This Runner Loves Purple and Her Run Streak with Evelyn Lutterodt
One of my favorite parts of this publication has been the run streaks. Getting to speak with and chat with runners on their run streak journeys all for various goals and reasons. The determination to get out and run daily no matter the weather or circumstance, run streakers run every day NO MATTER WHAT. This month we take a trip to our run fam in the UK to talk to Evelyn, an avid runner and marathoner who has been running every day for almost 5 years doing it with a smile and most of all in her favorite color, PURPLE.
MSM: 1,536, by the time this issue drops if my math is right you will be at day 1,552 and do go a little bit deeper into that number that is about 4 ½ years of running. When you started on this journey years ago did you ever think almost 5 years later you’d still be running?
Evelyn: I never really looked that far ahead. I recall it was only supposed to last for the month of December. Even the first day, it took me a while to get going, I think I set off at 10pm! I started the streak to get my running mojo back. I had been losing motivation to run. I did go to parkrun every Saturday morning, but hardly went out during the rest of the week.
I had seen others starting thanksgiving run streaks. I thought it would be a good idea to do – but I think I missed the start – so I decided I’d do it just for the month of December. Then New Years Day rolled around – and parkrun does the NYD Double – two 5Ks in different locations. I had to do that! Then I just kept going.
As the number of days increased, I didn’t want the number to reset. Reaching 100 days was amazing. Then a 1000 days, I celebrated with my running family for a midnight mile. Everyone came dressed in purple. Ron Hill is now my inspiration – he was able to maintain his streak for just over 52 years! I may not make it that far (I would be 92!) but I can give it a good try!
MSM: Your run journey goes back prior to this run streak as you started running in 2013 but what was running like for Evelyn prior to 2013. When and how did you catch the run bug?
Evelyn: The Evelyn prior to 2013 was a totally different person. Still a happy soul, I like to think. But running had never entered my world. I was not an active or sporty person at all. Although I did love to watch athletics on tv. I never gave any of it a second thought, let alone see it as something I could do.
As the years passed, I had been putting on weight. I joined, and left, several gyms and dabbled in fitness programs, like P90X and Insanity. But none of it stuck. I moved to Ottawa, Canada for a few years. I found that most people were into some kind of sport and I was cajoled into joining a volleyball team. This was fun but made me realize how unfit I actually was.
I started going for long walks. I don’t recall how, but I came across a couch to 5K app, which said that it could get you running a 5K, non-stop, in 30 mins. I took on this 8-week program. I think it took me 10 weeks though, as I am sure I had to repeat a couple of the weeks. But, a week after I finished the plan, I entered a 5K race – the Santa Shuffle in Ottawa. I completed that race and was so happy with how it went, and how I felt and receiving a medal, I fell in love with running that day!
MSM: One thing I’ve noticed is that you’re very open with your run statistics and progress which I must say you’ve completed A LOT of races. What makes your run streak pretty awesome is that you’re almost always in a training cycle so your miles are essentially always training miles. Do you feel this is something that has helped you with your current run streak as you essentially always have something always to train for?
Evelyn: I run for the medals 🙂 #runforthebling I used to book races, not only to earn medals but knowing it would give me a reason to run, as I would have to train for them. But now that I run every day – I like following some sort of training plan, as it helps to bring some variety to the types of runs I do. Rather than just running, the training plans incorporate speed work and hill training as well as the long runs. They have definitely helped to remove the possibility that running every day could get boring.
MSM: The fact that you’re always in a training cycle tells me that your weekly mileage is always up there. For our readers give us a peek into what a run week is like for This Runner that Loves Purple.
Evelyn: It does depend on what I am training for. I try to hit 40-50 km per week. I have just finished a 10K plan which had 4 runs per week of differing interval sessions, hill work, and long runs. The sessions would probably only take me to 6-7 km, and the long runs were at the most around 12 km. I then would run rest day miles mostly in between, to maintain the streak. My rest days are now up to 5 km, but very easy pace. In a marathon training cycle that would go up of course, overall 50-75 km per week.
But I am taking a bit of a break from the plans for now. I finally got a place for the London Marathon. So I will start marathon training again in May. In the meantime, I noted that I don’t get to the recommended 10000 steps per day – so I’m working on making sure this happens. And I want to incorporate more walking too.
MSM: As I’m sitting here writing this, the amount of races you’ve run is pretty amazing. What is your total to date and which ones stood out the most or meant the most to you?
