I ran every day in 2022

Posted: January 01, 2023

I can’t quite believe I managed to finish this challenge! Running every day turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done for my running.

I made a quick video with some stats:

This challenge started after watching a youtube video from Sean Conway about the 496 challenge. The 496 challenge is fairly nuts and requires you to run the date in kilometers each day of a month. Something like:

  • Day 1 = 1 km
  • Day 2 = 2 km
  • Day 3 = 3 km
  • Day 31 = 31

This adds up to 496 km in a single month. So I thought I would give it a shot and see how far I could go. I wasn’t exactly in the best shape so this got hard very quickly. I stopped on day 16, but decided to keep my running streak alive and continue running daily for January.

This is also when I started spotting people like Hella and Göran who have been doing this running every day for years. How far could I go? In the first 6 months I really thought there would be no way I could do a whole year. I kept thinking something like “Ok end of this month I can stop, I’ve done so much wow!“. But I kept running and then towards the end of the year there was no question I would try do the full year. And it worked!

strava 2022

There are 2 main learnings I got from this challenge.

  • Consistency is so freaking powerful. My running improved so much (and I didn’t even run crazy distances, majority being under 5 km)
  • A simple goal is the best way to set goals. This one was very easy to understand and easy to track. I had 24 hours each day to do a run (didn’t complicate it by making a set distance) and as long as I tracked it on Strava it would count. I also think starting it on 1 January made it easy to count progress and track.

I’m very grateful I had many things going in my favour to complete this challenge. I work from home, live in a fairly safe neighborhood, don’t have kids, have a supportive partner, good climate and etc…

But I had some challenges along the way like a foot injury forcing me to do very short and slow runs for about a month. I was very lucky with not getting very ill during the challenge apart from a stomach issue that caused a few short days too. I didn’t enjoy running in the rain and in winter, were there were some cold and wet days. There were also tough times when I’d had not managed to complete the run before the evening (due to bad time management, weather or other commitments). This meant running in the dark alone which is not ideal in Johannesburg. The worst was running the day after I did races this year on very sore legs (especially the days after the Soweto Marathon).

soweto 2022

Going through some of the highlights of the challenge. I smashed all my PRs because my fitness went up insanely this year thanks to the challenge. Some of the notable runs included a big improvement on the the Soweto Marathon (3:46), running my age on my birthday, finishing some parkruns in the top 5 and smashing my time trial times. It was also great to make a lot more running friends this year after joining a trail running group. I’ve also now properly got back the enjoyment for running, I can’t think of something more fun than trying out a new route or day dreaming about long trail runs.

I’m going to stop running every day in 2023. I’m definitely going keep up the constancy but now I will have proper rest days and try some cross training. I would like to increase my weakly mileage and possibly tackle some more longer races. Can’t wait to see what happens and now I have a crazy streak to try reach again if I fall off the bandwagon.

I’ve learn’t so many things and I’m sure this challenge has helped me mentally too.

If you in a bit of a rut try this challenge out, it worked out pretty well for me. Some ideas to make it easier:

  • Try to get the run done as early as possible
  • Pick a reasonable minimum distance to try get to (I tried 3 km which was a good aim)
  • Try have some weakly planned runs, like do the parkrun and join your clubs’ weakly time trial
  • Make sure to document the process and take some photos (wow I did not take many running photos this year 😒)
  • Try get friends to do it with you (this would have helped so much)

For the video I used remotion and data from Strava.

last day

Above is the last day of the challenge, I fell in some mud.

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