Streaking (no, not that kind of streaking) is running a certain distance- usually at least a mile- every day for a length of time.
There are articles on a fairly regular basis in the ‘running media’ (is there such a thing?) about streakers- some of whom have run every day for years or decades. My thought every time I read one of these stories is the same- why would you want to do that?
And I say that as a runner and a marathoner… Why?
The Upside of Run Streaking
Streaking seems to have become especially popular at the end of the year. In those crazy weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, fitness is often put on the back burner due to family obligations, office parties, and shopping.
Doing a month-long streak can be just the incentive to ‘not break the chain‘. A way to encourage exercise and fitness during a time when it may otherwise fall by the wayside.
This I get.
Streaking on the Brain
I’m thinking of streaking now because I am in the midst of a virtual race with the Hogwarts Running Club. In response to the nightclub shootings in Orlando, the four Harry Potter/Hogwarts houses are racing each other on a 9000+ mile race around the country to raise money for charity.
(And I do realize that I have just outed myself as a total geek. I’m a Ravenclaw- of course I’m part of a book-themed running club!)
To complete the course in the allotted two weeks, the math works out to each member of the club doing just over 3 miles a day. To do my part for the team, for the first time ever in my life, I will be running every day for two weeks.
I’m not loving it. I want a rest day. (But, last time I checked, we’ve raised over $30,000, which is the priority and makes it totally worthwhile).
The Joy of a Rest Day
I guess I’m a runner who believes that absence makes the heart grow fonder. An occasional day of rest leads to recharged batteries and a stronger desire to run.
I really like rest days and the role they play in training. Heck- I’ve done the Hal Higdon novice 2 marathon program for the better part of 10 years, largely because it has 2 rest days per week.
I know this is a strange analogy, but here it goes. I used to live in LA, where the cliche is true, it is 70 and sunny almost every day of the year. And after however many beautiful days in a row, it’s impossible NOT to take it for granted. Even as a lover the of the outdoors, I’d stay inside all day and go months without once thinking about how beautiful it is.
Then a rainy day comes. A reset button is pressed. My batteries are refreshed and I go back to appreciating the beautiful weather and getting outdoors and doing stuff.
I think of rest days from running the same way. They press reset on my energy and my running oomph.
Almost every training program out there, and every coach worth their salt, will recommend occasional days of rest. They usually aren’t meant to be totally lazy days (although I’ll admit mine sometime are), they are a good time for some active recovery, cross training or strength training.
But more importantly, they are a mental day off. Giving your brain a day of rest can give you a little bit of space so you can get excited about running tomorrow.
Refresh the body and mind and reset expectations.
I Want a Rest Day
As I write this, it is Monday. It should be a rest day on my current training schedule. I generally would do some stretching or yoga, but no running. But not today. Today I’m putting on the shoes and heading to the lake to do my 3.5 miles so that Team Ravenclaw will move closer to the virtual finish line.
This race is an exceptional situation for me. Once it’s done, I will go back to my two rest (or at least non-running days) a week. I’m already looking forward to it.
Because seriously, why would you want to run every day for 30+ years?
I really don’t get it.