Evelyn: That was a lot to count through – I believe I have run 129 races, from 5K to Marathons. In fact also one ultra too, 29.6 miles. There are 46 half marathons in that total, that has been my favourite race distance. A few races hold that special place in my heart. The first has got to be my first race that started the ball rolling, the Santa Shuffle 5K in Ottawa, December 2013. It was hard, it was cold (-7°C) but it confirmed to me that I had found something I enjoyed doing.
The next that stands out would be my first marathon which I ran, also in Ottawa, in May 2015. The training had been a daunting task in itself. But completing 26.2 miles, that distance, all in one day, filled me with a great sense of achievement and confidence. If I can do that I can do anything.
One other race that comes to mind was Manchester Marathon, England in April 2018. I had joined a running club by this point, and usually, I had gone to races on my own. This one I shared the experience with a few others from my club, who were doing their first marathon. It was great to spend time with them and share their first experiences together. It brought back all the memories of my first marathon. I had also lost a lot of weight by then, so I was in my prime fitness. I managed to break 5 hours which I had wanted to do for a long time, and ended up with a time of 4:29:33!
MSM: Run streaks are created for all types of reasons and meanings. What was the goal of your run streak when you first started?
Evelyn: I was running less and less throughout 2016. I had lost my running mojo. I was still running and still enjoyed it when I did get out and run. But getting out there to run was lacking. As I mentioned earlier, I had seen run streaks starting up in November. I thought it might give me a good incentive to run more frequently. So on the 1st December 2016 at 10 pm (procrastination was real!), I started my run streak. It certainly got my running mojo back.
The first week, I was getting out there because I had to. By the end of the month I was going for a run because I wanted to. I thought I would almost miss it if I didn’t go. Or at least something would be missing.
MSM: The run streak isn’t your only challenge, with the streak you have many secondary and tertiary challenges that are built into your runs. Some of those included running the total kilometers for the past few years and a few others. How do the challenges help you? Are these challenges something that is essentially a must for you?
Evelyn: I started my first challenge back in 2015 – to run the year in kms. It was another way to get me running more. A year long challenge is great as you can catch up over the year. But I also used the months as mini goals to help even the mileage across the year. The challenges are all mini incentives to keep me active and increase my fitness. The run streak was also a mini challenge which had just overrun (pardon the pun!).
MSM: What are some of the other challenges you’ve done through the years?
Evelyn: I don’t seem to stick to strength training. I know it would benefit my running, but it is not something I enjoy doing, and so I never stick to that side of training, if and when I do start. I attempted to do a plank challenge for the month of my birthday. To see how long I could hold a plank for. I did it every day in March and called it the Purple Plank Challenge. I posted on Instagram in hopes that some of my instafriends would join me and help me stick to it. I think I got to 5 minutes by the end of the month. I couldn’t wait to end it though. So that stopped in April. I have repeated it a few times, I may try it again this year. Strength training is still something I am not keen on. And every so often I try and bring it in. One day it might stay.
MSM: With run streaks that essentially means any weather. For you, what have been some of the toughest days for you these past few years?
Evelyn: I started my running life in Ottawa, Canada. In autumn/winter, I got used to running in cold and poor weather conditions from the start. The weather is one thing that doesn’t truly deter me from getting out there. I prefer to run in colder temperatures though. The heat is not my friend, it makes me slow right down. I avoid running in the hottest part of the day. But if I have to, I’ll run. I also avoid running when it’s cold AND raining… that’s the worst feeling – soggy and cold.
I can be a bit of a procrastinator. I used to leave my runs to later in the day. Not because I didn’t want to run, I just picked up other tasks that needed to be done first, or just watch this program first or …. I knew that if it came to it that I could just do a mile before midnight struck. As long as I was out by 11:30 pm, I’d be done. Especially if I worked away from home, and with 24-hour gyms, I would sometimes get on the treadmill at 11:30 pm and run a mile or 2. Then go on the elliptical or indoor bike for 10 minutes or so, and then get back on the treadmill at 12:15 am and run at least another mile more. It’s technically the next day, and a great way to get a full rest day in. That didn’t happen a lot though as it did feel strange not running at all for what seemed to be a whole day. Also putting off runs meant that it left no time to complete a training plan run.
2020 has been the toughest year for me. Covid changed everything. My contract ended early because of it. I found it hard to get another job, so I was out of work for 8 months. Being confined at home with not even work to help occupy some of that time was very hard to deal with. Initially, we could only exercise outside for 30 minutes. I was happy we could still do that. But my motivation for everything took a dive. I enjoyed food way too much and running less meant that not only was I putting weight back on, and the lack of long runs also affected my pace and my endurance. I am still working my way back to my former glory slowly, but surely.
