Friday, October 23, 2015

The 50 Day Challenge

The 50 Day Challenge

          What is this 50 Day Challenge?  It’s simple:
           -50 Days of consecutive exercise.
           -No rest days.

           -Each workout or combination of workouts must be a minimum duration of 30 minutes, although I aim to make each one an hour.
            -I will go longer than one hour if I have the opportunity.  

          Why the 50 Day Challenge?

          50 was a number that occurred by accident.  I was actually in the midst of a 21-day workout cycle with zero rest or recovery days.  This 21-day cycle I completed four times the previous year and found it was a great method for me to get in shape for longer races and events specifically when I did not have the time in my schedule to complete long runs.  Long runs are a key component to training for any endurance event, and my work schedule last year did not allow me to implement as many long runs as I needed to be ready for my event(s), specifically 60 days out from the race day.  For me, I had registered to run the Austin Marathon, then life got crazy and my long runs went out the door.

          So I had to crunch and figure out a way for my body to be forced to be under stress in a manner that would encourage me to recover quickly.  One of the essentials of doing a long run (I term a long run--a run of two hours or more), is that you reach certain physical threshold which your body then has to adapt to and learn how to recover from.  One type of recovery is the recovery your body undergoes while exercising during a long training session.  The other type of recovery is the after-training recovery, which is much more substantial after a long training run.  The typical runner will take a day or two days of rest after the long training run.  So I put my brain in a blender and thought: what could I do to facilitate pushing my body to a threshold and facilitate quick recovery on my crunched schedule? 
That’s how I came up with the 21-Day Cycle.  My logic was that if I train without any rest days for a short burst of time, I will reach a threshold and my body will have to learn how to recover quickly.  With the 21 day cycle, I aim for an hour of activity daily although some days may only be 30-45 minutes.  On the shorter days, I up the intensity, which means running faster or adding more weight if I’m cross- training in the weight-room.
The 50 day challenge actually began as one of the 21-day cycles.  In the midst of working full-time, building a house and spending time with family, I wanted to get my fitness level up for a possible event later this year.  Well, the 21-consecutive training days passed seamlessly. b, I was at day 32 and felt like I could keep going.  So I’ve set the goal for 50 days…just to see what my body will do.
At the time of this writing, I’m on Day 37.
In the coming two weeks, I will highlight a few epic days and include some statistics.
Stay tuned. 
Have a fitness challenge you want me to try out?  Let me know.


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