Streak-Running Experience

Every runner knows that variations are important; running always the same route at the same pace is not only boring but also ineffective from a physiological point of view. I am neither a fast nor an ambitious runner - I usually run distances around 10 km (sometimes less, sometimes more) and I do three runs per week. I prefer to run a mixture of new routes and well-known routes. I enjoy exploring unknown areas by running through them and I am used to travel with running shoes in my luggage.

During spring this year, I developed the feeling that I need some kind of change and I decided that it is time to try something new. On June 1st, I decided to start a running streak. The definition of streak running is simple: run at least one mile within each calendar day and count the number of days that you manage to do this. Some people apparently manage to do this for more than 40 years - this is amazing, but of course it takes 40 years to get there. I did not have any ambition to do streak running for such a long time; I just wanted to try it out and see how it feels. Since I live in a metric world, I decided to run at least 2 km instead of 1 mile every calendar day (not a big difference and, of course, one can run longer distances anytime).

I finished my running streak today after two months (61 days). I decided already after about 45 days that I will stop my running streak after completing two months. Obviously, streak running is not my favorite running mode. So what happened? Well, at the beginning I felt a bit tired without any days of rest. As a compensation, I started to shorten my longer runs and the runs started to become similar in distance. The feeling of being tired went away but I also observed that I lost running strength since my body got used to run shorter distances. The number of kilometers I run per month did not really change, the only change was more smaller runs compared to fewer longer runs. I started to vary the pace but this did not compensate for the lack of longer runs.

I noticed that the overall time I have spent on running activities per week increased slightly. Before streak running, I have been spending about 3 hours outside a week and perhaps another 90 minutes for cooling down and taking showers, a total of 4.5 hours a week. With streak running, I did spend about the same time outside but the time needed for preparation and taking showers increased to roughly 2 hours, a difference of half an hour per week. Probably not a big deal but I noticed it, perhaps since running every day also requires more coordination with family life. And after a longer run, I often have the feeling of having achieved something. I usually did not get this feeling after the shorter runs; it was more like marking off a routine activity on my daily agenda but nothing that made me feel good. All this made me to conclude after some 45 days that streak running is not really my thing. But I wanted to complete at least two months to be sure, which I did today.

Yes, streak running also leads to some interesting situations. First, you have to take running shoes on almost every trip. For me, this is not something unusual although I often do not do this on short trips with say only one sleepover. During the two months, I did run in London (UK), in Ghent (B), in Hengelo (NL), and in Prague (CZ). I did run in Münster as well because a train connection did not work out and I figured out that I could not reach home before midnight and hence I had to run in Münster while waiting for the next connection home. On several days, I ended up running close to midnight since I am not really an early morning runner. This is OK during the summer time but scheduling the runs likely gets tricky during winter time. Perhaps streak running is easier for early morning runners; they can bring something home from a bakery and this most likely influences family acceptance of this running mode positively as well. During the IETF meeting in Prague, I also ended up running close to midnight (when it was still close to 30 degree Celsius on some days). After returning from Prague, I got a cold and I continued to run my minimum distance very slowly. I can’t say that I did enjoy doing these runs while feeling pretty weak. But all of this is over now and I am happy to have finished my two months of streak running. And I am looking forward now to a day without running and my next 10km run in two days.