What This Indoor Cycling Instructor Learned from Running 50 Miles During the Hottest Month of the Year
We challenged Ally Love, the founder of Love Squad, to get outside this month. See how she accomplished her #mypersonalbest in her own words.
When I first started running two years ago, I could barely go a mile without stopping. Even though I was physically in good shape, running was something I only learned to appreciate over time. This summer, I had already decided that I wanted to focus on clocking more miles and consistently getting outside. So, when Shape asked me if I wanted to challenge myself and run 50 miles outside in 20 days as part of their #MyPersonalBest campaign, I was totally on board.
On top of going to work, teaching classes at Peloton eight times a week, and strength training on my own, being outside hasn't been easy. But my goal was to make sure that this challenge was an addition to everything else I had going on in my life.
I didn't really write out a plan for how I was going to make that happen. But I made sure I was running the right number of miles without putting too much stress on my body, while staying on track to finish in 20 days. Some days, however, the only time I could run was in the heat of the day, midafternoon, on the busy streets of New York. Overall, I had four 98-degree days that were brutal. But I focused on being smart with my training so I didn't feel burnt out. (Related: How to Protect Yourself Against Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke)
For instance, because I was running in the heat, I brought a little hot yoga into my strength training sessions to learn how to cope better. I also scheduled my Peloton classes to make sure I wasn't doing too much all at once. I needed to give my body time to recover.
While it was definitely a process nailing the time and energy needed to complete the challenge, I was most anxious about getting people to hop on board and do it with me. I wanted people who were following my journey to feel inspired and to get outside and get moving. That's what my company #LoveSquad is all about. You don't always have to physically be together, but as long you are part of the same journey, you have the power to inspire and be inspired. So it was important to me that my followers felt that running 50 miles in 20 days is something they could accomplish too.
Surprisingly, the response I had was amazing and about 300 people decided to join in on the fun. So many of my social media followers are from other countries and they reached out saying that they'd finished their 50 miles the same day I did and even before. Over the course of the 20 days, I had people stop me on the street while I was running to say how watching me do the challenge motivated them to be active. People who hadn't run in a long time said that they were encouraged to get back out there. Even the people who weren't able to finish were excited that they were moving more than before. So for some, it wasn't as much about finishing but about starting in the first place, which was empowering.
One surprising realization I've had over the past 20 days is how much I've gotten to know the city. I've run these streets before, obviously, but changing up paths, where I ran, and what I saw made me feel more comfortable and open to trying new things. I also learned a lot about pacing and breathing and how much of a role it can play, especially when you're tired. It helps you feel more in tune with your body when you're out there. Not to mention that being able to dissociate with the real world, zone out, and have some "me" time was amazing while enjoying being infected by the energy of the city.
After successfully completing the challenge, my biggest realization was that challenging your body isn't about pushing yourself in the moment but taking better care of yourself overall. Whether that's focusing on stretching more, making the most of your off days, hydrating well, switching up your workouts, or getting enough sleep, listening to your body and finding the right balance is what allows you to crush your goals. It's not just about completing those 50 miles. It's about the changes you make to your lifestyle that really help you benefit in the big picture.