Run streaks, where you run Every. Single. Day are becoming more popular. While the distances or lengths of your runs may vary, the point is that you get some kind of run in your day, every day. There are many advantages, like how it can boost your motivation to keep running — even on days where you’re not in the mood‚ and it can have great benefits to your training regimen. Some runners establish a month-long run streak and some have been doing a years-long run streak. If you’re considering trying one in 2018, we have a few tips and tricks to make your streak a success.
USE THE STREAK TO BECOME A RUNNER
The authors of “The Brave Athlete” are all about discovering your athletic identity. If you run semi-regularly or do a bunch of sports (weightlifting, yoga, spin class) but don’t consider yourself an athlete or a runner, a run streak can go a long way toward cementing your status as a runner, at least in your own mind. The daily repetition also helps establish the habit of running, and since studies have shown it takes around 66 days to establish a new healthy habit, even a month-long run streak can turn you into someone who actually runs regularly.
Jerry Seinfeld famously marked a big red X on a calendar every day he wrote a new joke. By doing this, he created a “streak,” which made him less likely to break it. Do a more high-tech version by recording every run on an app like MapMyRun. When you can see daily progress, you’ll be more inspired to keep it going.
FIGURE OUT YOUR BEST TIME
If you’re on a training plan, you likely already have most of your days dialed in with when and how you’re training. To keep a streak alive, simply add a short, super easy run to your off days — keep it incredibly short (Think: a 1-miler) to still reap the benefits of rest. Regardless of your current training status, though, look at your calendar and get a sense of the best time of day to run, and block out time to run every single day (at least for the first few weeks until you establish the habit). That way, you won’t hit 11 p.m., pajamas on, trying to run around the block before the clock ticks over to midnight.
CONSIDER SHORT PRE-BREAKFAST RUNS
Rather than adding to later in your day when things get busy, what about starting your day with a run? If you’re just planning a run streak with no formal run training or goal in mind, a pre-breakfast short-and-easy run can be a) a great way to start the day and b) an easy way to establish a run streak habit.
If you’re not a seasoned runner, don’t try to begin with a 5K (or worse, a 10 or 15K) every morning. Rather, start with a walk/run combination for 10–15 minutes. Slowly grow it from there — but know that if you go out too strong, you’re exposed to potential for injury, serious soreness or symptoms of overtraining.
EVERY DAY DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A PR
Some days, you might feel more tired. When you’re running every single day, you won’t always feel incredible. Vary your pace, your distance, your terrain and the time you spend on the road daily. Maybe you run an easy 15 minutes one day, followed by a tougher interval-focused run the next. Just because you’re running every day doesn’t mean you have to do the same exact run.
ENJOY THE BENEFITS
Consider noting in your journal or notes on the MapMyRun app how you feel as you rack up the days. Running doesn’t just help shed pounds and make you feel better physically, the mental benefits of exercise, from stress reduction to alleviating anxiety and depression, are well-documented.
BROKE THE STREAK? THERE’S ALWAYS TOMORROW
Don’t let a broken streak cause you to abandon the concept. Just get back out there tomorrow.
LOSING STEAM? ADD REWARDS
If you’re starting to consider hitting snooze instead of hitting the 2-mile loop every morning, consider adding some mini-rewards, like a new top or a new set of sneakers for each 7–14 days you manage to keep the streak alive.
Injured? Sick? Don’t be a “hero” and try to keep your streak alive when you know you need a day off. The streak is never as important as your overall health and well-being.