Reflections on (Run) Streaking

So I only made it two weeks. I guess I shouldn’t say “only,” because for me, that’s really an accomplishment. But it was time for me to be done.

Why I Stopped Streaking:

  1. My boobs hurt. Yes, TMI I know, but true. Having the impact of a run every single day was hurting me.
  2. My IT bands and calves are crazy tight, even though I stretched almost every single day and rolled fairly often.
  3. I didn’t have enough clean running clothes to run every single day. Putting on stinky, used clothes for a run is no fun.
  4. I was showering twice a day. Sure, if I’d just gotten my lazy ass up and run first thing, I would only have had to shower once, but that just wasn’t happening.
  5. I was starting to resent having to run, which completely defeats the whole purpose

What I Learned While Streaking:

  1. There is truth to the adage “If it’s important, you make the time;” but some days, you really don’t have time to run. As the streak progressed, I was amazed at how easy it was most days to squeeze in a mile or two here and there. On days when I ordinarily would have said, “Oh, I’m too busy,” or, “Hmm, the weather is really gross,” and skipped a planned run, the siren song of the perfect streak would be enough to make me put my shoes on and go. BUT, there were truly days where squeezing in that run actually made my day harder and more stressful, and if it weren’t for the streak, I probably would have skipped the run and been better off for it. And that’s ultimately why I stopped; I just hit a day where trying to make myself run would have pushed me over the edge.
  2. Recovery efforts are critical. I stretched and/or foam rolled after almost every single run during my streak, and even so, my calves and IT bands were super tight after two weeks. I can’t imagine where I’d be now if I hadn’t kept up with the stretching and rolling.
  3. Runger is real and dangerous. I was CONSTANTLY hungry after the first week, and that was only running one or two miles a day most days. I had to seriously re-work most of my meals and snacks. If I didn’t eat every couple of hours, I started to hulk out and be angry.  This was very eye-opening regarding my upcoming marathon training. I need to figure out food/fuel if I don’t want to end up eating all the carbs and gaining 20 pounds.

How I Feel About Ending the Streak:

Honestly? I feel relieved. I was feeling so much pressure to keep up with the streak, and it was stressing me right out. I was running because I felt like I HAD to and not because I wanted to. I’m glad I tried, but equally glad my attempt is over now.

Will I Attempt a Streak Again:

Probably not, unless my life circumstances change significantly. Working full time, doing theatre part time, and trying to keep my apartment clean and still have friends is quite enough to keep me busy; adding a run every single day on top of that is a bit much.

27 thoughts on “Reflections on (Run) Streaking

  1. veryrach says:

    I love your real-life perspective on this, and not just BS about how amazing it feels to run-streak! Running everyday would stress me out too, but I do see how the challenge could be fun for a little bit.

  2. SuzLyfe says:

    This is actually really helpful for when we start to work together. I wouldn’t mind if you shared the notes on your ITB and such on the questionnaire when I send it to you. Also, we need to find you a better bra. I’m going to email you about that.

    • DarlinRae says:

      Oh, I KNOW I need a better bra and also more bras. Believe it or not, I only currently have ONE that’s fit for running :/ I asked for Fleet Feet gift cards for Christmas so I can go to a fit specialist and get some better ones.

  3. dgobs says:

    I agree with veryrach – it’s nice to read an honest post about this! While a streak seems cool, I can see it wreaking havoc, especially when someone’s as busy as you with work and rehearsals and life in general. It’s more important to be stress- and injury-free!

  4. Darlene says:

    I agree. A lot of people do it. I always wonder how. Do they work? Do they live in a warm climate? Do they have family and friends? Not for me. I have a hard time fitting in 3-4 times a week.

    • DarlinRae says:

      It’s not that strange; I will also repeat stuff if it’s not sweaty/dirty. But I still didn’t have enough. Especially on the sports bra side of things. I only have ONE!

      • prairieprincessrunners says:

        Eeek. We need to remedy that sports bra situation Rae. Esp. with what you have planned for the spring. One sports bra does not a marathoner make (you need at least 4!)

