Sharing my thoughts about my January run streak.
Ah, January. The new year, with a fresh beginning and hopefully with a few aspirational goals to motivate. With the month almost over, I’m taking some time to reflect on my new year’s journey thus far.
Personally, I chose to do a run streak for the month to coincide with another goal: Dry January. The stress of the pandemic made me far too reliant on booze to soothe my worries, and I needed a reset. I figured I needed to balance my lack of alcohol with some way to manage my daily anxiety. A run streak just seemed like the natural way to accomplish this!
Was this my first time streaking? No. I did this from Thanksgiving day in 2021 to New Year’s Day in 2022. I learned a few things about myself doing that, and I felt it would be a great time to re-establish some consistency in my workouts.
I have rules for my streaking habit, however, to help avoid injury:
- I try to do these only in my “off-season.” That is, when I’m not training for a big race like a marathon.
- I maintain my normal running schedule, typically only 3 runs per week, including my weekend long run, adding only a one-mile run on my typical non-running days.
- I allow myself to take my one-mile runs as speedy or as slow as needed. If I’m feeling good, I will push my RPE (rate of perceived exertion) to 7 or 8 on a one-mile run, but if my body is asking for a break, I’ll keep my pace to a much lesser effort.
- I keep my weekend long runs to a conversational pace, about 5-6 on the RPE scale.
- I give myself an end date. As an older runner, I think it’s unreasonable for me to maintain a daily run streak for extended periods of time, possibly setting myself up for injury.
I’ve learned this go-round that finding consistency in my fitness routine has been helpful. There have been fewer walk breaks on my runs, and even though I’m still slow post-COVID, I feel stronger. I plan to replace my one-mile run days with a gym workout and one complete rest day when this streak is over.
I’ve kind of fallen in love with my little one mile out and back from my house. My old friend, waiting to greet me after my work day, ready to hear about my troubles of the moment. My meditation time. My opportunity to quell anxiety in a healthy way.
But I’m also looking forward to wrapping up these goals for January. I’ve surprised myself with my commitment to them, especially Dry January. I did give myself a pass on the day of my dad’s memorial service; I had one drink at dinner with my family. But other than that, I’ve been faithful. It’s definitely taught me that daily running can help manage my stress without relying on alcohol.
Will I ever streak again? It’s likely. Is it right for everyone? Probably not! I definitely don’t recommend run streaks for new runners. That’s advice from the physical therapist in me!
Did my January commitments teach me new habits? Absolutely. Will they persist? We shall see!
Have you ever done a run streak? What did you learn about yourself if you did? I’d love to hear about it!
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.