As you may or may not know, I recently reached 1,600 days on my running streak, which means that I have run at least one mile every day since late-November 2017.
Over the last 4+ years, I have been lucky enough to talk to many great runners and people on Instagram. This includes runners that have active running streaks as well as runners that have done running streaks in the past.
So, a few days ago I asked the other streak runners that I know what they have found to be the best and worst parts of a running streak.
The good (consistency, sense of achievement, realizing what you are capable of) were all things that I’ve experienced during my streak and maybe a good topic for a future post.
But, for purposes of this post, I want to focus on the not-so-good parts of the streak. It seems like these are the things that aren’t talked about as much when it comes to running or specifically running streaks.
Here are some examples of downsides to a running streak that some of the other streak runners (and I) have experienced:
Sounding A Little Crazy
I think that everyone that does a streak like this has a reason for doing it. Of course this reason varies from runner to runner.
Some do it to raise awareness for a charitable cause. Some do it for consistency. Some started it during Covid quarantine or lockdown and decided to keep it going.
Whatever the reason, when you are talking to a non-runner they sometimes mention that they think that you are at least a little crazy. I’m not sure if this is meant to be a compliment or not – we’d have to ask the people who say that.
I felt the most at the beginning of my streak. But as time went on, you kind of get used to sounding or being perceived as a little crazy and just keep running. I’ve learned to take this as a compliment in a weird way.
Running through injury
Aches, pains and different levels of soreness are pretty common during a running streak.
Every once in a while, something that feels more serious might come up. However, just because it feels more serious, doesn’t mean that you can’t keep your running streak going.
I’m always surprised (or maybe I shouldn’t be) at the number of times I’ve seen people tell someone to end their streak or to take a rest day when they don’t even know what the injury is or isn’t. To me, it’s usually a matter of pain management/tolerance and taking a sensible approach.
That being said though, if you think that you are seriously injured, then definitely go to the doctor and get it looked at.
I attribute most of my aches and pains to cumulative fatigue. Over time the fatigue levels tend to build up and make everything a little bit tougher. This is normally a time when it’s a good idea to dial it back a little bit for a few days or longer if necessary. This is an area where I’ve struggled some in the last year or so when I have increased my mileage or made a major change to my training plan.
Getting a run in on a busy day
Every one has different schedules. So this one can be tough to really give an opinion on because a busy day for me might not be nearly as busy for someone else or vice versa. No matter what your schedule is though, you will likely have days where it’s tough to find a time to run.
I think that once you get into a solid routine and plan ahead, there are less and less days where this might be a problem. I’ve woken up at 4am multiple times to get my run in before traveling somewhere that day. I’ve run during my lunch hour. I’ve run at all different times.
The more you plan ahead, the better off you will be.
Keeping it going after a long run the day before
The day after a long run or a race. These can be some of the toughest days to keep the streak alive.
On top of the sore muscles, you might also be mentally exhausted if it was a goal race or just a tough race in general. The combination of the two can make it even tougher to get a run in.
I’ve tried to make these days easier by keeping the run very light and maybe reflecting on the race from the day before. Also, when I have still been in the city where my race was, I have usually enjoyed a short run on parts of the race course.
Most of the time the day after a long run or race will be a recovery day, so just treat like that and take it really easy.
Stress of keeping it alive
In a lot of ways, all of the above adds to the stress of keeping a running streak alive.
Every now and again, I’ll have a day or a few days where it quickly crosses my mind – what would happen if I ended the streak?
I guess the truth is that nothing would happen. I would have one less thing to talk about, which might make some of you happy!
I still have no plans of ending my streak and I’m not sure I want to think about any potential reasons for me to end it or what the time after that might look like.
Instead, for now, I will just remain happy and grateful that most of the experiences I have had during my running streak are positive ones.
Have you ever done or wanted to start a running streak? Do you think that streak runners are actually crazy? Let us know in the comments!