Run streaks are all the rage on social media. The only rule of the run streak is that you run at least one mile in 15 minutes or less every calendar day. Runner's World hosts a summer and winter streak every year for about 40 days each. Runners, as runners do, usually take it further. The longest run streak record is 52 years and 39 days. I know runners on social media who have been streaking for years. I was part of a 2018 running streak challenge, I was up to 288 days before it all fell apart.
My husband and I have been running at least one mile every day since Thanksgiving Day 2017. After 288 days of running, the flu forced me to end the streak. I've done a lot of crazy things in the name of the streak (running in work clothes, at the airport, ridiculous times) but running while sick was not a level of crazy I was willing to reach.
While I had a good run (pun intended) and it was a little heart-breaking to end the streak, I learned a few things along the way, and will likely pick it back up from day one once I am feeling better.
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And after 288 days the #runstreak is over. 😭 I’m sick 😷 I’ve done some crazy things for the streak but running while sick is a level of crazy I won’t reach. I barely have the energy to walk to the fridge. I’ll pick it back up once I feel better but I guess it’s time for a few days off 🤷♀️ #2018runstreak #runchat #runfortworth #runningcommunity #rundfw #atleastamile #runeveryday #excepttoday taking care of myself is the most important.
HOW TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL RUN STREAK
YOU MUST RUN SLOWER ON "REST DAYS"
I am always writing about and talking to my clients about giving your body the necessary time to rest and recover. It is an essential part of any training plan. The run streak doesn't change this need. To allow recovery, and continue the streak, you must run the mile one or two days a week a lot slower than usual, at least 90 seconds slower than your average comfortable pace. It will allow recovery by not adding any new stress to your body.
YOU MUST SCALE BACK YOUR TOTAL VOLUME
A run streak doesn't necessarily mean that you run more total miles. I have been averaging just 15 miles per week. If you are already running a lot of miles and you add on the run streak miles to your off days, that could be a recipe for disaster. If you are training for a long distance race, then a run streak may not be a good idea at all. It is possible to do a run streak while training, but I wouldn't recommend combining a new streak with a new aggressive goal, either in pace or distance. Focus on one thing at a time.
At least at first, I would recommend shortening the length of your daily runs so that your total volume of miles per week does not increase dramatically with the streak. Start by running the same miles that you usually do per week, but spread them out over seven days with at least one or two one mile days. You can always increase mileage once your body adapts and it feels healthy to do it. I'm warning not to do too much too soon. Coach rant over. #coachrantover
WHAT I LEARNED ON THE RUN STREAK
A STREAK HELPS WITH CONSISTENCY
We've run in the cold, extreme heat, rain, during early morning hours and late at night. I've changed my shoes at work and ran in a cotton tank and work leggings at lunch without a sports bra. There were plenty of days that I knew if I wasn't on the run streak, that I wouldn't have run at all. "Just a mile" has become my mantra. When I didn't feel like doing anything at all, I got myself out the door with a promise of just a mile, and some days those miles led into more (some days not). A lot of time the hardest part is getting out the door, and the run streak always gets you out the door.
YOU MAY GET EMOTIONALLY ATTACHED TO THE STREAK
After a while, It became harder to stop than to keep going. You have to tune in to what your body is telling you and honor that feedback. Sometimes it's better to end the streak, but I can tell you it's hard when you have so many days strung together, you start to make excuses to run. You know when to stop when your body tells you to stop. For me, I got sick. Other signs are body aches and pains, extreme soreness, injury, or your family threatening an intervention. Just listen.
THE RUN STREAK IS NOT FOR EVERYONE
The run streak is not for everyone. I wouldn't recommend it until you build a base of running four to five days a week consistently. Otherwise, it may be too much of an increase in total weekly miles. If you start a streak and your body tells you to stop, it's important to listen, even when you don't want to. The streak is never as important as your overall health. It was hard for me to stop after 288 days when I got sick, but I knew it was healthier than trying to run while sick. Always look at the big picture.
The run streak got me thinking about how the streak method can apply to other goals in my life. Where else in my life do I want to be more consistent? What small action can I take every day to help me develop a habit of it? A run streak takes at least 8-10 minutes a day. What else can I do for 10 minutes a day to improve skill and consistency in another part of my life? Any ideas?
Have you ever streaked? How many days? Or do you think I'm nuts? It's ok, most people IRL (in real life as the kids say) think so.
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