runners

YOUR GUIDE TO RUNNING STREAKS

Use these expert tips to make yours a lasting commitment.

Movement sparks progress. For high performers, this forward momentum is powered by currents in science, technology, and subculture. To celebrate the launch of ASICS GEL-NIMBUS® 21, Furthermore and ASICS have partnered to harness the power of these currents and show you how to channel them into actual results.
 
Part of the appeal of running streaks, which most commonly involve logging at least a mile every day, is that they only require you to decide when you’ll fit in a run and how far you’ll go—not whether you’ll do it at all. There are currently 1,249 runners maintaining a streak of a year or longer who are registered with the United States Running Streak Association, up from 189 runners 10 years ago, with four runners who’ve kept it up for longer than 45 years. 
 
You needn’t streak indefinitely to see benefits. “Periods of consistency are so great for pushing the body to adapt to the frequency and intensity of running,” says David Siik, LA-based senior manager of running for Equinox and creator of Precision Running. 
 
Advanced athletes can benefit as much as those who are newer to the sport. If you’re struggling with motivation—because you’re in between training cycles, for example, or because you got out of your routine over the holidays—a carefully-planned streak can get your body and mind back on track.
 
Setting Your Parameters
 
It’s important to be specific and measurable in your goals, and that can mean setting an end date before you begin: “If you say, ‘I’m going to run every day for as long as I can,’ you could end that after a day,” says Christine Selby, Ph.D., a sports psychologist based in Bangor, Maine. You might want to plan to streak for a month, or during a period that’s otherwise challenging for you, motivation-wise (for example, until daylight saving time begins and it’s light outside after work again).
 
You’ll also want to decide what’s the minimum distance you can do in order for it to “count”—and then to do that every day you otherwise would have rested. So, if you usually run four days per week, you’ll want to do your bare minimum at least three days per week, whether that means a single running mile (the minimum required by the United States Running Streak Association) or a shorter-than-usual distance.
 
Coach Janet Hamilton, Atlanta-based owner of Running Strong, recommends eliminating the obligation to run a mile every single day, even for high-level runners. “I love walking as a form of cross-training because it really does work your hips and core a lot,” she says. “It also takes your ankles through a slightly greater range of motion.” Working in some amount of walking allows runners of all levels to do more quality workouts during their streak. 
 
If you must run every day, she says, make the bare-minimum days as close to rest days as possible: Seek out a flat route, slow way down, or do both by running easy on a treadmill, where you’re not contending with wind resistance.
 
Who Shouldn’t Streak 
 
If you have a history of injury, running every single day risks aggravating those issues, says Hamilton. And, she adds, if you’re targeting a race and hoping to run your fastest, days completely off from running are an essential part of the load-recovery equation.
 
Selby offers another caveat: If you’re the type of person who would feel compelled to keep the streak alive even on days when your body clearly needs rest—such as in the midst of an illness—streaking is unwise, she says.

Streaking Successfully 
 
As with any goal, telling others helps you stay accountable. Share your plans with friends—IRL and online. (FYI the streaking community uses the hashtags #runstreak or #runeveryday.
 
“If you’ve committed to, ‘I’m going to run every day for a month,’ on the days you don’t feel like it, you’ll be more likely to keep the streak going,” says Selby. Another way to stay motivated is to ensure you have gear you’re comfortable in, including a pair of running shoes that can handle all the miles, like the ASICS GEL-NIMBUS® 21.
 
“Do listen to your body to make sure you’re not overdoing it,” underscores Selby. This means putting the streak on pause if, say, your knee starts bothering you, or if you’re in bed with a fever. If you’d like, you can keep track of how many days you have to skip and then tack them on to the end of the planned streak. Taking a break doesn’t mean you’ve failed; it means you’re being smart—and you can get back to work when you’re feeling healthy again.
 
If that does happen, easing back in is also important. “Don’t get yourself painted into a corner where unless your heart rate is above a certain level you can’t count it as exercise,” Hamilton says. “Get out there and enjoy the fresh air.”

The goal is to finish the streak feeling healthy and motivated to continue regular—if not daily—running. “If the run streak felt like, ‘Wow, this is going to be hard for me to do,’ and you accomplish that, it can really boost your confidence,” Selby says.