On some college campuses, students strip down and streak across the quad. There is usually beer involved, and the run is typically fairly short. Today, there is a new type of running streak. Runners dedicated to The Streak pursue a quest to running every day. Yes, every single day, they race up and run.
Many questions come to mind. Why would someone do that? What are the rules to streak running? How do they stay motivated?
Defining The Running Streak
An active running streak, as defined by the recognized streaking running world, is where a person runs at least one mile (or 1.61 kilometers) every day for a year. You can register your streak once you reach one calendar year.
This means no matter what happens, you hit the pavement or treadmill and get the job done. Rain. Snow. Sickness. Health. Vacation. Busy workdays. None of it stops the streak.
Short Term Streakers
Some runners participate in what is called short or specific term streaking. Runner’s World encourages a Turkey to Champagne streak where runners run every day from Thanksgiving to New Years Day. This has a multifaceted rationale.
Most people find themselves overeating through the holidays and also more sedentary. The streak pushes people to move during that time.
Runner’s World also promotes a warm weather streak where athletes run at least a mile each day from Memorial Day until Independence Day.
Many people who would never dream about being a year-round streak runner find these short term streaks to be enjoyable. They are long enough to challenge you without the long term commitment.
Benefits of a Streak
✓ Routine and consistency
✓ Motivation to always continue moving forward
✓ You are forced to adapt to any weather imaginable
✓ When motivation leaves, there is only discipline
✓ Smash mental barriers!
✓ Competition with yourself and other streakers
✓ You get acclimated to running in all weather and circumstances
✓ It’s a strong community
Lauren Siegel has been running at least one mile a day for twenty years. She admits that some days are really rough, but she is also super competitive and does not want to lose her spot in the rankings.
Lauren is the 8th place female on the United States Running Streak Association Registry. How does she stay motivated? Lauren said, “I know I’ll always feel better after a run, and I look for beauty or fun on every run. It’s there if you look for it.”
When asked why she started, her response was, “It was to save myself, I was losing my mind being the almost single mom to a difficult special needs kid. That short run every day was the only thing I did for myself. It was my daily respite.”
Lauren understands that many people do not understand her quest to keep the running streak going, and that’s okay with her. The streak is hers and hers alone. Other people don’t matter. She ends with, “someday it will end, and that will be ok. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, but nothing lasts forever. Streak on!”
Do’s of Streaking & Running Every Day
- Remember that some days need to be rest days. Since you still must run, there are some suggestions: run only one mile, very slowly, on a very flat road.
- Plan ahead. If you are going to be traveling, think through where and when you will run. If you have a busy workday, know when you will run.
- Prepare yourself to be told you’re crazy.
- Get your family & friends on board with supporting your goal.
- Start when you are injury-free.
- Do not build mileage too quickly.
Miler, Ultramarathoner, Streaker: Mark Jasper
A quiet single dad, Mark started his streak in October of 2009. His daughter Makennah had taken an interest in running, and, like any good dad, he was anxious to support his daughter’s interests. He owns the 239th longest running streak in the country and is damn proud of that fact.
When asked if he has ever thought of quitting, he said, “No, never. It’s more like wondering how am I going to get through a run when hurting or injured.” Mark has run through injuries like a hamstring injury, and sickness like appendicitis requiring an emergency appendectomy. He has not let anything stop his streak, though.
Is Streak Running Safe?
The general consensus is that if you are smart about it, streak running is safe. Some runners report losing their streak due to serious illness or surgery, but other people continue regardless of whatever life throws at them.
Longest Recorded Streak
The longest recorded running streak ended in 2017 when Ron Hill ran one mile then, the following day, took a rest day. He was 78 years old and had run every day for 52 years and 39 days. An elite athlete in his glory days, Hill won the 1970 Boston Marathon in 2:10.
Fitting It In
One streaker said that she has found herself doing hill repeats out the front door in the rain at 10:00 p.m. to continue the streak. Another streaker told a story about jogging laps through an airport during a bad weather delay and layover.
It seems that where there is a will, there certainly is a way, and the streaking world is no exception to that rule.
Some people love the streak idea but can’t bring themselves to running every day, even a slow mile. This had led many exercise enthusiasts to embrace the fitness streak. Although the rules seem to vary from one person to the next, the general consensus seems to be 15 minutes of dedicated and intentional physical activity daily to maintain the streak.
According to Runner’s World, the running streak has increased in popularity in recent years. Everyone loves a challenge, and this seems to be one that has lifted off.
If you are careful, listen to your body with some very slow and easy miles, and are prepared to be creative with your planning, it seems anyone can maintain a running streak. You just have to want it badly enough.
How badly do you want it?