The pros and cons of embarking on a runstreak

runners

One of the things I’ve come across during my dive into the running culture is the runstreak. No, not the thing made famous in the 1970s or the Will Ferrell variety from “Old School.” Generally speaking, that’s not the fodder you’ll find on this site.

What I’m talking about is where a runner will run every day for a certain length of time. So if you’re going to do a January runstreak, you’d run every day for 31 days during that month. Ten miles, one mile, 20 miles – it doesn’t matter. Just as long as you get a run in every day, you keep the runstreak going.

You can also do the runstreak anywhere. A track, the neighborhood, a park, or the treadmill at home.

The obvious question: Why?

I did a little crowdsourcing (fancy term for asking a question on the interwebz) with that query in mind.

Some of the responses were pretty interesting.

Several people mentioned that they embarked on a runstreak as a challenge. A two-month runstreak leading up to a race, for example, or to drop some pounds, is a good way to stay on task without the drudgery that often accompanies training.

Pride can also be a strong motivator, particularly if the weather is bad. It’s easy to stay in bed/at home when it’s 15 degrees outside, or when it’s topping 100. But breaking your 100-day runstreak at 88, when you’re so close, just because it’s not nice outside? Lame. So out you go, freezing/sweltering for even just a mile, just to keep the streak alive.

That’s what a runstreak can do for you.

There are other reasons. Perhaps a runstreak can be used as a charity fundraiser. Or something done in memory of someone. There are plenty of reasons people do this.

There are also good reasons why people don’t.

Even the most active people need rest. I personally do not run every day. I go regularly – four to five times a week – but I almost never run on the day I lift legs, and I generally take every Sunday off.

There are solid reasons for this. Exercise by nature tears muscle fibers down; your body then uses the nutrients you consume to build them back up. This is one of the reasons why good sleep is so essential for any athlete – or any other exerciser.

But if you are straining yourself every day, there is a good chance your body never gets a chance to catch up on the rebuilding process. Small injuries never get a chance to heal, which over time become chronic. Your immune system can start to wane.

Doing a lengthy runstreak is not a guarantee that all these bad things are going to happen to you. But ensuring you have a rest day once a week does mitigate these risks. No rest days eventually aggravates them.

Personally, I’ve never done a runstreak. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever rule it out, and I know plenty of people who have enjoyed doing one. Like many exercises, successfully completing a runstreak takes a certain amount of mental toughness that is only made stronger as the streak wears on (that’s a good thing).

What about you? Have you ever done a runstreak? Why or why not? What are your experiences?

Share your stories in the comments section. I’m curious to read about your experiences.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7088

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8 thoughts on “The pros and cons of embarking on a runstreak

  1. I tried to do a run streak….30 Days of Running was a personal challenge to myself and I discovered that it was not physically good for me. I need more rest intervals in my training. I could do an every-other-day run streak but even that’s pushing it.

    • I could see that. I’ve heard one person call it a “movestreak,” where you commit to doing something over a period of time, but not necessarily running, as a way to stave off injury. Good to see a personal story on this topic!

  2. I am just completing a running streak from Thanksgiving to New Years: 40 days. It was something new and challenging for me. I had always taken at least two rest days per week. I also added to the challenge by saying all my runs would be outdoors and in Minnesota that means darkness, snow and some ice. I have kept all the runs easy using my heart rate monitor; my easiest days were runs of 1-2 miles and my weekly long run was 9-10 miles. It was has been a good change of pace for me.

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