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The 30-Year Long Run

The 30-Year Long Run

Sometimes, just getting out to exercise for a few minutes is a tough enough request for some people. But when you do begin a healthy exercise habit, it's well-known that exercising in moderation is key to staying in tip top shape.

That's why it's a bit odd when you hear the story of Harvard's Dr. Harvey Simon. He's a 66-year-old health professional who hasn't missed a day of running since Oct. 30, 1978.

Yep, that's right: He's been running for 30 years, planning layovers so he can run around an airport, wrapping his feet in plastic bags during a blizzard and even running with broken toes.

If it sounds crazy, that's because it is. But Dr. Simon is not alone. In fact, there is a U.S. Running Streak Association that was created just for people who have accomplished running at least one continuous mile each day of the calendar year. The lead runner is Mark Covert who has been running every day for 40 years.

Dr. Simon is quick to admit he would never recommend his lifestyle to his patients. In fact, he has written several health books that emphasize the importance of exercising in moderation.

This story got me thinking, seeing as how I, too, am a runner. Not only did it confirm my thoughts that runners really are a crazy breed, but it also made me think of my own completely nutty choices I have made for the sake of a running streak. Like the time when I severely injured my knee, but ran through the pain anyway. When I would start out running, I would limp for the whole first mile until I couldn't feel the pain anymore. And, then, when I stopped, I would spend the next several hours with ice on my knee. Icy Hot and pain killers were my very best friends.

And for what? Since then, I have learned to take a much more healthful approach to exercising and have realized that running with my children is much more important than continuing a running streak.

I am curious: Have you ever taken your commitment to exercise too far? What taught you to adopt a more healthful approach?

--Caroline Shannon

Posted: 12/9/08

Wow, I like running too, but there is no way I'd do it every day! On second thought, maybe if it were just a mile or two every morning, that might actually be really nice.
As for pushing myself too far, I once took a weight-lifting class when I hadn't done any sort of weight-training in oh ... a couple years. The good news is I finished the class, the bad news is that I pulled my groin muscle doing lunges with too heavy of weights. Obviously I learned to start with low weights, or even no weights, and build from there.