7 Tips to Maintaining a Successful Run Streak
A guest blogpost by race ambassador, Jason Banks. Jason has been holding onto his run streak since January 1, 2020.
It all started as a challenge. The Gymshark66 challenge, to be exact. The idea of the challenge was to hold myself accountable to an activity for 66 days, and soon that activity would become a habit.
On January 1st, 2020 I decided that I would attempt to run for 66 days straight, with the hope that, at the end, I would have become a more consistent and stronger runner. I have run every single day since that day, 500 days in a row.
The official definition of a running streak, according to Streak Runners International, Inc., www.runeveryday.com, and the United States Running Streak Association, Inc., is to run at least one mile (1.61 kilometers) within each calendar day over a chosen period of time. The streak ends when a run is missed any day during the period of time.
Have you ever considered running every day, or “streaking” as it is known amongst runners who currently have an active run streak? If so, here are 7 tips that may help you maintain or get through your first running streak:
- Set an achievable running goal and build up your mileage slowly
Set a goal that is challenging, so you stay motivated, but also achievable. It may help to set an end date, so you can see the progress you are making and know that you are working towards a goal. You can always change that date, later on, to extend your goal as your progress. When I started my streak, I kept my mileage low and ran most of my runs at a comfortable, conversational pace. I was careful not to come out of the gate too quickly, as I did not want to burn myself out before I even really got started.
Remember, streaking is not about how fast you can run or if you can PR every day. You need to be able to complete the distance, of at least one mile, so you can keep your streak going. Take most runs easy so you can build up a strong base over time.
- Try to plan ahead, and keep an open mind
Life is unpredictable, and even more so when you have a goal to run every day. Inevitably, your day will get busy or something unexpected will happen, causing your run to be delayed. To help keep your streak intact, it helps to try to plan ahead.
One of the last things I do every night before getting into bed is check the weather for the next day. This helps me to determine if my next run will be early or later in the day. I get a picture in my head of what I am going to wear, with this being Michigan, I may be running in shorts on Wednesday and fleece-lined tights with gloves on Thursday, and I need to be sure those items are readily available.
I also think about my schedule for the next day, Will it be a long meeting-heavy workday? I may be very exhausted after a long workday, and not feel like running. Do I have any events that I have to attend? Do I have to take the kids to soccer or basketball practice? All of these things matter when maintaining a running streak.
Remember, you can run just about anywhere. When the inevitable does happen, you may need to roll with it. For example, I have heard stories of streakers who have gotten delayed in an airport terminal. The only choice was to jog through the terminal to make sure at least one mile was logged. Be creative and keep an open mind!
- Have a regular recovery routine
When you would normally have an off-day, be sure to run just one-mile, slow and easy. This gives your body and muscles time to actively recover. Also, be sure to incorporate regular stretching and foam rolling into your recovery routine, which will help in keeping injury away.
- Make sure you are fueling your body with good nutrition
When on a run streak, what you fuel your body with is important. As a plant-based runner, I fuel my body with healthy carbohydrates and healthy fats and proteins, so I will have the energy I need for my daily runs. I also keep myself properly hydrated with water, especially when running in warmer temperatures that may cause more rapid sweat loss.
- Know your ‘why’
When the streak starts to get tough, and it will get tough, be sure you keep your “why” in the front of your mind. Your “why” is your reason for starting the streak in the first place. Your “why” is usually something that is personal or meaningful to you and will help keep you going when you feel like giving up or stopping short of your goal. Write it down and put it somewhere you can see it or easily find it.
- Get buy-in from family and friends
People are going to think you are crazy. They may ask, “why would anyone in their right mind choose to run every single day?” This will be something that you understand, but others may not, at least not right away. But it helps to get buy-in from your family and friends. Tell them what you are doing and why you are doing it. The more accountability you can get, the less likely you will be to quit early. Don’t worry about people not understanding your streak initially, when people see you sticking with it, day after day, accomplishing your goals, they will become believers and eventually, supporters.
- Listen to your body
This may sound cliché but listen to your body. It will tell you when it’s ok to go and when you need to slow down or stop. Streaking is addictive and once you get going, it may be hard to stop. However, no streak is worth putting yourself in harm’s way or risking serious injury. The good thing about a streak is, you can always start a new one.
The longest official running streak on record is currently held by Ron Hill, who ran every day for 52 consecutive years. He started his streak on December 21st, 1964, and ended it on January 28th, 2017. That is 19,032 days of consecutive runs. During his active streak, in 1970, Ron Hill became the first British runner to win the Boston Marathon, beating the previous course record with a time of 2:10:30. In the same year, he became only the second man to break the 2:10 barrier, by winning the British Commonwealth Games marathon with a time of 2:09.28.