52 Healthy Habits: Running Coach Tips to Stay Safe and Sane on the Summer Run Streak

Ahh...Summer is almost here and while most people kick off the unofficial start of summer with a backyard bar-b-que, we runners usually strap on our kicks and participate in Runner's World annual Summer Run Streak.

This week as part of our 52 healthy habits series, we are talking about the Runner's World run streak.

What's a Run Streak, you ask? It an an annual event when runners commit to at least one mile every day from Memorial Day through Fourth of July and share their progress on social media using hashtag #RWRUNSTREAK. 

If you follow this blog, you know I am big on healthy habits and lacing up those running shoes every day for 37 straight days is a fabulous way to establish a consistent running habit while maintaining your fitness through most of the summer.

As a running coach it is my mission to make sure that we all stay safe and sane throughout the streak. You can read Runner's World official FAQs here, but here's my take on the run streak.

1. KNOW YOUR WHY

Why do you want to run the streak? To stay motivated through the summer? To establish a regular running habit? Or because all the cool kids are doing it on social media? It's great to do it just because it's fun, but after a couple of weeks, having a reason why you want to achieve this goal will keep you going once the initial excitement wears off. 

2. MAKE A PLAN

run streak tracking and planning calendar free download

run streak tracking and planning calendar free download

If you don't usually run every day, make a plan as to when you will fit in your mile each day. Most people will be able to run the mile in 15 minutes or less, so decide if you will get up early, run at lunch, right before dinner (or whenever works for you). Schedule your run on your calendar so you know exactly when you will get it done each day. Here in Texas, the summers can get pretty hot, so I use the running streak to motivate myself to get up early before work and run at least one mile.

Make a plan for when things don't go your way. What if it rains? What if you have to work late? What if your dog ate your running shoes? Ollie! Think ahead about how you will handle potential obstacles, because nothing worth doing comes easy. I suppose we could hope that 37 days go by without anything going wrong...there's a first time for everything, but we'd be better off to be prepared for challenges. 

3. ALTERNATE SHOES

While the streak goal is to run at least one mile every day, a lot of runners will probably choose to run more than one mile on some days. When running on subsequent days, it is a good idea to alternate between two pairs of running shoes. Simply changing shoes every other day can help decrease the chance of repetitive use injuries. 

4. DON'T NEGLECT REST AND RECOVERY

On your normal rest days, you will still be running one mile to keep the running streak alive. These days should be very low intensity (aka sloooooow). I can't stress enough the importance of resting your body. While you will probably run a few runs during the week that are longer in distance and higher in intensity, I highly recommend at least two or three days a week of just one very slow easy mile to allow your body time to recover.

5. SLEEP WELL

Speaking of recovery, since you may be putting additional stresses on your body during the streak, it is more important than ever that you aim for seven to eight hours of sleep. It is during rest that the body grows stronger and faster. Make a plan for a good night's sleep. It is a healthy habit that will serve you long after the run streak is over. Here are some tips on how to create and follow a sleep ritual.

6. RAMP UP SLOWLY

If you are not running at all and using the streak to get back on track or start a new running routine, I recommend starting with just one mile a day. No more. Too much too soon will only lead to burnout and possible injury. You can increase your miles as the streak progresses and your fitness levels improve. 

If you are already running a few days a week, start with two to three regular runs during the week and four to five one mile days (according to your current fitness levels). Think about the normal amount of time that your body is accustomed to running each week. To stay safe and injury-free, don't drastically increase the amount of time hitting the pavement.

7. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

This is fun and we will all be showing off our streak on social media, but no streak is worth your body's health. If you feel aches and pains (other than normal soreness) then I highly recommend that you listen to your body and take some time off as needed. Pain is your body's way of telling you something is going wrong. Ignoring pains will only lead to more serious injury. No streak is worth that. Here is a post I wrote on the difference between pain and discomfort. 

8. THERE'S NO SHAME IN WALKING

Technically speaking, the Runner's World rules say that walking doesn't count. I disagree. Besides, a Runner's World official streak moderator isn't going to jump out from behind the bushes to issue you a citation for walking. Please feel free to run/walk your miles as needed to stay to safe and sane. 

9. BE SOCIAL

If you made it through all my coach safety talk, I want to remind you to have fun and be social. Post pictures (aka selfies or shoefies) of your daily runs and use the hashtag #rwrunstreak on Instagram and/or Twitter. Search the hashtag and leave comments to encourage your fellow run streakers!

Let me know how it goes. I'll be on the lookout for you on social media. 

It's Memorial Day so I also want to take this time to express my gratitude for the men and women of the US armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom. 

scenes from the #Shredshed

scenes from the #Shredshed

Coach Lea

I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help. 

Are you a Dallas/Fort Worth local? Join us on the last Saturday of every month for my free Saturday morning bootcamps

While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.