Late this past September, shortly after my birthday I was online late at night and came across something I had never previously considered doing… streaking.
Now I know the first thought that comes to mind – and this wasn’t about taking off my clothes and running across a football field trying to outrun security.
I had come across a Facebook page for a group, Streak Runners International (https://www.facebook.com/groups/95577453452/). I was instantly intrigued that there were people posting that they had just completed 1 year, 5 years, 20 years and even 50+ years having run a minimum of 1 mile per day.
I was interested. I’ve only been a “runner” for a little over a year now, but like many, I was hooked after signing up for my first 5k in September 2014. I’d managed to have completed several 5ks, a handful of longer races and even 4 half marathons at that point, but this streak thing got my attention.
According to the United States Running Streak Association and Streak Runners International (http://www.runeveryday.com/) “The official definition of a running streak, as adopted by the Streak Runners International, Inc., and United States Running Streak Association, Inc., is to run at least one mile (1.61 kilometers) within each calendar day. Running may occur on either the roads, a track, over hill and dale, or on a treadmill.”
Seemed easy enough I thought, and I wanted in. So, on October 4, 2015 I began my attempt to gain entry into this “club,” needing to complete a minimum of 365 consecutive days running 1 mile or more per day. Yesterday was day 125.
The past 125 days have taught me many things, the first of which being that maintaining a streak is not as easy as it seems. I ran on Thanksgiving, I ran on Christmas, New Years. I ran on days I felt like running and days that I dreaded it. I ran when I felt great and days I was under the weather. Like Forrest Gump said, “I just kept going”
Streaking may not be for everyone, and there are plenty of arguments to be made that you need your rest days during training. I’ve been using the 1 mile minimum as my rest days and am finally starting to see results.
I completed my 5th Half Marathon on January 9, 2016. I had run this event last year and posted a respectable time of 2 hours and 30 minutes. The same race this year and I PR’d at 2 hours and 15 minutes, shaving 13 minutes off my best ever Half Marathon finish.
I also have seen some health benefits as a result of my streak. Having not changed any eating habits (I still get a dozen wings every Monday night), I have dropped over 21 pounds since the streak started back in October.
And last night, Day 125 of my streak I decided to “push myself” a little harder than usual.
I normally run most of my indoor treadmill runs between an 11-12 min per mile pace, that “best ever” half marathon equated to a 10:04 min per mile pace, and my fastest 5k pace ever was 9:05 min per mile.
So wanting to see exactly what logging all of these miles and consecutive days of running could provide, I turned up the treadmill. I remained in control and didn’t over exert myself but managed to finish the fastest mile of my life in just 8 mins and 18 seconds.
It may not be for everyone, and it certainly isn’t “easy,” but if you’re looking for something to stimulate your mind (and body), streaking may be something to consider. And who knows, with a year or two of running a mile or more per day, you might just be able to outrun those security guards at the local football game.