Detailed Version of Challenge (including the why)
Welcome to the 12 Days of Christmas Challenge!
Did you land here from a Google-type of search? That's awesome, but be sure to officially sign-up for the challenge here.
Virtual Challenge Exercises
Recording Challenge Completion
Ok, now the accountability portion.
For ‘the proof in the pudding’, you’ll be posting in the Reason2Run Virtual Running Challenges Facebook Group for every day of the challenge. The non-running exercises are going to be based on the honor code, but for all the runs/walks, post a screenshot of your completed Charity Miles. If you’ve signed up for this challenge, you obviously already have a good heart so we’ll have to go by faith that everyone’s being honest. (Plus, if you cheat, it’s bad karma. And remember, Santa is watching.)
When you’ve completed all of the challenges for the day, post the saved Charity Miles screenshot and the Day # of the challenge that you completed.
So what happens if you miss a day of the challenge? We know that life happens. You can continue on with the challenge but still have to complete the missed day’s exercises somewhere else in the challenge. So if you missed Day 2 (example 1.1 mile run + 30 second plank) you would have to add an extra 1.1 miles and 30 seconds of planking on top of the current day’s exercises for successful completion of the challenge. If you decided to do that say, on Day 5, your post would be something like this: Day 5: pic of Charity Miles run + makeup Day 2 (along with required Charity Miles pic).
If you already know all about Charity Miles, feel free to jump ahead to the Detailed Version of the Challenge.
Charity Miles Tracking
If you guys aren’t familiar with the Charity Miles app yet, you’re missing out. It’s FREE, easy to use, and can be found in both the Android and Apple stores. And like the name suggests, your runs earn money for charity and it doesn’t cost you a cent!
Ok, so now everyone should have the app downloaded. Next, open the app on your phone and hit the small icon in the upper left corner.
Hit the ‘Join Team’ button. You’re now officially part of the Reason2Run Charity Miles team! At the beginning of each run, select from one of the many charities. You can’t go wrong with so many great causes to choose from! You can even choose a different charity for each run! Then select whether you’re running/walking outdoors or inside. Note: if you choose to run/walk inside on the treadmill, you will need to have your phone physically on your person; it works off the phone’s internal accelerometer.
From the resulting menu, select ‘Teams’ and in the ‘Search for a Team’ row, type Reason2Run.
When you’re done running/walking, hit the stop button (it’s a red square), then ‘Finished’.
Before exiting out of the app, take a screenshot of your distance run/walked.
This is the screenshot that you'll be posting.
So I also promised a little reasoning section. The method to my madness if you will. Well here it is…
Why these exercises? First off I wanted to make this challenge accessible to everyone who wants to participate. That means no expensive equipment, or excessive time commitments. Exercises that are doable anywhere – at home, at work, at a hotel, even in an airport. Conquering challenges is also about breaking goals down into manageable, bit-sized tasks. That’s where the building principle comes in. If I told you to crank out all 12 challenges on Day 1, I don’t think many people would be knocking down doors to sign up. But with the addition of one small exercise each day, you’ll consistently power through until you’re a kick-ass beast on Day 12.
You may have also noticed the challenge is geared somewhat towards core work. I can attest, at least from personal experience, that runners often neglect this vital muscle group. And I get it… nobody (at least that I know) likes to do core work. When was the last time you heard someone say, “Oh, yay! I love planking!”? Crickets? I thought so.
Ok, done with the talking. Here’s the detailed version of Reason2Run’s 12 Days of Christmas Virtual Challenge. We’ve included helpful links for some of the more ‘exotic’ exercises. Let’s do this…
Detailed Version of Challenge
Day 1: 1.1 mile run/walk – This builds the base of the ladder for the challenge because since we’re all runners, I thought it’d be the easiest way to coax you all on board. Let’s start with something that we all already like! Why 1.1 miles instead of an even mile? Because how cool will it be to say you completed a half-marathon? Yep, by Day 12 you will have run over 13.1 miles!
Day 2: 30 second plank – This is where the core work starts. For those who struggle with ab exercises, this one is better on your back than crunches and 30 seconds is doable but somewhat challenging.
Day 3: 15 push-ups – Runners’ legs are usually pretty well developed but we don’t want any wimpy chicken wings. It’s time to represent at the gun show. (Yes, that was a horrible joke.) ‘Normal’ or ‘girl-style’ both count…choose your challenge.
Day 4: 30 squats – Probably a standard in a runner’s repertoire, these will help keep your legs strong and serve as a happy break in the upcoming string of core exercises.
Day 5: 5 minute meditation/relaxation – Yes, you read that right. I’m giving you a license to relax. It’s actually a requirement! In this stressful, breakneck-speed world we live in, we often neglect much needed ‘me’ time. Now’s the chance to recapture it. For 5 minutes, quietly reflect, relax, or meditate. We won’t get picky regarding the execution, just no TV or distractions. Let the spouse take care of the kids, dogs, and dishes for 5 minutes. Feel free to use me as an excuse and assure them that you (and they) will be much happier once you’ve found your Zen.
Day 6: 15 shoulder taps (tapping each shoulder once = 1 rep) – A modified version of a plank, we’re getting back to the core work, working on stabilization. Need to see it? No problem, I’m a visual person, too. Check out this link. Our variation doesn’t require the stability ball. But if you’re really that much of a bad-ass, go for it! And I’d love pictures!
Day 7: 30 second side plank (per side) – Yay! More core work! These will help strengthen your obliques.
Day 8: 20 lying leg raises – An overall core exercise, you’ll feel these in your abs, hips, and quads. Faster isn’t always better, so to really feel the burn, slow it down. Don’t shortchange yourself.
Day 9: 20 lateral leg raises (per leg) – This may be a throwback to the 80’s but there’s a reason you’ll find these mentioned on multiple running blogs. Hips are also a common problem for runners and these exercises will help strengthen your hips and glutes. Seem too easy? Add a resistance band to the mix.
Day 10: 10 supermans (hold each rep for 15 seconds) – When focused on core work, many runners probably forget to include strengthening their back. It’s time to fix that and this exercise is just what the doctor ordered. Not sure what these look like? Check them out here.
Day 11: 15 lunges (per leg) – Not just good for your quads, these exercises will kick your butt into gear (literally).
Day 12: 5 minutes of stretching – We all know we should stretch. How many of you actually do? If you’re like me, it often becomes an afterthought as you try to maximize every minute in your already busy schedule. Hopefully this challenge has helped highlight that to be a better runner you have to do more than just run. So after your run, take 5 minutes – stretch out those quads, hammies, and hip flexors. Your body will thank you tomorrow.
As a final note, some helpful hacks to help fit it all in:
Break it up: Not all of the exercises have to be completed in the same session, as long as you fit them in all in the same day.
Multi-task: Dentists recommend brushing for 2 minutes. This provides built-in time for squats and lunges. Bam! Look at you crushing this challenge like a boss!
Good luck everybody and happy running, planking, squatting, etc…
Going the Extra Mile
Want to commemorate your achievement? Reason2Run race medals make the perfect accompaniment to your well-earned accomplishment and pride. If you complete all 12 days of the challenge, you’ve already covered the half-marathon distance. Why not get some cool bling to prove it? Sign up here.