        I always go by the smell test for my gear. If it smells, it goes…if it doesn’t smell, I use it again. 🙂

  5. txa1265 says:

    Agree with all of the ladies above me 🙂 Thanks for being honest.

    I have shared my success with the RWStreak in 2012 and also why I have never done another one – and hopefully never will. It worked for me and gave me a psychological boost I needed – but at the same time I became really attuned to my body, which made *stopping* the streak very important.

    I know I am very fortunate to have a body that seems to like to run – coming up on 27 years of injury-free running! And it isn’t like I do anything correctly – I don’t stretch, foam roll or anything like that – my ‘warm up’ is a ramp-up for the first half mile, my ‘cool down’ is the 0.1 miles rounding the corner and heading into my driveway! Most REAL people don’t have bodies like that – they require actual injury-prevention maintenance … and that takes TIME.

    And for me, it works into my routine – I don’t need (or get) too much sleep, and my morning run just ‘puts things right’ … but there have been many times in my adult life where that wasn’t so simple and I would stop running for a while. ANd even for me … the STRESS of needing to run every day – especially in the winter (I did my streak until mid-January) – was considerable.

    It has been interesting reading my daily TimeHop listings from my streak … because I was constantly introspective about how I felt mentally and physically. Fast forward a year and I was running *at least* 6 days a week (in 2014 at this point I’d run 49 out of 50 days) … and yet wasn’t stressed – because I had no pressure.

    I don’t judge anyone for trying a streak – or NOT trying a streak. They serve a purpose … but they require a different mindset and much more caution. And I think it is easy to underestimate just how impactful it can be.

    Oh, and sorry about the boobs … not an issue I had (or likely ever will) 🙂

    • DarlinRae says:

      Hehehe, thanks, Mike! I appreciated your take on the streak as well, and I always come back to “different strokes for different folks.” I definitely learned that I’m capable of fitting in a run on days when I maybe wouldn’t have before, but I also learned that HAVING to run doesn’t work for me.

  6. charissarunning says:

    I think the most important point you mentioned was that running started feeling like a chore for you and it stressed you out. That’s when you know it’s not worth it anymore. I’m a huge proponent of keeping running fun! As you know, I started the run streak when you did. Aside from one run so far, I’ve actually really enjoyed it and don’t feel stressed about it. But it really depends on so many different factors. For instance, I was already running 5 days/week before this and adding another 2 short, easy runs wasn’t too much to ask of my body. I also have a treadmill at home that I can use when it gets dark out or the weather is rough. I’ve been running for nearly 5 years and this is the first time I’ve felt ready to take on a run streak challenge both mentally and physically. I give you so much kudos for running straight for two weeks and for recognizing that it’s not for you right now. Hope you have fun running when you decide to do it this week! 🙂

  7. Anna @ Piper's Run says:

    I honestly don’t know if I could do a run streak as I really enjoy my rest days and sometimes life (a.k.a my kids) throw me a curve ball and running has to be last on the list.
    Good sports bras are so worth the money. I struggled this summer with chaffing only because mine were getting old and it took so long to find one that I really really liked. I might buy the same one again!
    Good for you for not struggling throw the run streak just to do it – listening to your body is way more important!

  8. Rebecca Royy says:

    I did a run streak 2 years ago. I live in the south, so it was mostly not cold. I really enjoyed it, but again, I was already was running 5-6 days a week. As much as I enjoyed the challenge, I haven’t done a steak since!

  9. Fallon @ Slacker Runner says:

    The logistics of a run streak are just baffling to me. I have no idea how people pull it off. Two weeks is awesome- congrats! I see people posting about being hundreds of days into a streak and I’m like seriously? How? And I wasn’t even taking clothes into consideration until you mentioned it! If it was summer I would have enough tanks but nothing else. And there’s no need for that kind of streak!😛

    • DarlinRae says:

      I can’t imagine going longer than I did. And I am Insta/FB friends with a guy who’s well into a streak–100+ days. I admire him, but have no idea how he keeps it up.

    • DarlinRae says:

      And it’s not “just” the mile, it’s getting dressed, getting your Garmin to find a satellite, running the mile, come home, stretch, roll, shower and/or change… It’s more than just the time running.

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