What I Learned From A Run Streak

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Low-angle view of athletic female legs in mini shorts jogging on gym treadmill

I’m not a runner. In high school I transferred from regular gym class to the weights class for physical education because in the regular gym class they made us run 1.5 miles once a quarter. Then the weights teacher made us run a mile each week. It was like running karma.

That said, I run. I run because, if I can really get into a zone, it gives my head a break from everything else. I run because it helps to work off nervous energy. I run because it helps me maintain my weight. I run because it helps the flabbier parts of my body stay somewhat toned. And I run because I want to be a good example to my children when it comes to showing them how to live an active lifestyle.

what I learned from a run streak - The Everyday Mom Life



Today when I run I often let my mind drift to old cheerleading routines from high school. Something about it feels very closed circle.

This past November I started a run streak, which is something I’ve done before, and I always end up enjoying. A run streak is essentially a bargain you make with yourself to run at least one mile every day for a set period of time.

A friend of mine had been doing this for more than 600 days. She was really my inspiration to do it again.

Many people go on run streaks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s to help them maintain their weight during the holidays. Each time I’ve done it that’s been my goal. However, I started in early November this time around with the goal of making it to Christmas.

I made it passed Christmas. In fact, when I reached 40 days I decided I would try to make it to 100 days. Then the flu smacked me down, ending my streak at just 44 days.

I was extremely disappointed, but I was also very ill. I ran a mile the first day I was sick, determined to power through. Though, if you’ve had the awful flu this season you know there was no way I would make it.

However, even when my journey on that streak ended, I had learned a lot.

What I Learned From A Run Streak 

what I learned from a run streak - The Everyday Mom Life

It’s not about how fast you go

A lot of people are obsessed with their running time. Honestly, it’s hard not to be. When I started my run streak mile time was around 10:45. I sort of felt like a wannabe runner at that point. Other people I knew, who I actually considered to be real runners, all had mile times under 10 minutes.

However, I learned that sometimes it’s not about how fast you go during a run streak. Sometimes it’s just about doing it. Doing it every day is a challenge but it starts to feel worth it. It might take two weeks to feel worth it but you get there.

Alternate run types for greater impact

In an ideal world, I like to alternate running longer one day with doing a shorter run the next day. For me a short run meant 1.25 miles and a long run meant anything over 2.25. I run on a treadmill in the basement so it helps that I have the ability to control speed with the push of a button versus trying to determine how fast I’m going outside.

On my short runs I would try to push it to go faster. On my long runs I would have to slow down to make them happen. The short runs would help to increase my pace while the long runs would help to increase my endurance. For me they were both equally important and both made me a better runner.

In fact, by the time the flu hit and ended my run streak, I had shaved about 30 seconds off my mile time to 10:15.



Stretch

I’m not the best stretcher. I’m one of those people who like to just go. But, stretching will help to prevent injuries and it will help with sore muscles after your run. Additionally, using a muscle roller will help massage and lengthen/stretch those muscles.

Use braces or tape if you need to

When I started my run streak, I had braces on both knees. My right knee has been a problem since having my daughter and seems to act up every now and then. My left knee has torn cartilage in it thanks to a C-section, breastfeeding and needing to get up to put the baby back in his bed. (I know that doesn’t make sense. Just trust I hurt myself in the dumbest ways.)

I had been wearing both braces for almost a year before I started weaning off of them during the streak. And, when I say “weaning” I mean I totally forgot them and didn’t noticed until the treadmill had already started.

Before I used the braces though, I was running so poorly on my left knee that my leg was compensating by turning my lower leg out to compensate for the injury. You could actually see my foot turned out.

Some people will say that braces impact their stride. That’s totally true. They do. But wouldn’t you rather have it impact your stride and help to heal the injury and/or rebuild the muscles versus exasperating it?

Always convince yourself to do another 30 seconds or another minute

Running is a mind game for me. When I’m tired I tell myself it’s just one mile. It’s just 10ish minutes.

Once I reach the mile I always convince myself to do another minutes and I’ve constantly surprised myself at how that’s helped me continue to go further.

Sometimes, I just do that next minute. Sometimes, I convince myself to do yet another one. Sometimes I get caught up in it and do another five.

That mental game I play with myself has always helped me take my distance just a bit further. If you follow me on Instagram and watch my stories then you will notice that I almost never end at 10, 15, 20 or 30 minutes. I always end at 12, 23, 32 or 36 minutes. It’s because I mess with my mind.

Listen to your body

This is one tip I’m honestly still learning and trying to get better at during my current run streak. Some days, I feel like I can run forever (although those days I almost never have the time to do so), and other days I’m breathing hard after a few minutes.

During the first streak I worked on understanding those energy levels within me so I knew how to prepare mentally. This time around I’m still working to listen to my body and the speed it feels it can go on any given day.



