Challenge Accepted. 1000 km in 2020

I’ve been challenged to walk and/or run 1000km in one year. Of course, when it comes to challenges, my competitive nature as well as a good dose of peer pressure, I joined A Great Canadian Running Challenge.

The challenge is free to sign up and after you have completed your 1000km in the 2020 calendar year, you can order your bling, which is optional and in their words, cheaper than a road race.

I guess the goal of the challenge is, to first of all, have a yearly goal and perhaps stretch a little to reach it.

Im not going to lie, this thing scared me a little. 1000km of running in one year while training for an Ironman, yikes. Remember, you can only count your intentional runs or walks and not the steps you take in your day to day life. You cannot count any gliding activities either, like swimming and cycling. I really wasn’t sure how I would accomplish this. Yikes!

I made a plan. I looked at several scenarios and came up with something that I though was perfect for me.

While I know that after I run my last race of the season, I am usually done with formal training for at least a few weeks, if not a month. SO, I couldn’t rely on getting too many km’s in at the end of November and December, so I would have to make up for those weeks earlier in the season. I decided I would try for 100km per calendar month, and that would leave me with 2 months of a cushion, accounting for vacation and sick time. Perfect plan.

January, I managed a grand total of 42km. That was no where near the 100km that I planned for. While most of my friends who joined that challenge with me were posting their 100km for the month victories on the Facebook page, secretly, I resented their success. Why couldn’t I just get it done. I am an athlete after all. URHG! It was so frustrating. I was ready to drop out of the challenge. Not officially drop out by sending the organizers an email stating my intentions but to just drop off and fade away. Not log any of my km’s and just drop off.

That’s when one of my Monday night running crew members, Rick, while commenting on someone else FB post, wrote something that I have held on to. It’s the thing that kept me in the challenge and is now one of my new mantras. He wrote “If you didn’t accomplish your goal this month, don’t give up. Be kind to yourself and just do a little more next month than you did this month.”

WOW, while those words were meant to motivate the new runner who had asked a question in the group, the words resonated with me. It’s what kept me going in this challenge. They are the words that changed my training strategy.

January, I managed to run/walk a total of 42km, February, I completed 55.1km. I was so happy that I managed to get more km than the month before but still a little disappointed that I hadn’t reached the 100km in a month yet.

That’s when I decided I would change my approach to things. I would be kind to myself and take the advice that I would give to my own athletes.

The new plan, starting in March would be to divide 1000km evenly over 50 weeks, allowing 2 weeks of vacation or recovery time. That means I was to complete 20km each week. Simple and fairly easy to do within the Ironman training plan, since was running Monday nights, Tuesdays, Wednesdays 15 minutes as part of a brick and of course my weekend long run.

I knew that during race season, I would be able to make up some of the 83km shortfall from January and February.

I was ready. However, what I didn’t realize at the time, is that I was sick. My Iron levels were very low. You can read all about How I am Sick, but Not Sick Enough in my blog post. It’s not that I lacked motivation to get it done, but I wasn’t able to recover from my runs.

When I read the article How Low Ferritin Levels Affect Female Runners on the Podium Runner Site, it was like looking in a mirror. I was always tired, headaches and generally feeling weak. Shortness of breath made it impossible to keep up any kind of pace or run for more than a few km’s before needing a walking break.

Thankfully, my Naturopathic Doctor has prescribed some supplements which I am now taking. It’s been 4 weeks now and I can tell you that I am starting to feel better. So much so, that I ran a little, almost 2km as a run walk during my 10km Sunday walk.

Let’s look at the numbers for the month of March. Now, when I realized that I was sick and it wasn’t lack of motivation, I decided that I would change all of my runs to walks. I would decrease the intensity of each workout while still maintaining the “Time” required on the training plan.

With that, I was able to establish some consistency. I was able to recover. I was supplementing which means, I AM getting better. You can clearly see this reflected in the numbers.

I am so proud to say that I managed 125Km for the month of March. OMG…I reached the 100km in a month with an extra 25km. Not only did accomplishing the goal absolutely amazing, I could really FEEL myself feeling better.

Smiling ear to ear, I could hear Rick’s words “Just a little more than last month” For the first time in a long time, I had Hope.

Naturally, my competitive nature set in once again. I want to beat 125km in April, but not by too much, as this is a long game. There are still 8 more months to go. Im thinking at least 5km, most likely 10 but up to 20 more.

I’m happy to report that today, mid April, I’m already at 87.6km. With 13 days to do, I have 43km to complete to reach my goal. At this point I know I can get there.

This has certainly been an adventure and an eye opener for me. All I can tell you is to do a little more this month than you did last month. Keep moving forward and you will get there. Most importantly, if you are an athlete and struggling to get though your workouts, don’t wait 6 months to see your Doctor. It may NOT be your lack of motivation.

Till next time, have a great active week.

Published by Lise Waltenbury

Podcast host, triathlete, wife, mother of 3, commuter, volunteer, hockey coach, triathlon coach, and student. I am a Jane of all trades and a master of some on a journey to higher consciousness.

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