Life/ Running

I Ran Four Times a Week for Three Months… This is What Happened

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Three months ago I made the decision to see what would happen if I ran four times a week, these are my results.

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Three months ago I made the decision to see what would happen if I ran four times a week.

I’ve read articles about people who did Yoga everyday, did a plank everydaygave up alcohol for a month, or did 10 minutes of strength training everyday so I was curious what consistency with my running could do for me.  While I’ve been a runner for a very long time (17 years), I have never really ran with any consistency.  Some weeks I would run only once, other weeks only twice, some three times, and VERY RARELY four times in a week.  Occasionally I would “train” for races, but again, I wasn’t really consistent with my training.  I’ve always had this notion that running more often would lead to injury, so I just ran whenever I felt like it, and never really pushed my boundaries.  

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That said, the idea of streaking always appealed to me.  Now I don’t mean the running naked kind of streaking, I mean the running every single day for months on end kind of streaking.  However my family and work life has never been conducive to that kind of dedication. When I reviewed my family and work obligations I realised that running four times a week was doable.

For the past three months I ran four times a week, this is what happened:

I Felt Better Than I Had in Years
The first week it was really hard to motivate myself to run the four times because every run sucked.  Even though running felt hard and uncomfortable, I always felt happier after I ran, perhaps it was relief that I was finished?  After a week I decided to give myself permission to run slower, walk when I needed to, and not pay attention to my GPS, pace etc.  The only thing that mattered was that I got out there and ran four times every week.  Even though I felt happy that first week, I felt WAY happier the next few weeks when I was running at more comfortable paces.  That happy feeling lasted longer because I was also able to enjoy my runs.  I even began to *gasp* even look forward to running!  My happiness spread to many other parts of my life.  I feel better now than I have in years!

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I Lost Weight
While I admit that I was really hoping this would happen, I was very surprised by how fast it happened and how much I lost.  The first week I lost 1 pound.  The second week I lost another pound.  Three months later I’m down 12 pounds!  I’ve averaged 1 pound of weight loss every week. 

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

Evidence shows that people who lose weight gradually and steadily (about 1 to 2 pounds per week) are more successful at keeping weight off. Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “diet” or “program”. It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits.

Running four times a week is a lifestyle that I really want to keep.

I Lost Body Fat
Losing weight is a nice benefit of running four times a week, but changing my body composition is an even nicer part. I have a Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale scale that measures my weight and body fat percentage.  Although I was losing weight, it was nice to see that the weight that was being lost was fat, not fat and muscle.  The fat really started coming off at first, but now three months later it’s coming off slower, but is still coming off. 

I Slept Better
Anxiety is my middle name.  I am the type of person to lay awake for hours worrying about work, etc.  But interestingly, when I began running nearly every day of the week I found myself completely exhausted by the time bed time rolled around.  At first I could barely stay awake until bed time! Staying “up” until 10 pm is easier now, but I still fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.  Work stress is definitely no match for running consistently!  I don’t stay awake worrying about tomorrow anymore, I can’t, I’m way too tired.  I also sleep more deeply. Waking up at 5:20 am to run again hasn’t been a problem, I’m waking up rested and ready to run again!

I Got Faster
Now this one is probably a no-brainer, the more you do something, the better you get at it, right?  What I wasn’t expecting was how much faster I got after only three months of running four times a week.  Running sucked at first because when I ran the pace that I felt I should be able to run, my heart rate was in the high 160’s – every run was a tempo run.  I slowed my running down to run at a heart rate of 140-150 bpm.  Over the weeks my pace has improved from an average pace of 6:44/km (10:50/mile) to 5:46/km (9:29/mile). I now run over a minute faster/mile at the same heart rate!

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Conclusion
That one decision to try running more consistently has been a game changer for me. Last week I added in a fifth run (speedwork) into my schedule, and this week I’m on track to run five times again (I did some speedwork this morning faster than last week). I’m surprised by the changes because at *cough* 42 I thought that the loss of speed, the weight I gained and the changes to my body composition was a normal part of aging. It appears that they are not. I’m starting to re-evaluate my future running goals… Perhaps a sub-50 minute 10k is within my grasp? Maybe I can improve my half marathon PB (1:50:40) and run a sub-1:50 half? Maybe at 45 I *CAN* qualify for Boston, wouldn’t that be something?!? I know I’ve only been running consistently for a few months but I’m willing to go for another three months of consistency to see where it gets me, I’ll let you know how it goes.


