Mind over matter: running 5km for 5 days in a row

This week I decided to run 5 kilometers for 5 days in a row. Starting on Monday, I ran the first of the 5km runs and ended today with the 5th consecutive 5km run.

Whilst it’s far from an earth-shattering challenge, it was nice to attempt.

The reason

With the 2017 Sanlam Cape Town marathon around the corner, I need to increase my weekly mileage. I recently ran my fastest 15km at the Don Lock Memorial and decided to take a break from running for a week after it. I’ve seldom run on consecutive days, so it felt like an achievable challenge to attempt.

The final few kilometers in a marathon are particularly taxing due to fatigue. It isn’t practical to train at those distances, so running on tired legs seems a good alternative.

How did it go?

I had no intention on setting any records or running at any specific pace. I started my watch each morning, pulled my jacket sleeve over it and set off. The only time I looked at my watch was when I finished my run. It’s quite refreshing not to chase a specific pace or time and run for the enjoyment of it.

The first of my “5 in 5” challenge runs was my first run after taking a break from running for a week, so I felt sluggish. The second run went well and I didn’t feel tired at all. The third run was a challenge, having woken up with “dodgy stomach” aka 💩. I decided to persist with it, based on feeling like I should be able to cope, albeit at a slow pace. The fourth run was my “fastest”, even though I still did not feel 100%. The fifth (and final) run was a bit of a slog, but I enjoyed it the most – as a result of knowing I’d made it, no doubt.

Valuable lesson learned

A big challenge was to get out the front door each morning. Considering it’s the middle of winter in Cape Town, it is still rather cold at 8am!

Other than that, having an achievable goal in mind was enough motivation to persist. Running on tired legs as the week went on will definitely pay off in the long run (pun intended).

As with most challenges in life, I find that starting is the biggest obstacle. Once you get going, it is far easier to deal with what is in front of you. The enthusiasm you gain from starting, helps you to get to your first milestone. Thereafter, the momentum starts to build as you make your way to your final goal.

Looking ahead

I am going to attempt 40km in 5 days soon – running a little under the full marathon distance in a week (8km a day). But for now, I’m looking forward to a relaxing weekend.

Further reading

My thoughts on some of the other races I have completed: