Friday, January 25, 2013

Streaking

Maintaining a "streak" of a habit can be very motivating.  (Also known as the  "Don't Break the Chain" productivity trick of Jerry Seinfeld's*).  The momentum of your success thus far makes you reluctant to ruin the streak.  In my case, I would like to workout every day.  Not always "hard", and not always running, but making a habit of exercising in some way every day makes it much harder to say "I don't feel like it" today.  It's not a matter of IF you'll exercise, it's simply a matter of what you'll do.  If I really really don't want to workout because I'm very sore or tired or am truly short on time, a walk or some pushups and planks, or an easy yoga or stretching video can do the trick.

Here's the problem.  I work night shift, so my day starts anywhere from 4pm to 10pm (depending on when I wake up), and ends between 8am and 2pm the next day, when I go to sleep.  So if I workout when I wake up, that shows up on the calendar as a completely different day than if I workout later on in the day, closer to bedtime.  This is has been bothering me for a while, because I can't see much of a "streak" in my workout log, even when one exists.  Also, my training plan doesn't line up with training log.  For example, in my training plan, I have my long runs listed on Fridays, but in my log, they show up on Saturdays, because they are Saturday morning (which is my "Friday night".  I name the day by the day I woke up in, not the day I go to sleep in.  Which is stupid and confusing, because work does the opposite.  If my work schedule says I work "Saturday", that means I go in Friday night at 10:30pm. Anyway).
Screenshot from my training log at RunningAhead.com.  Note that the streak miles  count running and spinning, and that the streak days are counted for any activity.  I have no clue why it's saying the current streak is 9 days, since clearly there is no color on the 23rd.  Usually it doesn't do that, and would say the current streak is just 2 days.

If you look at the calendar, there are a lot of plain white days.  It looks like I took a ton of rest days!  Many of them really aren't, however.  The calendar days with the dashed lines indicate two activities in one day, and often represent the days where I "switched" from workout in the morning, before bed, to in the evening, right after I wake up.

My point is that this is has been bothering me for a while, and I think I'm going to fix it.  Sometimes I put Tuesday 11:59pm as the workout time if I really worked out Wednesday at 2:00 am, but I'm inconsistent and it makes it hard to tell when exactly I did do the workout.  I think the best solution would be to just subtract 12 hours from the time of my workout, and log that as the workout time.  So a Tuesday 6pm workout becomes Tuesday 6am, while a Wednesday 6am workout becomes Tuesday 6pm, which is right, because Wednesday morning is "really" my "Tuesday night".  I'm going to go do that right now, at least for the current month.  I'm excited to see what the calendar looks like after, and how a long of a streak I can get going forward.  I know this one won't be that long, because I did take at least one real rest day last week (where there are two empty boxes in a row).
Fixed!  I only went back as far as January 1st.  I've only taken 2 rest days off so far in January (the 15th and the 19th). There were FIVE listed on the old view.  Yay.  

Problem solved.  I feel much better about life now.  Now, I just have to remember to change the timestamp on my workouts when I upload them from my GPS.....

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