No, not that kind of streaking. Come on. This is a family blog. I’m talking about running streaks or running every day. According to the United States Running Streak Association, official arbitrator of such things, here is the definition of a running streak:
Run at least one mile (1.61 kilometers) within each calendar day. Running may occur on either the roads, a track, over hill and dale, or on a treadmill.
When the Wife and I were training for our first half marathon, we both heard about running streaks independently. We were both running 3 to 5 days a week and this sounded like fun. Now this was well before I got into ultras, but even back then 1 mile didn’t seem like a huge commitment to do each day. And even though I’m no speedster, it still doesn’t take me more than 10-12 minutes to go crank out my mile.
I’m a creature of habit and this sort of thing is right up my alley. I like to sit in the same seats, eat the same things for lunch, and run the same routes in training. That’s not to say I’m totally adverse to change, but that I’m very comfortably doing the same thing over and over and over again.
The primary argument against running streaks is that since you’re running every day, you never have any rest days. And this is true to an extent. I don’t feel as a mile though, done very slowly, puts much stress or strain on my body. It’s barely more taxing that taking the dogs for a walk. The key for me is to do at least 3 one mile runs each week. This way I’m getting lots of almost rest. I view 3 days of almost rest to be the same as 1 or 2 days of complete rest.
I started my run streak back in August 2012 and as of today it’s reached 1,226 days over 3 plus years. Running each day isn’t even something I have to give much thought to any more. The key for me is to get my run in first thing in the morning. I wake up, throw on my shoes, and git ‘er dun. The only question is how far I go. And I’ve largely even taken the mystery of that out of the equation by doing either 1 mile, 5 miles, or a long run that is usually some multiple of 5.
Running streaks aren’t for everyone. I wouldn’t recommend them for anyone who needs a mental or physical break from running every now and again. I would think that people putting in very weekly high mileage (60+) might need the complete day off more than the 20-50 miles per week I typically run. They’re also probably not for people with variable schedules (work, home, etc.).
I don’t have any goals for how long I’ll keep the streak going. It’s not something that I’m really even focused on. I don’t wake up each day thinking about adding another day to the streak. Heck, I usually don’t even know within 100 what day I’m on. It’s so integrated into my life that running every day is no different than eating a meal or taking a shower. Just another normal daily activity.
I don’t view my running streak as incompatible with my Chase of 10K. If it ever comes to a choice between the two, I’ll probably choose 10K. Or at least that’s how I would make the decision today. I have no idea where I’ll be on this issue in 5 years time. I hope I’ll still be focused on running 100s. No one knows the future for certain. . . but I’m pretty sure I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow morning.