Why I Don’t Streak

Matt Orlando
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Matt Orlando

Matt is a 30 something year old runner/father/husband from New Jersey. Along with writing for TheRunnerDad.com, he occasionally writes articles for other blogs and websites. He is an IT guy by day, with a passion for running, traveling, and photography.
Matt Orlando
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Not too long ago I read the story of Mark Convert, a runner from California who had run every day for the past 45 years. It is an incredible feat, especially when you consider all that can happen over that length of time: bad weather, sickness, injuries, travel, births, deaths. To run each and every day takes a high level of commitment and love for the sport that transcends all things which can derail you along the way. To Mark, I say congratulations and well done. You are an inspiration to runners and non-runners alike.

There have been times in my life where I have attempted run streaks. I think to myself, “Wow, it sure would be great to be able to say I have been running every day for X number of years.” I have run many 5Ks, half marathons, and even a marathon, but to have a run streak under my belt would put me in a league of a select few runners. I could stand tall and wear my accomplishment with pride. I could be one of the few, the proud, the committed. I would be a streaker.

That is pretty much where the story ends. It gets me out the door that first day. It sometimes pushes me through a week. I would have to say, however, that the longest streak of running I have ever had would likely be under two weeks. Suddenly and without warning, the thought of being a streaker no longer matters. The allure of the title quickly fades as other, more immediate feelings fill the void. I am too hungry. I am too tired. My knee hurts. It is too cold. It is too hot. It is raining or too windy. I would rather just sit here and do nothing.

So why don’t I streak? Given the above explanation you would think it is because my weaknesses overtake me and I give in to my inner slacker. While this may partly be true, it is ultimately a much more profound reason: I want to enjoy running.

I love running. It is my escapism. It refreshes me. It challenges me. It helps me push my limits to see how far I can go. It gives me a high that lasts for hours. It gives me a sense of self, which sometimes gets lost as a parent. It is the one thing in my life that has brought me consistent joy since I began running over 18 years ago.

However, a commitment to becoming a streaker means that I have to run. No matter what else is going on in my life, no matter how much I have on my plate, I would have to lace up each and every day to squeeze in a run. When that happens, running is no longer an escapism. Running, at that point, has become a responsibility. It becomes one more thing I have to add to my list of things I have to do. Once that happens, once it becomes something I have to do, it becomes something I no longer enjoy doing. It may even become something I no longer want to do at all.

While streaking works for an elite few, it is simply not for me. I enjoy running too much to ruin it through requirement. So streak on, streakers. I will see you out there…but maybe not until tomorrow.

What is the longest running streak you have ever completed? Leave it in the comments below!

 

12 Comments

  1. Paul Starling

    I think my longest streak is like 8 days and would be guessing at it! It has never been important to me. I am impressed by those who can say that they have run everyday for X number of years. When I run more than 3-4 straight days I find myself starting to feel really fatigued. If I would continue I would hate my runs, so I would no longer enjoy the act of running. Therefore, like most I feel the need for rest days so that I can come back refreshed and ready to run again. I think this is one of the most important things for all runners.

    Reply
  2. Cait the Arty Runnerchick

    great post and topic! i think streaking in theory is pretty cool but for the reasons you’ve pointed out, preserving the passion, and also that it’s not conducive to really training…i tend to think it’s not a good thing. it just feeds into the ‘competitive just for the sake of being competitive’ with numbers, similar to running XX miles just to say u did. running through an injury also isn’t smart. 😛

    Reply
  3. Lani (@armytbonegirl)

    I managed a 31-day streak last year as part of the Runners World Holiday run streak challenge. I didn’t quite make it from Thanksgiving to New Years, but I came pretty darn close. Temps below zero when you factor in windchill did me in. It was fun trying, but I was actually kind of happy when I was done. Like you, I want to enjoy running, and I was starting to not enjoy *having* to run.

    Reply
  4. Eddie D

    I totally agree with the point of wanting to “enjoy” running! I feel the same way! Forcing myself to run every day would become a chore!

