Running streaks (not streaking runs) are becoming more and more popular these days as more people have taken on a healthier lifestyle, and fitness challenges are becoming part of the norm in active communities. Experienced runners may elect to participate in a running streak to:
- challenge themselves to stay fit over the holidays
- spice up the end of their race season
- want to use it as part of a weightloss plan before an event like a wedding, and
- some crazy fools just like to run (imagine that)!
It may sound somewhat easy, but even just one mile every day can have its challenges; the long days at work, travel days, sick days, etc. The official rules of the running streak have no mercy on illness or injury. Miss a day and your streak is over. But it's fair–a streak is a streak. According to the United States Running Streak Association's active running streak list, the top streaker is a 64-year-old writer named Jon Sutherland, who started his streak in 1969. A more than 45-year running streak is impressive to say the very least.
However, new runners should proceed with caution. A running streak is generally not recommended for newbies because they don't have the proper conditioning, and overuse injuries will most likely be the end to your streak (and you may never want to run again). Even with experienced runners, too much too soon can equal fast burnout.
Among the successful streakers are those that keep lower daily mileage, have an end date and make it social. Our very own ambassador, Dan Bridges, participated in a running streak over the holidays and shared his experience below:
"Before Thanksgiving I was worrying about how I was going to maintain my current weight and fitness level with all the delicious temptations. I have no willpower when it comes to pies, cakes, ice cream, cookies, chocolates, should I go on? Anyway, I was scrolling through the Facebook posts when I came across #36 Days of Awesome on the Runner’s World site, a run streak. I had heard of run streaks before but had not paid much attention to them. In this particular streak, participants were asked to run at least one mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Years’ Day. What a great way to keep off the holiday pounds and to celebrate a successful end to my 2014 New Years’ Resolution which was to lose weight and get fit! I wasn’t sure what I was getting into but I knew I wanted a challenge so I signed up.
The first thing I noticed as the days went by was the diversity of the runners. We had all fitness levels from all over the country! The great part was we would post our mileage every day and then comments and likes would pour in supporting each runner on their own personal journey! The physical challenge did not seem too daunting to me, I actually began to crave the run each day and ended up racking up around 120 miles which is a LOT for me. The most amazing part of the run streak was the camaraderie built between the streakers. Some would not be able to finish because of injury and illness and we would share in their despair. Some were brand new and would run/walk their miles and we would all share in their victories. It still amazes me how the running community comes together to support one another, no judgment, no criticisms, just pure love and support! I recently began training for upcoming races but I will do the streak again next year, it was an amazing experience!"
So, maybe a 45-year running streak isn't the goal you set out to achieve, but like Dan recounted above, having an end date and social sharing can be plenty of motivation for a successful running streak!