With hiking and climbing season coming up, it was time to start boosting my cardio so that I can successfully reach the destinations I want to this summer. The problem is, usually cardio is not that fun for me to do.
So I decided to make it a challenge which my competitive side absolutely loves. My goal was to run a 5k every single day for 30 days, and see what changed in my body over that time.
Below I will lay out what I was testing, my methods, and my end results. The video also has all of this laid out for you as well!
Metrics to Assess Over the 30 Days
Over the course of 30 days, I wanted to see different changes in my body to have an idea how much running can actually impact the body over 1 month.
Here are the metrics I wanted to monitor:
- Resting Heart Rate
- Mile Times/Pace
- VO2 Max
- Aesthetics (body fat percentage and weight)
My goal was to add this challenge into my other routines, which means I wasn't slowing down any of my other activities (such as snowboarding). The 5ks are supposed to be a supplement to everything else I did instead of being the only thing I did.
So at the beginning, my Resting Heart Rate (RHR) was averaging 53 beats per minute.
My mile times were 8:29 minutes, but that doesn't take into account the type of run. So instead, I did baseline runs for a flat run and a slightly hilly run, which can be seen below. The flat baseline was 8:08 min/mile, while the hilly baseline was 9:17 min/mile.
As for my VO2 Max, that was sitting around 52.
Finally, my aesthetics was 164lbs with 22% body fat, and the inch measurements can be seen below. I always increase body fat during the winter so I can stay warmer, then lean out in the summer.
The Next 4 Weeks
So over the next 4 weeks is when the running took place. I ran every single day, rain or shine. I expected to have different needs over the 4 weeks to keep my body healthy and functioning well, which was definitely true.
As the challenge continued, I would spend more and more time stretching and using the Hypervolt to keep my tissues healthy and as injury-free as possible. However, even with all those precautions, I still experienced breakdowns in my body, which I cover in the video.
I would change up my running locations as well between 4 different spots. 2 of the areas I only ran a couple times, while the areas where I took the baseline measurements were my consistent running areas.
One benefit that I really enjoyed from this experience is the extra time I had to listen to podcasts while exercising. If you are going to try the experiment, make sure to add the Summit For Wellness Podcast to your playlist!
The Results From Running a 5k Everyday for 30 Days
Towards the beginning of week 3, I had my best mile times and I felt like I was in a good groove. On the flat run, my best mile time was a 7:29 min/mi which was a reduction in 0:39 per mile. On the hilly run, my best was a 7:58 min/mi which reduced my mile times by 1:19 per mile!
Right after I nailed my best times, then I started to get some nagging injuries. I had my rhomboids start acting up which caused issues with deep breathing and spinal rotation while running. I also had some compression in my ankles which was annoying.
So because of the injuries, I had to take it easy for 5-6 days, and spend more time stretching and take it easier on my runs.
After I recovered from the injuries, I started to feel really good and got back into my groove for the last few runs!
My RHR ended up reducing to 48 beats per minute, which I was impressed by. And my VO2 Max climbed up to 55 at its peak.
Finally, as far as body measurements go, I lost 2.9lbs, but according to the scanner my body fat percentage stayed the same (I don't believe that part). I also lost an inch on my waist and 3/4 inch on my hips, and about a 1/4 inch everywhere else.
So overall I was pretty impressed with the changes that occurred in my body over 30 days!
What I Would Change for Next Time
I liked having a dedicated activity to do every single day. It made the thinking process easy because I knew exactly what the workout would be. However, the body needs cross training, and doing the same repetitive thing over and over does lead to injuries.
So next time I would rather do longer runs a couple days per week instead of the same run every single day. That way I can recover properly and focus on cross training. The longer distances will also help to improve my cardio base more than just a 5k does.
If I wanted to focus more on weight loss, then I would also include high intensity training to the running program, such as sprint days. That will also help to shed body fat much faster than just sustained cardio does.
Finally, I notice way faster improvements when I incorporate more hills into my workouts, so I would definitely add more runs with hills as well.
Overall, the challenge was a lot of fun, and actually got me excited for cardio. I never was someone who ran for fun, but this definitely changed my mindset on running!