30 Day Challenge: Run 5K Every Single Day For A Month

Run 5k a day for 30 days

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What a way to spend the Summer of 2016...

I used to be a real running enthusiast.

My first race was a half marathon. I moved swiftly onto full marathons and peaked with a 50k Ultra marathon.

I'd had a weak lower back before I took on the 50k, and by the time I completed it, I was left with a 'disc bulge', which meant I was told I couldn't run for a year, plus I had to have a standing desk at work. Two terrible things to hear.

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For several months I did basically no exercise at all, and then I decided to train for a Sprint Triathlon - 750m swim / 19.8km bike / 5.4km run - as it involved very little running...(!) and focused more on swimming and cycling. I completed this 8 months after the 50k and stopped having a standing desk another month after that, in July 2015.

BEFORE I BEGAN

In August 2015, I started my year of 30-day challenges. Safe to say, with a full-time job and a 30-day challenge (that focused on everything from going make-up free, to getting up earlier) to commit to every day for a month, back-to-back, I didn't really ever get back into my exercise regime.

Now, even the thought of a 5k run sounds daunting. It was definitely time that one of my challenges was exercise-related. I thought a mile was too little, and a 10k too ambitious, so I opted to run 5k a day for 30 days.

I had the idea that this was probably the sort of running challenge that anyone might give a go, regardless of what fitness level you're starting at. So I put it to the test to see if that was really true.

THE START

I had forgotten how much I love running! And how beautiful London is.

I'm feeling great and have started setting up as many of my runs as possible with friends and Dale (my fiancé).

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I even managed to get Jason - Dale's brother - to join us when we were over in Northern Ireland for the weekend.

THE HALFWAY POINT

I can't get over how much I am enjoying this challenge. I'm loving how keen people are to join for a run, even at short notice, whether it be a quick lunchtime jaunt or a leisurely run complete with copious chatting after work - I have rarely been on my own.

I'm aware that running every day might not be the best thing for my body, but I think it's fine as long as you're sensible and make sure you do some of your runs on grass surfaces to protect your joints.

5k is a manageable distance, and as long as you're not pounding the pavements trying to get a new PB every time, it's fine. You just have to make sure you do some gentle, recovery runs in between.

That's the beauty of this challenge - there is no time-frame within which the 5k has to be run (as long as it's within the day, of course). It isn't a race. In fact, I will admit that one day I had to break my run into two parts - one 2.5k run at lunchtime and one 2.5k after work, but that was just once, and it was better than missing the full 5k completely.

AFTER

This was, without a doubt, my favourite 30-day challenge to-date. One of the best memories of this challenge was getting up at 7am after the first night of my hen weekend and going running with three of my friends along the Thames. Such champions. I'll never forget it.

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And my final run with my friend and colleague, Kirsty - ELLE's Executive Fashion & Beauty Director - when a squirrel joined in! (Kirsty also ran with me on my very first run, which we both felt was really, really long - then we realised we had run 5 miles not 5k!)

I caught up with many friends across the month through running with them, plus it was the perfect way to lose a bit of weight and tone up ahead of my wedding the next month. If you've lost your running mojo and fancy a bit of a challenge, I couldn't recommend doing this enough.

It's a great way to slip back into routine and then you can scale back or swap in different sorts of exercises after that.

TOP TIPS

  1. Try and organise as many runs as possible with friends - it makes the runs so much easier and far more enjoyable.
  2. Don't do too much, too soon. If you're not a seasoned runner, perhaps stick to 1 mile a day to see how you get on before increasing the distance.
  3. Always make sure you're giving your body the right fuel for your workouts! (I rarely went a day without a banana in my bag.)
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