A run streak is defined as running at least 1 mile per day for ‘x’ number of consecutive days. X equals either a specified number of days or until you are forced to stop.
After a sedentary, cake-fueled, December, I decided to start a run streak on December 31st. I had spent the past 6 months feeling ho-hum about my running, something I had formerly been obsessed about. I was fearful that I had lost my running mojo, never to be seen again. I determined to force it a little. Each day I was more motivated to run than the last. I watched the consecutive days add up. I felt glorious, strong, unstoppable.
In hindsight, starting a run streak in the midst of flu season was a bad idea. I made it 20 days when WHAM! The flu. Will I try again? Perhaps, but not this year. I have a long list of amazing races planned out this year, and I don’t want to risk injury.
I can’t say that the run streak aided in me contracting the flu, but I can’t say that it didn’t either. This experience made me think about the good and bad aspects of my short journey with the run streak.
- Routine – You will be forced to develop a routine, and learn to put your running first.
- You get stronger – Your muscles will be pushed to the limit, and they will get stronger.
- You get healthy – If you are prone to sitting on the couch – getting at least a mile run every day will make you healthier.
- Burn more calories – Running burns roughly 100 calories per mile. That number depends on your body fat, metabolism, etc., but getting out and moving will help you burn more calories throughout the day.
- More baths! – Soreness will happen (see the con section for muscle soreness), but a hot soak can be relaxing and beneficial. Add Epson salt for extra reward.
- Easier to get your daily step goal – As the miles add up so do you daily steps. When you have that daily run scheduled, your steps will follow. A mile is approximately 2,000 steps, depending on your leg length.
- You will learn how to dig deep – You can’t sustain a running streak without putting your willpower all-in.
- Higher potential for injury – Overuse injuries are the most frequent type of injury for runners. The more you pound the pavement the higher the risk for stress fracture, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, etc. Be safe, and don’t ramp up your miles too quickly.
- May lessen your immune system – Without taking rest days you could be at a higher risk for sickness. To counteract this – eat healthy and get plenty of sleep.
- You will be exhausted – You may find yourself sleeping more than usual. Listen to your body. If it gets too bad consider slacking off the miles.
- No time for muscle repair – Rest days help heal the tears that exercise creates in our muscles. With constant taxation of those muscles you aren’t giving them a chance to heal. Take a lot of hot Epson baths, get sleep, and don’t forget to foam roll.
- You will be hungry – The more you run the more calories you burn. The more calories you burn the hungrier you are.
- Less time for cross and strength training – A running streak will take time away from cross training and strength training. These areas are important to runners who want to avoid injury. Don’t avoid training the rest of your body.
- Junk miles – Some runners have a serious issue with what they call ‘junk miles’. Junk miles are miles that don’t have a purpose. Think fartlek, hill runs, intervals, long runs, etc. Personally, I just like to run, and I don’t beat myself up about it. With a run streak there will be plenty of junk miles.
- Can be stressful with an already busy schedule – If you already have a full plate a run streak may not be for you. If you stress about trying to find the time to run every day; or if you forsake other important aspects of your life, you may want to rethink a run streak.
The answer to whether or not a run streak is a good idea is up to you and your body. If the idea of a run streak intrigues you, try it out for a few days.