Looking for something that will make your running more exciting? Something that will add a little thrill? Get you out of a rut?
You should try streaking. No, not that kind.
This type of streaking won’t get you arrested for public indecency, though some people still might think you’re crazy for doing it. We’re talking about a run streak.
What’s a run streak?
A run streak means running a set distance (usually at least a mile) on consecutive days for a set amount of time.
How long do Run Streaks last?
The most common run streak begins with a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and ends on New Year’s Day. It was popularized by Runner’s World, specifically to encourage motivation over the busy (and cold) holiday season. (After all, between social obligations, heavy meals, and festive drinks, it can be hard to prioritize getting out for a run.)
However, you can do a run streak whenever you want, and you can keep it going as long as you like—even if that’s for years. The longest-known run streak (52 years and 39 days) ended in 2017, though Robert “Raven” Kraft is just a handful of years away from breaking that record with his daily eight-mile runs.
But whether it’s for weeks, months, or years, there are definite benefits to going on a run streak.
Why do a run streak?
Going on a run streak can help you…
Build consistency. Committing to running consistently can help you make running a habit if you’re a new runner or if you’re a seasoned runner who’s fallen off the running wagon. A run streak helps develop mental resilience and discipline, especially when it means you have to run in poor conditions or during stressful periods.
Create variety. If you’ve been running consistently for years, it’s easy to fall into a rut. After all, many runners have their routine—a certain number of days a week, hard workouts on this day, easy runs on that day, long run on the weekends. When you run every day, you’ll shake up your running schedule by trying new workouts and new routes out of necessity.
Get motivated. The challenge of maintaining a run streak can be the perfect motivation to get out the door and run, even on days when you might not feel like it. That’s because you’re basically gamifying your fitness routine, and there have been multiple studies on the psychology of gamification and how it increases motivation. And if that’s not enough, a run streak can be a great way to create accountability if you make a public commitment to it, or find a streaking partner.
Improve fitness. Running consistently is an obvious way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and endurance. If you’re looking for a way to increase your weekly mileage, committing to a run streak is a no-brainer. And since you’ll be forced to take at least some of your runs short and slow, streaking can actually help with injury prevention while building volume.
Is a run streak for everyone?
While the benefits of doing a run streak are clear, it’s not a good choice for every runner. Running every day takes a toll on the body and can increase the risk of overuse injuries, especially if you’re not getting adequate rest and recovery. If you’re embarking on a run streak, pay close attention to any signs of fatigue, pain, or injury, and remember that your longevity as a runner should always take priority. If you’re in doubt, consult with a healthcare professional or a running coach to make sure that a run streak complements your fitness goals.
So—will you be adding a run streak to your training plan this year? Let us know in the comments!