A blog by runners. For runners.

Should you streak?

To streak or not to streakI remember the start of 2013. I had run the first four days of the year. I recall thinking, “I’ve already run all of the days of the year, maybe I should do a run streak for all of 2013.” Those plans went out the window the next day when it was pouring out. I didn’t have the motivation necessary to brave the rain or the gym membership necessary to run on a treadmill.

Run streaks have always enticed me, mostly because they seem so challenging. I rarely run more than two days in a row so when I hear about people streaking for a month, a season, a year, or several decades (!), I feel inspired. I’m debating trying a run streak sometime in 2014 (maybe from Memorial Day to Labor Day, a popular time for runners to streak.)

If you’re on the fence about streaking, here are some factors to consider when deciding if streaking is right for you.

Go streaking if:

  • You’re not currently training for any events. According to Streak Runners International, the definition of a running streak is “to run at least one mile within each calendar day”. One mile doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re training for a marathon, you need to take rest days so your body can fully recover from intense workouts.
  • You like switching up your workouts. Streak Runners International says runners get the most out of streaking when runs are different each day. This means changing up the scenery – take a different route or hop on the treadmill, the type of workouts – do a mix of easy runs, long runs, speedwork, and hill work, and the length of your runs each week.
  • You want a new challenge. For a seasoned distance runner, committing to a month-long run streak may not seem too physically challenging – especially if you log a couple 1 mile runs per week. But the mental commitment required may be tougher than some runners realize. Lacing up your shoes every day, no matter what, without taking any rest days is a challenge feat for sure.
  • You’re resourceful. I once heard about a streaker who was snowed in her house for days without treadmill access. She didn’t let those circumstances stop her from continuing the streak – she ran a mile each day around her basement! That type of resourcefulness is sometimes required for a successful streak.

Streaking may not be for you if:

  • You’ve been running for fewer than six months. Streak Runners International recommends a base of at least 6 months of running before beginning a streak. This will reduce the risk of overuse injuries.
  • You just completed a big race. Dedicating yourself to training for several months is exhausting. It’s normal to suffer from the post-race blues after a big event, and it’s a common mistake take on a new challenge soon after crossing a finish line. But you may underestimate how much of a toll training took on you, both physically and mentally. Plan for some running downtime after big events, and only start a run streak when you’re feeling fresh again.
  • You’re coming back from an injury. Streak Runners International says the risk of injury during a streak is no higher than the risk of getting hurt during a normal training cycle (given that some of your runs are short and easy). However, a runner coming back from an injury needs to gradually return to running. Days of complete rest are often a must for a healthy comeback.

Who has successfully completed a run streak? Would you do it again?

Written by Jen Matz.