September 25, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Very good ideas to keep the writing moving along. I

  6. September 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    What an awesomely inspiring post, James. You rock. And you know what? As the weather starts to change and get colder around here, I think I may just have to try a #30in30, no matter how slow I start. Your photos are always inspiring, but the words that went with them gave them a whole new meaning. Way to go!

  7. September 29, 2012 at 5:03 am

    I followed you throughout your 30in30 adventure on Instagram, amazing photos! I’m inspired and plan to attempt….complete my first 30in30 before the years is out. Thanks James :)

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