Last Thursday, I hit a huge milestone in my short running career. 300 consecutive days of running. Yes, running every single day!
It all started last Thanksgiving. I woke up way earlier than one should on a day off to run the inaugural Thanksgiving Day 5K in San Francisco. Later in the day, I was browsing my twitter feed and came across the Runner's World Holiday Run Streak.
Stay fit and motivated during the busy (and calorie-filled) holiday season by pledging to run at least one mile every day, Thanksgiving through New Year's.
At this point last year I had been running regularly for about 6 months, so I thought this would be a great challenge. I finished Thanksgiving day with a 5K PR and a slice of pecan pie. On Friday afternoon, I went for another run - day 2 of my run streak was complete. Things went from good to bad real quick, that night it hit me...the stomach flu. And thus my 2 day running streak came to an end. I thought about dropping the goal, I had good reason, but I wanted the challenge. In just a few short months I had completed 2 half marathons and at this point was craving more. I recovered rather quickly and on November 30th, I made my new goal to run every day until New Year's.
Running every day was harder than I thought, but about 20 days in it started to become part of my regular routine. On "rest" days I would run an easy one-mile at minimal effort. December came to an end after 32 days of running I thought why not round to 40 and then why not go for 50. Then it was why not 2 months. Then 75 days. Then 90 days. And heck, why not 100. Not sure what happened after 100 days, if I made a conscious decision to keep going, but here I am at day 300 (actually 305 now).
I've learned more about myself and my body in 300 days than I ever thought possible. There are very few things in life that I can say I've done every day for so long, aside from the essentials...eat, sleep, poop, etc. Running is a part of me, a part of my life. Running and I are in a committed relationship and it's glorious. I've run when I've been tired, sick, hungry, hot, cold and so much more. I've run out of excuses not to run. I wake up wanting to run, craving it even.
I typically don't boast about my run streak as many people, runners and non-runners alike have mixed opinions. I can't tell you how many times I've heard "isn't that bad for your knees?". Some think I'm overdoing it, others think I'm downright crazy (I might even agree).
Speaking of crazy, have you heard about Mark Covert? In July, Mark ended his 45 year run streak this summer. That's right, 45 years - 16,437 days to be exact. If running every day were so bad for you, this guy wouldn't have taken it so far.
My one year run streakiversary is just 2 short months away. I keep telling myself that I will retire it on November 30th and take a few days to rest before embarking on my first full marathon on December 8th...but the thought of not running for a day is a sad thought. I guess we'll see what really happens when the day comes. 400 days has a nice ring to it!
I encourage everyone to try a streak of some sort. It's a good mental exercise. Start small and then slowly build up the days. Plank every day, run daily for a week, stay away from refined sugars for 10 days (this is soooo hard) or quit drinking soda for a month (also hard). Whatever it is, find something that will have a meaningful outcome. Also, if you choose to run, exercise daily or change your diet, please consult a doctor...I am in no way, shape or form an expert.
To learn more about run streaking, check out United States Running Streak Association.
How often do you run? Have you ever had a run streak?