If you were to tell the average person that you planned on run streaking, they might give you the side eye and question your sanity. But tell any running enthusiast that you plan on run streaking, and they will know exactly what you mean, and it’s certainly not running through a public place wearing nothing but your birthday suit.
Run streaking is the term for running a typically large number of consecutive days, one mile minimum, without taking any days off.
Any running enthusiast who frequents social media will tell you that run streaking has become the next big challenge in the running world. Even the popular magazine Runners World promotes and hosts streaks a few times a year; in fact the Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/rwrunstreak) for their Summer 2015 streak has well over 16,000 fans. And if that isn’t enough to prove streaking’s popularity, there is an entire group, the United States Running Streak Association (http://www.runeveryday.com/) full of members who have completed run streaks of at least one year or more.
That’s right, these people have run at least one mile per day, every day, for over a year.
If that isn’t enough to blow your mind, consider current USRSA member Jon Sutherland from West Hills, CA, who is currently 46 years into his running streak and still going. That’s 16804 days of running without ever missing a day.
Those of you who aren’t huge fans of running are probably shaking your heads thinking “what kind of crazy person does that?” whereas those of you who have been bit by the running bug are probably thinking “quick, sign me up!”. If you are in the latter category (and as a running addict myself, I certainly can’t blame you) there are a few things you should consider before attempting to streak yourself.
Are you injury prone?
This is probably an obvious point, but it should still be said. Do you find yourself complaining every few weeks of a sore knee, twisted ankle, or painful shin splints that seemingly come out of nowhere? Are you constantly battling an injury or wearing some sort of brace to prevent another persistent pain? Then streaking probably isn’t for you. When in doubt, check with your doctor first.
Are you new to running?
If so, the run streak might not be for you. The United States Running Streak Association recommends that no one should attempt a daily running streak until they have been running on a regular basis for at least six months, with no more than three to five outings per week. Obviously, running every single day is going to open you up to potential overuse injuries and mental and physical burnout. Those who have more running experience have bodies that are more adapted to the act of running, and are less likely to sustain an overuse injury.
Can you mix up your runs?
Because you absolutely should.
Scratch that, you absolutely NEED to mix up your runs.
Even experienced runners in the best of shape can mentally and physically burnout from doing the same thing every single day. Alternate your running sessions between hard runs or races, slow recovery runs, longer distances and shorter distances. Don’t be ashamed to cover the minimum required one mile if your body is telling you it needs rest. Your body needs recovery in one way or another. Switching your runs up between varying paces and distances will allow your body to actively recover, while also prevent you from getting bored doing the same thing over and over.
Can you still find time for cross training?
Running every single day may seem like more than enough physical activity, but you shouldn’t ignore the fitness needs of the rest of your body simply for the sake of a challenge. Be sure to still incorporate cross training, strength training, and flexibility (stretching) into your weekly workouts.
Are you smart enough to know when to quit?
If your body is screaming at you for a rest day, if your once nagging hip is now borderline excruciating pain, if your personal life is being negatively affected…will you be able to say enough is enough? In other words…don’t be stubborn, or stupid.
Bottom line: Run streaking can be fun. It is amazing to see what your body, your willpower, and your mental fortitude are capable of. But no challenge nor bragging rights is worth a serious injury, especially one that could potentially take you out of the running game permanently.
If you decide to go for a running streak of your own, be sure to remember to have fun.
And whatever you do, please don’t forget your shorts. It’s not that kind of streaking.