Sunday, January 15, 2012

Are Running Streaks a Joke?

Are running streaks really an achievement...or are they simply a joke?  Does running one mile per day for multiple days in a row matter? Below was today's run #53 in my current streak. It was 4 miles long on snowy trails. Longest run for the entire week. Not my greatest run or my best running week. But better than logging bunches of zeros.

I suppose it depends on who is doing the streak and how long it lasts. If you are running a minimum of 2 miles per day for 30 years, then you've got a real thing going there! It may be self-centered and egotistical, but it's certainly REAL.  And it's a major achievement. I've been thinking about running streaks lately because my little run streak (currently at 53 days) has become a bit of a joke. This whole week has seen me running easy 2 mile runs. I've not been feeling well and I wanted to put in a "minimal" effort to keep the streak alive. Guess that's fair (my stated minimum run was 1 full mile). It just seems kinda cheesy. Does a 1.6 mile run at 10:30 minute pace really count? Is it real or a just a joke?

I have an answer. It is real. It is an accomplishment. It's not easy and it counts.

Here are some of my personal reasons:

  • Running 2 mile when you are sick is not easy. Much easier to sit and watch TV. It takes some discipline and courage to slap on the shoes and go out for a couple miles... especially when it is 15 degrees, windy, and snowy!
  • My little run streak has motivated others to also streak...or at least run more than they would have otherwise. If the streak helps get me out for a run..and encourages others to do the same, then that is the real deal!
  • Looking back on the last 53 days, I feel a sense of achievement. I feel successful. I feel good. It wasn't easy, but I've gotten out EVERY SINGLE DAY and run. That feeling of accomplishment leads me to believe this is real and not a joke.
  • I've stayed in reasonable shape over the last 7-10 days of this sickness. I'm better off today having run each day then if I had wallowed in my illness and laid on the couch. If I maintained some fitness, it must be somewhat real.
  • Even after 53 days, I still look forward to running tomorrow. Especially since I've weathered illness and bad weather. Tomorrow will be better...partly because I ran today. 

My running streak is pretty darn modest. But it's still a streak. I'm proud of it and hope to keep it going at least 100 days. Friends have joined me and they are doing well too. Not sure what happens after 100 days, but I can wait until March 3 to make that decision. Running streaks can be great motivators. I hope this one takes me into spring and gives me confidence, along with a sense of humility, that will lead to strong and consistent training and racing throughout 2012.

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