What makes a #runstreak?

First of all, sorry for the long gap between posts. I’ve moved and I won’t have full internet capability for a few more days. There are a few races to be posted, as well as some choice links for the Start List, but for now, you’ll have to content yourselves with Ryan’s blog, and this one…

It has been a busy January for our group, exploits about which you will hear in the days to come. You’ve seen how we made our own singlets, and they debuted nicely last week at the Crepuscule ARAM at Claude Robillard. We’ve had some nice groups out to training. The team helped Miriam and I move downtown, in what was a truly heroic team effort. We have way too much stuff…

Through it all, I’ve still managed to keep up my resolution to run every day. So far I’ve managed a #runstreak of 24 days. Now, that’s not much, compared to Stuart Calderwood, who was profiled in this Runner’s World article, and who recently celebrated a streak of 25 years. Amazing! He did it honestly, too, breaking some master’s track records, and running some very fast PBs.

So far, my streak has only consisted of easy runs. I’ve run a minimum of 30min each day, but no workouts. I feel like if I tried to do workouts, I might break down and end up not being able to run a day. I don’t want the whole streak to be just easy runs. Eventually I will add quality.

But the discussion of the streak, and the Twitter hashtag #runstreak got me thinking about what the requirement for a streak should be. RW, as well as Stuart of the 25 year streak, consider a run of 1 mile to be sufficient to continue a streak. I am not so sure this is appropriate.

The fact that Calderwood was able to keep his streak up by hobbling a 20min mile while injured seems suspect to me. It’s certainly not for his determination: I admire it. Nor is it for his, let’s be honest, stupidity at running through injury: if I had a multiple decade run streak going, I would want to keep it going. It’s just that, for him, a 70min half marathoner, like for me (most recently a 78min half marathoner), one mile is hardly a run. It’s not even a legit warm up for a workout. And if it takes 20min, it’s not running. Not for me.

I think that the requirements for a run streak should be on a sliding scale. For some, 1 mile is a significant run, or at least, a base-level run, and for them, I can see it counting. But I would question why someone for whom 1 mile is significant would be engaging in a run streak, using 1 milers as a way of “getting it in.” I suppose it depends how regularly one hits that minimum. A week of 3-3-1-3-3-1-3 mile runs seems ok to me. But once you start being able to do runs over say, 5 miles, I don’t think it is fair to call 1 mile a run anymore. And the thing is, if you run between 1 and 3 miles every day, it is not going to be long before you’ll move up to that level. 

I would propose (since I have often been told if you can complain about a problem, you can offer a solution) a scale like this: Run streaks of 3 months or less can use 1 mile as a base run. Run streaks of 4-12 months should use 2 miles, and anything over a year, you have to get in at least 3 miles a day. I’ve been getting in 30min, which is usually about 4 miles.

The beauty of running is that success is relative. I can run in the same road race as Ryan, and if I run a PB, even if his time is 14:55 and mine is 15:30, I can still claim success. A great deal of running is just about how you can compete with yourself. Of course at the higher levels, beating other people matters, but for a 34-year-old coach, just trying to stave off the “coaching-15” I can only truly compete against myself. So a run streak of 1-mile runs is not enough for me. What is enough for you?