It’s the hottest time of the year, so it can be tempting to skip a workout in favor of staying in air-conditioned bliss. That’s part of the reason why Brooklyn-based Ray Hailes, along with his two friends, started the Resident Runner’s 31 Days of Running Challenge, which takes place every July.
The challenge started back in 2012 when Resident Runners was formed by Hailes and his buddy Eric Blevins as a way to stay motivated around running, and it’s grown since then. For the first few years, the 31 Days of Running was just the two of them, but last year, it expanded to seven runners, and this year, 50 have logged their first days already on MapMyRun, where the challenge is being hosted. The rules are simple: Run at least 3.1 miles each day, and make sure to log it.
“It’s the hottest month of the year, but we just wanted to see if we could do it,” says Hailes. “We love to run, we’re all about just running, but sometimes, we like to challenge ourselves, too.” Of course, the three Resident Runners aren’t just running three miles a day — they’re upping the ante and heading to Colorado mid-month to compete in the UA Mountain Running Series trail race.
Runners from around the world have risen to the challenge: Someone in Los Angeles is attempting the 31 Days of Running, as is someone in Spain. “People see it, and they hop on board,” says Hailes. “Last year, we had people thanking us and saying without us pushing them, they wouldn’t have been able to accomplish it. This year, now that we have a platform like MapMyRun, we can reach even more people and showcase the challenge, and it’s helping hold people accountable. It’s an incredible experience.”
UP FOR YOUR OWN CHALLENGE?
Intrigued, and want to test your ability to run everyday for the rest of the month? Here are Hailes’ top tips for beating the heat and staying in the challenge:
RUN EARLY WHEN POSSIBLE
Nothing beats a sunrise run for style points and great Instagram photos … And, when you run in the morning, you’ll avoid the peak hot hours of the day. During a running streak, Hailes says it’s also often easiest to use early mornings to get in the mileage you’ll need for the day so you don’t end up busy and miss one.
Good advice for any run, but as temperatures soar, Hailes says he’s spending a lot more time on MapMyRun encouraging runners doing the challenge to make sure they’re staying hydrated before, during and after each run — even those shorter days can leave you dehydrated when temps are in the 90s!
EAT LIGHTER BEFOREHAND
Hailes isn’t suggesting a strict diet for this month, by any means, but he does recommend keeping dinner a bit lighter and skipping the greasy, heavy foods if you’re running early in the morning. He’s eating a lot of fruit this month for that reason and for bonus hydration.
FIND A FRIEND
Accountability is everything, says Hailes. That’s part of why he started Resident Runners in the first place — so he and his friend, Blevins, could make sure they were getting in the miles they needed, when they could. (He tried other NY run clubs but work schedules made those group runs harder to attend.) So, even if you don’t have a local run club to hook up with, grab a friend and get him or her out and running a few times a week.
KEEP CONSISTENT TIMING
If you’re going to run in the morning, try to run in the morning every day, not just sometimes. Hailes says it’s much easier to stick to the challenge when your run time is consistent — it’s tough to get in morning miles when you switched the run the day before to 11 p.m.!
GET IN THE GAME
While it’s too late to join the 31DOR MapMyRun group, you can still use the #31DOR hashtag in your social media throughout the month and stay connected with Resident Runners on its Facebook page so you’re ready when July rolls around next year.