Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tips to Keep Your Run Streak on Course

Day 30. I have run at least one mile a day for 30 days in a row. And I'll be out there again tomorrow.

Before this, I've never run more than 6 days in a row, and that wasn't all that long ago.

If you've known me for a while, you know I've had more stress fractures than I can keep track of, which scared me into a routine that only allowed for a few days of running each week. Thankfully it's been quite a few years now since my last and I've been feeling pretty good about how things are going (knock on wood), so earlier this fall I decided to test it out and run 6 days a week, or close to it.

Since that was going well, when the Runner's World holiday run streak popped up in my Twitter feed, I decided to give it a try. Adding just one more mile a week didn't seem like such a big deal and my schedule is a bit more flexible than usual right now, so this was the time to do it.

Since today is day 30, you can probably guess it's going pretty well and I'm enjoying the extra day of running. Running is my time to clear my head and soak in some energy from the warm Colorado sun and crisp air.

For me, I think what's helped is rolling out and stretching religiously to keep my legs feeling good, switching up my routes often and running with a friend.

Being a first-timer and looking ahead to holiday travel, I know I have to be strategic and plan ahead to make this work. And since we're half-way through #RWRunStreak, I decided to ask a few friends who are much more experienced at this than I am, for their tips and why they run every day.

Here's what they had to say:

After giving birth to her first baby in July, Lindsay is taking on this run streak as a way to get back into running and take care of herself. Lucky for me, we've been able to log some miles together these past few weeks, making the miles go by a bit faster. As a wife, new mom, and NFL reporter who spends many weekends on the road, fitting in a run each day can be tricky.
Mix it up. Running every day can get really stale if you travel the same route from your house every day. There is something nice about knowing that one-mile loop from your house when you need to squeeze it in early morning or at lunch or after work, but if you can, get out and explore. Try a new park or a new trail, it will help make the streak seem less monotonous. During my first two streaks, I ran through the NFL season/postseason. That included lots of travel, so I got to run in so many different cities from coast to coast (and the airport in Amsterdam!). Lots of business travelers might look for interesting restaurants or bars to visit while away from home. I look for cool running spots.
Listen to your body. Even if you have a good base, running every day, even if some days is just a mile, is a shock to your system. Expect to feel tired, heavy legs. Expect to feel some weird twinges and soreness and maybe some pain. But really pay attention to notice if something is just sore or if something is an injury coming on. Don't feel bad about dropping down to a mile for a couple of days to see if the pain goes away. I did not do this during my longest streak and kept running as pain got worse in my foot. I ended up with plantar and had to take some time completely off running. I kept going too long just for the sake of the streak and probably made it worse in the process.
Engage on social media. Find other streakers on Instagram or Twitter and use them as motivation. There will be days when you don't want to get out there, but if you check the #RWRunStreak hashtag and you see other people who have already run in the snow or the dark or pushing the double stroller, you'll be more likely to get out there and join them.  
Read more about Lindsay's run streak adventures in this Zelle article by our teammate Anica.

Lisa and Jenna in NYC

Jenna, an off-Broadway theater exec from Brooklyn, and the sweetest bad ass I know, is approaching the 3 year anniversary of her run streak. What started as a challenge to see if she could stick with something, has become her daily check-in with her body and her time to meditate. She knows that even on a tough day when it feels like nothing has gone right and she hasn't accomplished a thing, she has finished that mile. It's her ongoing commitment to have running in her life, even when life and other priorities take the spotlight.
Do it in the morning. Do. It. In. The. Morning. You never know where your day will take you, and even if you are fairly certain you will have time for a longer run later, get that single mile in during morning hours. You don't want to be painfully jogging 1600 meters at 11:30pm after Vietnamese dumplings and cocktails (been there...). The easiest way to do this is to make a mile route from your home and have that be your go-to that you can reliably run sans watch and GPS.
On days when you're only running the minimum mile, give yourself permission to fixate on something that's bothering you. Be it a work project or a social conflict or any other kind of stressor, allow yourself to give in to the negative thoughts just while you're running, and tell yourself you have to snap out of it at the end of the mile. More often than not, you'll end up either finding a solution to the problem, making a productive plan, or just venting out the negative energy. A single mile can be a productive time!
Mindy - 4 year run streaker
Photo Credit: Mindy Morain
A lawyer, mom to a most adorable Corgi, and 7-time marathoner, Mindy is on day 1,483 of her streak. Yes, you read that right. She's been going strong for more than 4 years. When you're celebrating New Years Eve, please toast to Mindy and her 1,500 day of running. I'm in complete awe of her dedication and commitment. Through a demanding work schedule, travel and training for races, she's become addicted to the streak.
Why she runs each day: "It's a guaranteed 10 minute daily self check-in"
What's most difficult about the streak: "Getting started, the longer I go, the easier it is"
Top tip: "Always run early
So there you have it. Tips from three great women and pros when it comes to run streaks, who I'm thankful to call my friends and teammates. Now, lace up your shoes and go for a run! (Just a mile is all it takes!)

Have your own favorite tips or reasons for run streaking? Share them with us!

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