MSM: Covid life has essentially slowed everything to a screeching halt when it’s come to road racing. How have you managed to stay committed. Have your group runs turned into more solo mileage?
Evelyn: Covid has a lot to answer to! I managed to fit 3 races in before they were all canceled. And then 2 virtual marathons, London and Chicago, in October. A drastic difference with the previous year completing 30 races. Maintaining my run streak has enabled me to continue to run. If I did not have that, I’m sure I would have stopped running altogether. I used to travel for work, so although I am a member of a running club, Stopsley Striders, I was rarely able to join the group runs during the week. So, I am used to running solo. The majority of my miles are run solo, in that respect, nothing has changed. But I do miss the race day feeling; the nervous atmosphere, people, and medals.
But parkrun was something I went to religiously. Free weekly timed 5Ks that you could walk, jog or run, or you could volunteer. It was a great way to get the community out and exercising and meeting new people. Covid has put a pause on that and I miss parkruns on a Saturday morning dearly.
Both, Stopsley Striders and parkrun, have helped to keep us motivated by putting on virtual themes and activities that we can do remotely, but collectively. Stopsley Striders put on a virtual 100 mile relay race – we were split into teams and each team had to cover a distance of 100 miles and the fastest team one. Each team was in a WhatsApp group and the virtual baton was passed on via the group. Once a runner returned they messaged the group and the next runner would do their part. The encouragement in the group and comradery was really good.
I do look forward to getting back to parkrun, normal races and group runs in the very near future.
MSM: The love of purple, why does this runner love purple so much?
Evelyn: I really don’t know where it came from. I am just drawn to that colour. It’s a warm soothing colour to me. If I am out and about and something catches my eye, it is normally something purple. Anytime I buy something, especially running gear, I always check if it’s purple first!
MSM: I have to ask, what are the chances we see you in another color on race day? (lol)
Evelyn: I have on the rare occasion not worn purple and people don’t even recognise me. (lol) My everyday clothes are usually not purple – although newer items tend to be.
At races though you are likely to see more red than purple as my running clubs’ colour is red. But I also make sure to have some purple on me – my leggings or socks are likely to be purple. I can make near enough any colour compliment purple 😀
MSM: What inspires Evelyn to run each day, to stay committed?
Evelyn: To put it simply, I see no reason to stop.
It forms part of my daily exercise, my daily routine even. Those endorphins are a huge happiness boost, I love that “feel good” feeling after a run. I’ve never regretted a run. If I get out for an early run, it really sets me up for the day. It helps keep me fit, and maintain my weight. And I try to post an update of my run everyday on instagram. Not only is it a good way of looking back on how and where I have come, it has enabled me to help others to get out and run too. It also keeps me accountable, I know people are watching so if I ever feel like I don’t want to run, I’ll still go. And I feel better for it.
MSM: For folks that are looking to start their own run streak what advice would you give to other fellow runners, myself included. I have a running joke of my longest streak being 6 days.
Evelyn: First and foremost enjoy the run. If you don’t, you won’t want to do it again.
Pace does not matter. Run at a pace that suits you. You can even incorporate run-walk intervals. If you’re already running more frequently and/or longer distances, then stick to your current pattern, but on the off days, slot in a mile run instead of not doing anything at all. This run should be an easy paced run and can act as an active recovery run.
Take each day as it comes. Start off with a 7-day target. If you complete 7 days and you are ok, then continue on with another 7 days. Or try a month challenge, many people complete RED (Run Every Day) January or other monthly challenges. It starts to become an enjoyable habit. If you have to stop, then stop. If it’s not due to an injury, then you can always start again when you’re ready. If you do enjoy it, keep going, Ron Hill lasted 52 years and 39 days.
MSM: For our readers that want to continue to cheer you on where can we follow your journey and run streak?
I post on instagram after every run: instagram.com/thisrunnerlovespurple
I also have a running vlog channel on YouTube: youtube.com/channel/UChfpO4z5W8Bm3mYYrr_y9Fw
My website is thisrunnerlovespurple.co.uk
MSM: Do you see yourself ending this run streak anytime soon?
Evelyn: I see no reason to stop my streak at the moment. I have a minimum mile limit. So I can always fit in a 10 minute run in my day. Unless I physically can’t do it, I will continue on.
MSM: Any last words for our readers?
Evelyn: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to celebrate run streaks in general and my run streak in particular. I hope you are able to start your own run streak too. But ultimately enjoy. I’ll leave you with my favourite running quote by Julie Isphording:
“Run often, Run long. But never outrun your joy of running”
MSM: From us here at Mid Strike we wish you nothing but the best on your run journey. Keep pushing and keep on running.
Evelyn: Thank you