There are dozens of running hashtags out there. From the simple #running to the very specific #BQchat (for those Boston Marathon qualifiers and dreamers), there’s a hashtag out there for every kind of runner.
One of my personal favorites is #RunStreak. When I discovered it, I thought it was for crazy people. After all, the chats and posts were all about how many days (or months or years!) in a row people were running without rest days.
It was crazy talk.
But when I finally gave it a shot, it was one of the most transformational experiences of my running career.
What is #RunStreak?
Put simply, it’s running a minimal distance every single day. You can say you’re going to run a mile or a 5k or a 10k every single day for a specific (or indeterminate) amount of time.
Then...you run that distance every single day for as long as you feel like. (And optionally, post about it on social media using the hashtag #RunStreak!)
Okay, but WHY do a #RunStreak?
This is the real kicker--it’s different for everyone.
For me, I did it because I needed discipline. My first streak was 7 days, and then I followed it up with a 60-day streak. I was recovering from an injury following a half-marathon and needed something to get me on my feet again. I was also getting depressed and surly. I felt bad most of the time, and I knew a lot of that was from not running.
Since I tend to feel better the more often I run, I thought I just needed to run more often. I wasn’t up to doing any kind of full training plan yet, but I figured that I could realistically run a mile every day without re-injuring myself. And, most importantly, doing so would only take maybe 15 minutes out of my day.
I spent more time than that reading about other people’s streaks.
It was hard, and by the end of that first 7-day streak, I was hooked. I felt better. My mood improved. I was happier. My problems weren’t solved, but I had 15 minutes every day that I could look forward to. At that point, that was enough for me.
Not only did it make me emotionally stronger, but I saw myself physically improve. Because you’re running more, you can eventually start adding distance. So if you’re looking at it from a training perspective, its a good way to get an easy boost early on in your regimen.
Sounds Great! How Do I Start My Own Streak?
Just start running! And then...do it again!
Seriously, if you want to do your own #RunStreak, start small and be realistic. The most important thing you can do is set yourself up for success. If you think you can run a mile every day for 7 days, do it. If you think it’s half a mile for 4 days, do that.
Just make it a priority in your life to get that done. If you have to run before work or school, do it. If you have a bad day, get your shoes on and make the end of the day better than the beginning. If you dread it, run anyway. The most important lesson you can learn from running a streak is how to be consistent.
If you don’t have a track or treadmill, or if the weather is bad? Run circles around your kitchen! Do sprints back and forth in your hallway! Just don’t let yourself have an excuse to stop running.
Because there’s always an excuse. There’s always something else you could be doing instead of running. But the whole point of #RunStreak is to beat those excuses and instill yourself with a little more discipline.
Just keep in mind, the first few days will be difficult, especially if you’re used to taking regular rest days. It will be hard. It will be a test of your will to lace up after a long commute or a hard work day, or just when the weather outside is dreadful.
But keep going. If you set a reasonable goal, by the time you get to the end of it, you will be able to stop your streak, but you probably won’t want to. You’ll have pushed through the hardest part, will be starting to see real benefits, and will want to keep it going.B.J. is a certified personal trainer from the American Fitness Institute and holds a Master’s degree in English. He is currently training for his first marathon. He’s also a geek who has lost 155 pounds. He wants to teach other geeks and nerds how to live healthy, fitness-oriented lives. You can find more of his work on his blog Geek Fitness.
Main Photo Credit: Martin Novak/Shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: lzf/Shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: Jacek Chabraszewski/Shutterstock.com