Going on a Running Streak: It’s What the Cool Kids Are Doing
We’ve all heard that it takes 21 days to make something a habit. It can be hard for some to even stay committed to getting in their 30 minutes of exercise for at least five days per week as suggested. Even runners who love lacing up trip up fall off the wagon when everyday roadblocks in life get in the way. We must remember that running is so freeing. It helps us shed the stress of the day. That’s why I went streaking for a month—well, for a running streak.
And even though it was in the hot month of June, who knew it would be so cool?
Streaking With The Cool Kids
Streaking with the Cool Kids is more than just a challenge. It has become a movement.
Officially started by Jen Davis from Foresthill, CA back in June of 2014, #streakingwiththeCOOLKIDS is an annual remote event that encourages people of all ages and fitness levels to get up and get moving. Participants must run, jog or walk at least one mile each day. The idea is to keep a running streak for the entire month of June.
The challenge is for those looking to push themselves and be committed to exercising and running consistently, as well for those who are new to running.
“My reason for this challenge is to hopefully get everyone to become active,” Davis told RunnerClick. “What really excites me is getting that one person off the couch, who has never run a mile in their life to commit to streaking with us for 30 days. That’s my goal. That’s my why. I love supporting these people all the way through the end. It’s fun to see them walk the first mile then eventually by the end of the streak, they are running their mile. That’s a pretty big deal to me.”
Running With The Cool Kid
Davis said she feels honored to be running with even more seasoned runners who have completed the big races like Boston, New York, and Chicago just as much so as the newbies. Especially she calls her self an “average runner.” It’s the later of the people who end up checking back in all year with Davis, telling her they are still streaking, or continue to run often, sign up for races, and how their lives have changed after starting to run.
“They are the ones inspiring everyone out there,” Davis said. “I believe in these people so much. It is possible for all of us, and once I get them to believe that—and to believe in themselves—that’s when I feel a great sense of accomplishment.”
While these runners make the challenge fulfilling for Davis, it is the mom of four who is really the inspirational force. Every day throughout the month of June she posted on the challenge’s group Facebook page with words of encouragement. Each day she could be seen wearing bright color-coordinated running gear, her pack and the best accessory she has—her smile. That combined with her body effortless flying mid-run, she is the poster child for making running look fun.
And she is far from average. She manages to juggle being a mom (with boys who are involved in every sport), a wife, and a job. This boss owns a financial company in part with her husband Shawn. The couple also shares their love for running.
“We made a vow to run together every day until we are too old to run,” she said.
The two started running together for the June 2016 streak, and “are too stubborn to quit.” Davis is currently in her longest streak, coming up just shy of day 800.
Davis revealed that her goal is to run at least 100 miles a month. “I refuse to run less, its always just been my number,” she shared. “I set mileage goals every year. My goal for 2018 is 2000 miles.”
Her track of choice is running on any dirt trail. Like many runners, she started out a road runner until finding her love for the unpredictability of trails while at her son’s cross country practices. She credits running trails to making her a stronger and faster racer.
And believe it or not her racing career started without any training. “I never was a runner, but I decided to sign up for the inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon,” she said while thinking back to her start in 2012. “I knew nothing about running. So, of course, I didn’t train, I just showed up and ran the race.”
But she was hooked. “I had so much fun that I ended up signing up for every race I could.”
Becoming A Cool Kid
Sticking with running consistently can help passionate runners a step closer each day to meet their goals and become stronger and faster themselves. That’s why striving for a running streak is also beneficial.
“People look forward to this streak every year. If I can get a non-running couch potato to actually commit to lacing up and running daily,” Davis said. I feel like I did my job.”
The challenge started small, being something Davis did to motivate herself, family and friends. “I thought, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to run every day for a month and make it a habit,’” she said.
To keep herself accountable, she posted on Instagram every day. It wasn’t long before more and more people asked to join in. “ At that point, I knew I was on to something amazing,” she said.
And when those 30 days were over, people were asking if Davis would be hosting next year.
“I started getting messages asking if they could use the hashtag and asking if they could join the group. I would check the hashtag and realize that the world was catching on,” she said. “That was a pretty cool feeling and I realized that I could do something really positive with all of this.”
She chose June for the streaking month because kids are home from school. During other times of the year, it is also easier for people to be less motivated like during the holiday winter months. “[In June] it seems like everyone is so committed to their goals and training,” she said.
Davis’ #streakingwiththeCOOLKIDS had over 2,700 streakers participate from all over the world.
“I had no idea that running with the Cool Kids would take off like it has,” Davis said. “I started using the hashtag and didn’t realize that the world all wanted to run and be one of the Cool Kids. I mean who doesn’t want to be a cool kid?
To sweetened the deal, participants who kept a running streak (honor system, but with proof via any running tracking app of choice) were entered in to win prizes worth $450. Three winners were selected at random after David answered over 1,100 emails looking at the streaks. Goodies included items from Pro Compression, Orange Mud, and the OolaLife.
It’s What The Cool Kids Are Doing
This runner jumped at the challenge. So what did I learn during my 30-day streak?
Even though I am a running junkie, the streak rejuvenated my love for running. It never felt like something I had to do. It was something I wanted to do. Opposed to training for a big race, it was more freeing and fun to run any distance I wanted—as long as I got at least one in.
I started off strong, but by days 10-12 I was feeling sore. I was a bit shocked since I have run more miles and cross-trained harder, but I guess everyday runs were taking its toll on my muscles. It was time to stretch.
Two weeks in, I felt great about sticking to it but began missing cardio and other workouts. I did want to switch things up, but time constraints meant only one workout a day. So I kept trucking along.
I then ran right into a good groove. I loved that it kept me motivated to run, and I found myself waking up early and heading right to the treadmill—even before having coffee. Other days I couldn’t wait to make it to the park and get my run in. It set the entire day on the right foot for healthy habits.
And when the 30 days ended I felt accomplished with my total of 83.74 miles.
Tips To Keeping The Streak
There were some days I just didn’t want to run. But I laced up and got it done.
Instead of thinking of it as a chore or something that has to get done, change your mentality to be something you get to do. You choose to run.
Make it something you look forward to. Try planning the run into the day just like you do simple every day things like brushing your teeth.
Also, walk when you need to. There were two days where I just didn’t have any steam left in my engine. But I walked that mile. There was also a day I was on vacation where I couldn’t schedule a run but used walking during sightseeing count. When out of the normal routine, be creative and find ways to incorporate a run or workout into the planned activities.
Write it down. Seeing progress on a calendar or the miles add-on on an app does wonder. I loved seeing my mileage increase. Share on social media like the Cool Kids Facebook group for encouragement and accountability.
Thinking about streaking? You don’t need to wait until June 2019. Start now, and going the countless others like David who are still streaking.
“If you run, you’re pretty much one of the Cool Kids,” Davis said.
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