The Art of a Run Streak
Friend of Run Geek Darren Hall completed a year long Runstreak between October 2013 – October 2014, clocking up over 2500 miles in the process, culminating in the Yorkshire Marathon where he got a PB. With our October #RunEveryDay challenge coming up, we asked him to share his thoughts on how to complete a successful run streak:-
I really enjoyed the challenge it presented especially once I had overcome the initial, “Oh no I've got to run every bloody day” into thinking “Yeah I get to run every bloody day” and my mindset shifted from am I going out for a run todaty to when I am going out for a run today. The running just became a natural habit to me that, in the main, was easy to continue with.
The whole event was a big education for me both mentally and physically and I learnt a lot about myself along the way. Here are just a few of the things my year threw at me......
- Other than having to run on consecutive days then you get to set all the rules. A Runstreak can be whatever you want it to be and totally personal for you. It could be a month, 50, 100 or more days at whatever daily minimum distance. I decided at the outset on a year and stop but other people I know just go with the flow. They just run and run and keep on running!
- Mix it up and be different. Run different routes, run with different people, run in different places, run at different times, run on different surfaces (a year of just road running would have hammered my legs into submission). Just be different. The last thing you want to feel is that the whole thing is a big monotonous chore. Rule Number One....Keep It Fun
- Don't pressure yourself. Take it easy when have too. Don't push it all of the time. Ease back on the pace and minimum distance on days when you need to, make these your active recovery days.
- Listen to your body. I was quite lucky and had no major injuries during the year. Of course I got the odd niggle along the way, ran on days that normally I wouldn't have and took the odd extra painkiller to get me out on occasion but nothing too drastic. To be honest I found running through it actually helped a lot of the time but equally I wasn't chasing an entry in the Guinness Book of Records or trying to become the next Forrest Gump, so if you need to stop, stop. Never continue against medical advice or where you are likely to do some long term damage. Stop, rest, fully recover and you can always start another streak another time.
- It's not just about the running. During a Runstreak all the usual between run activities are just as important stretches, rolling, conditioning, core work, massages, whatever you need to do. This will give you the best chance of staying in the best shape & hopefully injury free over the long haul
- Flagging a bit or in need of a little Runstreak boost, just search #runstreak or #runeveryday on Twitter. It is amazing what others are upto all over the world. There are some truly inspirational people out there, all on their own personal journeys with their own personal stories to tell. I found this, along with the support of my closet family & friends, who I couldn't have completed it without, tremendously uplifting during my challenge. As a runner you are never alone and there is a great big Runstreak family out there.
- Schedule smartly. If you are starting to feel the strain or indeed just need to fit a run in around “normal life” then try the early one day / late the next strategy. This could give you as much as 30 hours between the runs which can be very valuable time.
- Enjoy the bonus calorie credits running every day brings. I know I did, sometimes a little too much but again knowing I was on the Runstreak meant I never felt guilty or too worried about the odd lapse or three. My plates did become a little larger and my glasses a little fuller but to me it was all just valuable fuel. My excuse and I am sticking to it. All streak & no play would make Darren a dull boy!
So if you are thinking about doing or indeed about to start a Run streak then I wish you all the luck in the world. You'll love it !
And me, would I do it all again? Hell yeah. Just watch this space....