    Also I don’t think running every day is a good marathon training strategy. Marathon training requires hard days, easy days, and rest day’s! Even if one were to run every day before the race, what about after? When your legs feel like Jello can you force yourself to run still?

    Nope! Not for me!!

    Reply
  5. Coco

    I don’t do streaks because I would likely push through warnings of injury and get injured. You have good reasons too. Running is something I want to do, not something I want to have to do.

    Reply
  6. Paul Owen

    Great blog but I respectfully disagree! In 2012, I streaked all year. 366 days and 2500 miles for the year. I loved it. It took me places to run I wouldn’t have, at times I wouldn’t have, made me realise how many great friends I have got (loads got behind it and came out with me) and no injuries! Along the way, my marathon pb dropped from 3.26 to 3.04, I ran with 5 mates for over 24 hours in a non race and at the end of the year ran all of Hadrians Wall in England, from one coast to the other. No way I would have done that without the streak, which also lead me to a book deal here in England!!! I’m now a bona fide published author which would not have happened if it wasn’t for the streak, as it’s related. Some days were hard, but 90% of the year I enjoyed. I did stop as I set the challenge for one year, did it and moved on.

    Reply
  7. Erica

    My longest streak is 8 days now 🙂 I’m doing the #RWRunStreak for the holidays. It would be pretty cool to continue it for years, but I’ve already struggled a couple of those days simply because I’m not used to it. Plus… All the laundry! I don’t think I want to get used to that part.

    Reply
  8. Paul Cowley

    I agree that streaking carries the weight of obligation. I was talked into the #RWRunStreak this year by a colleague. It’s been a challenge to say the least because of horrible weather here in Alberta over the last two weeks. I have to admit though I took a certain bizarre pride in getting in a mile or so at -36C at 11 p.m. (The only time I could fit it in that day to keep streak alive). One of the advantages I’ve found with streaking is replaces some of my often ill-advised determination to run longer and faster when I do run. I feel more comfortable taking it easy because I know I will be back at it the next day. Enjoyed your post and other comments.

    Reply
  9. mchenryed

    I agree with your sentiments. There has been a few times already while doing the #RWRunStreak where I questioned the sanity of it. I flirt with injury and it does becomes something that I have to do and squeeze in. Suffice to say, over the course of two days I moved all my belongings to a storage locker — talk about being exhausted and yet I still forced myself to do at least 1 mile.

    That being said, though, they do call it a challenge and when this one is over I will rest. Just like marathon training, it is something to test your mettle so to speak. You either do, or you don’t. I haven’t run more than 7 – 10 days consecutively in my entire running career. So why not give it a go and see if I can do about 30 days? Something to tell the grandkids some day.

    Reply
  10. Scott Partenheimer

    I’ve been streaking since November 26, 2013, and only plan on stopping when I’m physically unable to put in a mile. Every single mile has been outdoors. I love streaking, and yes it is something I am proud of but it isn’t really about competitiveness. It really is for the joy of running. Sure there are days when I can’t stand the thought of getting out the door, even for a mile, but for the most part streaking has been great. It forces me to stay in the habit when it would be so easy to let training slide. It encourages me to seek out new trails and terrain to not get bored. I streaked while training for my first ultra, and I’m streaking now while training for the Boston Marathon. You can still do easy days and “rest days,” as long as you’re smart about listening to your body. Anyway, to each his own, right! As always, good blog post and good discussion topic!

    Reply
  11. Derrick Johnson

    Good article. I’m currently on a 170 day runstreak. I do have days when l tired and don’t feel like it, but l take those days easy, and once l start I’m so glad l did, as at the end l have my runners high. It’s not for everyone, but as we are all different, takes kool.

    Reply
  12. Andrew (FitRegularGuy)

    Two other good reasons: 1) Rest is an essential component of improvement. 2) I don’t have enough time in my week to run and strength train on the same day, and I’m not giving up lifting.

    Reply

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