Don’t forget water

If you’re running a lot hydrating properly will help you. I can always tell when I haven’t been drinking enough water versus the days when I have had 50 oz. or more of water.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends replenishing 150 percent of your sweat loss after a run and a study from the University of North Alabama presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting found that run times were reduce by 1 minute on a 10K run when hydrated this way.

Find a support group

This may sound odd but if you have a group of people who are on this journey together it will be much easier for you to stick with it. Similar to people who are in weight loss group, when you have people who push you to get off your bootie each day you’re more likely to stick with it.

 

Make the promise to yourself

It’s easy to give up at any point on a physical fitness journey. God knows there are days that I have wanted to. However, I’ve found that in those moments, I try to remember that I’ve made a promise to myself and a commitment to push myself to do something that not everyone will do. No, I’m not the fastest runner. No, I don’t normally run more than 3 miles per run. But for me that doesn’t matter. For me, what matters is the promise I made to me to try to achieve something for myself. I’m not doing this to impress other people with my skills. I’m doing it for my own health – physical and mental. At the end of the mile, that’s what’s most important anyways.

Remember that you’re only human

You need to do what is healthy for you. When I tried to run with the flu, that was not healthy for me nor would it be for anyone. If you get injured, if you get really sick give yourself permission to let go. I was really upset when I had to stop my first streak because I was sick. However, it was best for my body and overall health. Trying to run the first day, even though I just did a mile, was too much for me. As long as you’re healthy, be superwoman. If your health takes a dive, don’t strap on the shoes until you’re better.

With those learning under my (flip)belt, I have set off and running on a new streak. Today is Day 12 and I’m hoping to go until at least day 50. Fingers crossed I don’t get the flu again. Toes crossed that good running karma sticks with me. Either way, my high school weights teacher would be impressed.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. This is so cool! I am definitely not a runner but I’ve always been jealous of those that are. There are some great tips in here, joining a support group would help motivate in ways that are hard to get on your own. Keep up the good work!

  2. I’m not a runner either, but I can force myself to be for the reasons you stated. Music is the only way I can get through it, but it does clear my head! Thanks for being an inspirational nonrunner! 🙂

  3. I remember I was so good about my workouts, never skipped a day and then the injury I have under my armpit start aching again (I have a chronical disease there). I hated m self for so long because I barely could move, let alone jump or boxe. So I know how heartbreaking it can be when I want to workout but you can’t. I think you did the right thing and listened to your body. Good luck with the new beginning 😉

  4. Such a great post about running! I’ve enjoyed running off and on throughout my life. A few years ago I was running 3 miles a few days a week and felt so strong and healthy. But then I got Lyme disease and was bedridden for months. Needless to say, I got out of my running streak. I do miss that runner’s high and would like to work up to it again. For now I do fast walking, yoga poses and hiit.

    I can relate to when you said, “running is a mind game for me.” Being disciplined with running has helped me set goals for myself in other areas too. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Oh my gosh! I am going to take this challenge. I have wanted to really get into running (not much just a few miles) but it is so hard for me to continue after the first mile. I get bored and let myself give up and it results in me doing different exercises instead so I am excited to use this as a fun way to run.

    I will say I am always having to push myself with just 30 more seconds and it totally works!

  6. This is a really cool idea, and not one I had heard of before, I really like the sound of it though so I might give it a try myself and keep in mind all the wonderful tips you shared!

  7. I’ve never heard of a run streak before, but I love the concept! I used to run cross country in high school and it was great to clear my head.

  8. I am not a runner, but I have been trying to be one a few days a week as a new year resolution. I have found that if I listen to an audiobook I tend to run for a longer amount of time. Great tips, I am going to try to find a group to run with when it gets a little warmer outside.

  9. I love the idea of a running streak. A good for you for sticking to it and doing it. Running through even one day of the flu is brutal.

  10. A lot of great information for runners. I don’t run anymore because of bone spurs and I truly miss it. Good luck to you to making it to day 50 in your run streak!

  11. This is really great advice. I agree that you should go at your own pace and listen to your body. The always push through another 30 seconds or a minute is a great tip! That will get you where you want to be.

  12. I just love this post–and your reference to letting your mind drift to those old cheerleading routines (I can relate!). Running is such a great way to clear your head and “zone out” from the troubles of the day. This is the first time I’ve heard of a run streak, but I like the idea. I think I will challenge myself to a run streak too!

  13. I love this post! I wouldn’t consider myself a runner…yet! I have been walking and increasing my speed more and more each day. Eventually I started running short distances to cut time off my walks and actually ended up running almost 1/2 of my time. I find that I really enjoy it, which I didn’t in my younger years. I’m excited to become a “runner” day by day. 🙂

  14. I especially love your tip to convince yourself to do another minute (or two … or five … ).. I’m not a runner myself but I found that it works with any other type os sport, and soon the perception of what is long and hard changes!

  15. I’ve never really been into running, or any sports in a big way. But I do agree with what you’ve learnt by doing your running, especially about pushing yourself to do just a little more, it is so important and the only way to grow as a person x

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