Wednesday, 18 December 2013

#113 Why Don't We Do It in the Road

STREAKING that is!

More specifically, run streaking!

(I'm running out of Beatles songs to use as blog titles)

A recent Runner's World poll asked readers what their main motivation was for getting out and running in these wet, windy (and pretty much miserable) winter conditions. Far and away, the number one choice of respondents was "avoiding a big fat zero" in their training logs (i.e. running zero miles on any given day). This timely poll was conveniently taken at the same time that many of the magazine's readers are taking part in the #RWRunStreak (with the aim of running at least one mile every day from (American) Thanksgiving until Christmas) so perhaps the results are a bit biased. Nonetheless, there are clearly many people who are motivated to run each day, simply because that's exactly what they did the day before, and what they plan to do the next day. They simply love to streak!

I too have been no stranger to streaking this year. For no reason other than to gain a motivational edge (okay, also due to my extreme stubbornness), I have embarked on 3 specific (although often unintentional to start) running streaks in 2013. 

The first was in February (and fittingly called the FeBrrruary Run Streak) in which I ran each and every day that month (which conveniently only has 28 days...but often very COLD days). Moreover, almost all of those runs (sometimes more than one per day) occurred outside (one was on a treadmill and three on an indoor track), and ultimately totaled 640K for the month (which at the time, was my one-month mileage PB). As it happens, the streak wouldn't last much longer. It totaled 34 days, including the last 5 days of January, but only the first day of March, after which I had to take two days off due to injury.

The next one was purely accidental in the sense that when I went for a run on Wed 29 May, after taking two consecutive days off (and 2 days was a big deal) to recover from the Cabot Trail Relay, I could never have imagined that I would go on to run the next 125 days through the entire summer season, and which would feature more than its fair share of hot and humid days. In that time, 126 total days, I ended up covering an incredible 2,610K (an average of almost 21K per day) and which would go far in helping me to achieve a new PB at the Chicago Marathon.

Finally, and most recently, after being pretty banged up after Chicago, and barely able to go 3 straight days of running, I decided (this time consciously) to run every day in November (and when I had done that, December), a time when most runners hang up their shoes, cut back the kilometers, and get some much deserved rest and relaxation (as well as pack on a few pounds). Nope, not me. After tonight's 15K easy run (still to come, knock on wood), I'll have hit 50 straight days since the streak started (on Wed 30 October)! And with no reasons or excuses as to why it should stop (aside from it being cold, dark, snowy, slippery, the Holidays, etc), I may just keep running well into the New Year too!

I'll conclude by stating that streaking is not for everyone. Honestly, it's totally arbitrary and kinda absurd. The risks of injury and illness (not to mention relationship issues) are no greater than when pushing the limits of the body (and mind) in some stubborn attempt to avoid a zero in your training log. That said, streaking can be a powerful motivational tool to keep you active every day, and often, you'll find that if you run 1 mile (the minimum distance most consider to be a run and thus count towards the streak), you can keep it up and easily do 2, 3 (5K) or even 5 (8K) to 10 (16K)! But streaking doesn't have to take place over a set number of days, weeks, months or seasons. Again, it's arbitrary and should really only matter to you! The important thing is to be active in any way you can (and hopefully that you enjoy).

Happy streaking!

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