What I Learned from my 99 Day Running Streak
This summer, I took on a running streak challenge – based on the Runner’s World Summer Streak Challenge (running at least 1 mile every day from Memorial Day to Independence Day). I chose to extend my challenge to Labor Day – running at least 1 mile for 99 consecutive days.
What at first seemed like a simple challenge soon turned into “what did I get myself into?” I needed to work in a run every single day on top of the swimming, biking and strength training I do during the triathlon season. I made a rule for myself – on any typical non-running day, I’d take advantage of the 1 mile run.
You’d think that a 1 mile run isn’t even worth effort of lacing up, that’s what I thought too. But, I quickly learned the benefits of those thirty-six 1 mile runs.
I’ve been working on my running form and my head usually swims with all the ‘correct’ posture and alignment techniques. I strategically ran several 1 mile runs at a 10 min/mile pace so I could scan through a list of 10 head-to-toe items – focusing on each for 1 minute:
- Head: tall and aligned
- Eyes: focused on the horizon
- Shoulders: like headlights pointing forward
- Elbows: bent at 90 degrees
- Wrists/Hands: soft fists with thumbs up
- Glutes: engage ‘em
- Knees: bent and soft while landing
- Feet: land under hips with midfoot strike
- Lean: from the ankles
- Cadence: quick and soft 180 spm
Ruby, my four-legged running partner turned 9-years-old this summer. As she ages, it’s time for her to replace daily runs with long walks around the neighborhood. My 1-mile runs have delayed the onset of her walking career and let me continue short little runs with her by my side.
Most of my training runs have a purpose and a goal, which is great, but not always “fun”. It was cool to get to treat a few of these 1 mile runs as a way to play and experiment with running. I tried out new shoes, ran 3 loops around my city block, did a run completely barefoot and ran in my pajamas when I was already heading to bed and realized I still needed to get in a run!
Running Streak by The Numbers:
I’m motivated by a good challenge – but also by the numbers they produce! I had to be careful that all this extra running didn’t add too much extra mileage during the race season (I typically run around 20 miles/week). Comparing my stats to 2012 (my last healthy season) I was surprised by how similar, yet different, my stats were:
Total mileage: 245 miles/99 runs (2012: 250 miles/59 runs)
Longest Run: 7 miles (2012: 13 miles)
Shortest Run: 1 mile (2012: 3 miles)
Average Run: 2.5 miles (2012: 4.25 miles)
Time of Earliest Run: 5:08 AM (2012: 6:30 AM)
Time of Latest Run: 10:37 PM – affectionately known as the pajama run (2012: 6:40 PM)
While my overall mileage was about the same, the extra runs certainly meant lower average distance. Not running a 1/2 marathon this summer let me keep my runs shorter while adding 40 additional runs. Most summers I find myself swim/bike/running all around town, so it was fun to focus so much (at least in frequency) on my love of running.
It’s Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer and the official end of my running streak. After 99 days, am I ready to end the streak? It’s been such a part of my summer and I’m actually sad to see it end! I figure if I’ve got 99 days under my belt – a one year running streak challenge might not be so bad – how hard can adding 266 more days really be?