Join the conversation:

Have you ever tried streaking?  What happened?


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I ran 4 times a week for three months, this is what happened. #running #runningmotivation #motivation

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19 Comments

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  • Reply
    Lucie
    October 25, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Very interesting Janice! That’s great, the steady decline in weight! My goal has always been 3 times a week… running will definitely be part of my post baby body strategy.

  • Reply
    Deborah @ Confessions of mother runner
    October 25, 2017 at 8:03 am

    I feel so much better when I run consistently as well. You have really made some great progress congrats!

  • Reply
    Kimberly Hatting
    October 25, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    I think you grew to love running because you did it YOUR way and didn’t overdo it 😉 I have been running for over 12 years, and seldom ever take my watch with me (unless I’m in training or at an actual race). All those stats on my wrist only bring me anxiety (but I know most people like having all that info on the spot).Congrats on all that you achieved!!

  • Reply
    Debbie Woodruff
    October 25, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    I love how you analyzed this! So many great things come from running regularly,whether it twice a week or five times a week. I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t run I would never sleep well.

  • Reply
    Herbert
    November 1, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    At age 61 I have been training seriously for six years and have run every day for the last 129 days. My runs each week include 5 routine runs of 4-5 miles from 7-8 mph, a hill run of 3.5 miles at 6+ mph, and a long run of 10+ miles at 6.5 miles mph each Sunday. I view the daily exertion as a lifetime endeavor for the sake of well-being, so from a psychological point of view I anticipate, and look forward to it, every day. Congratulations on your discipline! It will serve you well in the long haul.

  • Reply
    Angie Newton
    November 10, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    Way to go on your success! I think you just gave me my November mini challenge idea. I need to get back into my workouts but I usually go gung ho and then fizzle out lately. So I might start with 2-3 workouts a week for a month then add in an extra day and work up to what I used to do. Thanks for the inspiration!

    I dropped by from Bloggy Mom’s by the way 😉 nice to meet you!

    • Reply
      Janice
      November 10, 2017 at 5:14 pm

      It’s nice to meet you too Angie! It took me months of exploration (doctor’s visits, blood work etc) to finally admit to myself that my weight gain and loss of speed was simply due to a lack of running consistency. Please let me know how the challenge goes for you!

  • Reply
    Alex
    November 12, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    How long are your runs?

    • Reply
      Janice
      November 12, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      This is a great question – I didn’t think to discuss that in my post. I started off running 5-6km/run. Without really realising it, I’ve begun to average ~8km/run (and could probably go a lot further). A month ago I began running 5 times/week. The 5th run I added in is speedwork (800m repeats with 400m recovery jogs). Unfortunately I don’t have time in our lifestyle to head out for longer than 45 minutes, otherwise I would turn 1 of the runs into a long run.

      • Reply
        Alex
        November 12, 2017 at 8:29 pm

        Great, thanks!

  • Reply
    Ashleigh
    November 24, 2017 at 12:06 am

    Did you just run each time or do different runs like sprints, different distances…

    • Reply
      Janice
      November 24, 2017 at 12:11 am

      Hi Ashleigh, for those three months I just ran however I felt like running that day which was usually at a comfortable pace ranging in distance from 5k-8k. Over the past month I’ve added in a 5th run, Yasso 800’s. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Jenne
    November 29, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    I started running this past summer and fell in love. I run 5 days a week and miss running on my days off. I’ve lost 22 lbs. I feel good and sleep well, it’s amazing! Kudos to you!

    • Reply
      Janice
      November 29, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      Great job Jenne! I added in a 5th day a week a month ago and am finding the same thing as you, I sleep so much better! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply
    Marionela
    December 28, 2017 at 2:54 pm

    I loved your post. You really motivated me to start smth. And running is an idea.

    • Reply
      Janice
      December 28, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      Thanks, I really learned that doing something consistently, ie: 4 or more times a week, really does get results. Unfortunately randomly being active doesn’t get nearly the same results 😩. Good luck & all the best for 2018!

  • Reply
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    My Shirdi Trip
    January 2, 2018 at 1:45 am

    Excellent post. I learn new information from your article , you are doing a great job . Keep it up.

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