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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Streaking

No, get your mind out of the gutter. Let me explain. About a month ago, I saw a message on Twitter that said "On 2nd day of my "'running streak'". I realized that since I had run the day before, I could match that streak. I had been struggling with running regularly and thought that I might give it a shot.

According to the United States Running Streak Association, Inc, a running streak is defined as running at least one continuous mile within each calendar day under one's own body power. It says nothing about pace, so I decided to give it a try.

Every runner worth their salt knows that recovery is important. Typically, recovery takes the form of days off from running which would not happen with running every day. Why would someone do this to themselves? Is it safe?

I learned during my triathlon training that recovery can also happen during cross-training (biking or swimming for example) or even on easy running days. During my ramp-up for my Ironman race last year, I went through some streaks where I had almost no time off. I had weeks of 5-6 runs per week and the shortest of those was usually 3-4 miles.

As I planned this, I decided a few things:

  1. Runs with walk breaks count as long as the total distance exceeds 1 mile. You can save your puritan "only running counts " comments for another post that is coming, the "Can you still call it running?"
  2. I would keep at least 4 runs a week as very easy. For me, that means between 11 and 12 mpm. When I run/walk with my youngest son, our avg is usually between 14 and 15 mpm.
  3. I would try to start stretching one run a week as my "long" run.
April 6th was the first day of my first running streak. Even with the onslaught of summer here in the desert, I managed 33 days as of this past Friday when I managed a 1.5 mile run in 103* F. The first mile was even a sub-10 which is pretty fast for me these days.

Saturday morning, I woke up and decided the streak was over. I was tired in a way I had not been for quite awhile and decided that 33 days was a good start for my first running streak. In review of my running, I realized that I ran almost as much during this running streak of just about a month as I had in the previous 3 months. I would call that a success and I plan to resume a running streak again after a few days of rest.

So the short version is that this running streak has reinvigorated my running in a way I had not experienced in over a year. So what tricks to you use to maintain your fitness motivation? Leave me a comment here or give me a shout over on Twitter.

3 comments:

Paul Both said...

You continue to "out streak me" :) The best part is, you can restart anytime. I think I'll wait till after the LA Marathon then I will attempt it again.

Kris said...

I'm still trying to get out for more than one run a week. 33 days in a row is one heck of a streak. :) Congrats!

Stephen said...

@Paul. Thanks, but your mileage is much higher than mine.

@Kris. Thanks. I hope I can stretch the next one a bit further and add some higher mileage runs.