Should You Participate in a Running Streak?
So you are considering participating in a running streak. Running streaks can be a fun goal to set for yourself and they are especially great because YOU can determine your own personal running streak. A running streak is defined as running at least 1 mile everyday. However, you can customize this goal. You can do a running streak for a certain amount of days or indefinitely. You can increase the mileage to run more than the 1 mile per day minimum. You can run every day in a certain (or different) location, or run everyday with a group or friend. It is totally up to you! But are running streaks for everyone?
Probably the most obvious pro is that running streaks give you a goal to work toward and help keep you stay focused and accountable, especially when you recruit friends and family to participate in them with you. If you’re new to running, or are a seasoned veteran who has “hit a wall” with your training and need to shake things up, running streaks can help you get motivated. And unlike a definitive goal such as a race, running streaks can be modified. So if you find that you simply can’t attain the particular streak you initially set out to accomplish, you can always change it. And once you achieve that goal, you can immediately set another one for yourself so that you never get bored.
Running streaks are also a great way for getting you in shape by developing the habit of consistent exercise. And if you think running just 1 mile a day has no benefits, think again. A study showed that running just 5 to 10 minutes a day can reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality as well as as other causes of mortality. Regular cardio exercise is also a great way to burn calories if you are looking to shed some weight. By participating in a running streak, you might even start to see an improvement in your overall physique, a difference in how your clothes fit, a lower number on the scale, and improved cardiovascular vital signs at the doctor’s office.
Running streaks can be especially helpful in getting you to keep active during super busy times of life, or during holiday seasons when the feasting and fun are at an all time high. They can even give you motivation to get up and go for a run while on vacation – which might just turn out to be some of your most scenic and favorite running to date. When life is overly stressful, having the accountability of knowing you have made a goal that you want to stick to might be exactly what you didn’t know you needed to help keep your head clear and emotions in check when chaos in other areas of life ensue. Likewise, sticking with your running streak during holidays and extravagant party seasons can help burn off some of those excess calories and make it that much easier to get into shape and make a few smarter choices again once the festivities start to die down. Running streaks also give you an excellent excuse to find some alone time when you have spent all week with that crazy step-uncle who is driving you nuts!
The biggest downside to running streaks is that runners may ignore what could be a serious injury or problem because they are so set on making their goal. Us runners tend to be of the Type-A personality, and that can be really beneficial to our running for many reasons. We make goals and stick to them. The problem arises is when we stick to those goals, even if that means risking an injury. It could start out as a minor ache or pain and you think is fine to run on, especially because you have this streak to complete. But then the pain starts to worsen, but you keep running. Before you know it, that little nagging pain in your foot has become a full blown stress fracture and you’re forced to take eight weeks off completely. If you start a running streak, but get hurt or think you are getting injured, be smart. The chance to complete the streak will always be there, but seriously injuring yourself could potentially turn into long term issue to deal with if you’re not proactive about recovery.
Also, if you have a history with exercise addiction, a clinical eating disorder, or just an addictive personality in general, running streaks could pose some real harm. There are times in life when you NEED to stop running, rest, and heal. This could be in the weeks after running a marathon, for postpartum women, or individuals who are trying to restore their weight after a complicated eating disorder or those who need to heal a bad relationship with exercise. Making yourself feel like you HAVE to achieve a specific goal or running streak could really deter your mental or physical recovery and overall well being.
Running is wonderful, and we all know how it can benefit anxiety, depression, and overall mood. Know your body, know yourself, and if you are unsure if a running streak is what your health (mental or physical) needs right now, don’t be afraid to discuss it with a doctor.
- To Streak Or Not To Streak (That’s A Real Question), Women's Running Blog Post, Nov 25, 2015 ,
- Running on Empty, Runner's World Blog Post, Jan 26, 2012 ,
- Leisure-Time Running Reduces All-Cause and Cardiovascular Mortality Risk, Website, Aug 01, 2014 ,