Let’s go streaking!
No, not the kind where you run through your neighborhood without clothes on after one too many. I’m talking about the one where you run every single day for a set number of days. (Never heard of it? Learn more at runeveryday.com.)
Running streaks are very popular around this time of year, as people tend to be focused on developing healthy new habits. I personally started one the day after Christmas last year and kept my streak going all the way through June, without missing a day of running at least 30 minutes. My goal was to continue through the whole year, but unfortunately, I was derailed by some G.I. issues that required antibiotics in early July. Thankfully, after a week of rest, I was back at it, and I ended up churning out six short, easy runs every week for the rest of the year.
I realize it’s not for everyone, but if you're looking for a challenge that requires you to do something you love on a daily basis, it might be time to start streaking. The first step to success is to manage your expectations and set up smart, realistic parameters for yourself. For example, you could commit to running for 30 days straight, with the minimum requirement of completing just one mile at any pace.
Or you could start with a much shorter and simpler mission, like running every day for just one week. Or you could go all-out and plan a streak that stretches for an entire 16-week marathon build-up. When I coach marathoners, I almost always give them one day off from running per week, but that could simply—and safely—morph into an easy, 15-minute recovery run in order to maintain your streak.
Regardless of how long (or fast or far) your running streak is supposed to be, you will inevitably be faced with good days and bad days, great weather and poor weather, long miles on the road and even longer miles on the treadmill. The goal is to tough it out during those challenging times and GET THE JOB DONE—NO MATTER WHAT!
Still need convincing? What if I do it with you? Just a few weeks ago, I decided to start another running streak, leading up to the Abbott World Marathon Majors Global Marathon this spring. That's right— along with thousands of other runners around the world, I’ll be doing a virtual 26.2-mile race… and I hope you'll join us! Stay tuned to the World Marathon Majors social channels and sign up to the Global Run Club so you’ve got all the information and support tools you will need to go all the way with me.
This is from my book, Keep Running: How to Run Injury-Free with Power and Joy for Decades. Most musculoskeletal injuries are caused by not consuming enough electrolytes or drinking enough water. Consuming too much caffeine can also make you dehydrated and put you at risk of cramps and strains that are far too typical in training.
I advise drinking a 6-10 oz (177-295 ml) glass of water right after you roll out of bed in the morning. Before you do anything else, pound a big glass of water, and then make your tea or coffee and breakfast. Right when you wake up is the time when you’re the most dehydrated, so you can maximize the opportunity to open the flood gates of water into your running tissues.
This simple act of drinking also promotes peristalsis (the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles in your intestines), which as runners, let’s be honest, is always on our minds before we go out for a training run or racing a marathon early in the morning.
May the wind forever be at your back!