Running streaks have become all the rage, and if you’re looking for an added challenge, running daily may be for you. But is running back-to-back-to-back (and so on) a good idea? We talked to two coaches to find out what you need to know before you start a running streak and what daily runs can do for your future training blocks. Spoiler: It isn’t for everyone.
MAKE SURE YOUR BODY IS READY
Though it is true anyone can do a running streak, it is best if you build a proper base first. This way, runners can focus on the basics before simply getting miles in for the sake of avoiding a missed day.
“If you’re a new runner, you should prioritize building your overall running training above starting a running streak,” confirms Ryan Warrenburg, coach at ZAP Fitness. “You will set yourself up for success by starting a streak of running every other day or a streak of running 3–4 days a week. This type of consistency is a critical building block to starting a streak so you remain healthy and able to enjoy your running.”
There is an exception for runners who already have a solid number of miles under their belt: injury. If you are currently experiencing an injury or just returning to training after one, a run streak could exacerbate any pain or issues. Running coach Kyle Kranz notes that even a slight pain that could turn into a full-blown problem shouldn’t be ignored when toying with the idea of starting — or maintaining — a running streak.
“If you have a potential injury or develop one during a streak, the ego is going to be tempted to keep the streak alive,” Kranz adds. “But the ego is never an amigo when it comes to making training choices. Think what you would suggest to yourself if you were your coach, which in such cases you may be.”
MODIFY YOUR INTENSITY
It is important to err on the conservative side when planning your mileage for a running streak. Just as with any type of training — no matter the number of times you run every week — too many big-mileage days one after the other leads to potential burnout and injury.
“The most significant danger is attempting a running streak and not properly modulating your distances and intensities,” notes Kranz. “It requires self-discipline to run seven days weekly and keep your workouts and easy run distance/paces under control so you can healthily run for 30+ days straight.”
A key point Kranz makes is in regard to your pace; don’t think of intensity as just the number of miles you are covering. It is important to also consider how fast you are running them. Even if you are only running one mile after a long run the day before, you don’t want to do an all-out effort. In a running streak, recovery is still key (even if that doesn’t mean taking a day off). In this case, recovery means slowing your pace multiple times a week to accommodate the extra miles or lack of rest.
“In a seven-day running week at least 4–5 of your runs should be done at conversational pace (a pace you could run while holding a conversation with your running partner),” shares Warrenburg. “Running too hard on a day-to-day basis is a recipe for overtraining and injury, but if you keep the intensity relatively low, a running streak is an excellent way to build fitness and improve your long-term running performances.”
Though there are some dangers with a running streak — particularly if your body isn’t ready or you are pushing yourself too hard — there is a huge benefit: motivation. If you are looking for a way to get excited about running again, just having the goal to get out and run every day is a great way to do it.
“One benefit to doing a running streak is that it provides added motivation to get out the door and be consistent with your running,” Warrenburg confirms. “If you have a goal riding on every run, even if the goal is just to get out the door, you’ll be much more motivated on those days where you’d rather hit the snooze button.”
Warrenburg adds that streaks can also help you reach a new level in your training, due to the focus on quantity over quality. The boost in aerobic fitness can help you build an even stronger base before you start training for a future race. Also, dedicating the time to running daily for even just a month can make future training stretches seem easier thanks to an added appreciation for rest days.
“A run-streak goal or even a month-long daily strength-work challenge can be a really fantastic method of jumpstarting a good habit,” shares Kranz. “After a 30-day streak, doing five runs weekly will seem like a piece of cake.”