Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Running Streaks – Why?

Skipping a few more pages in this month's Running Journal and I came across an article about what I will term is called running streaks.

Now, I know lots of people that do take days off from running and I know enough to understand that it probably helps as much as it hurts them. By not running, they are giving their bodies that much needed recovery time. On the other hand, by not training they have skipped a stress session that might help them improve.

My own personal streak of running started in Oct of '86. To tell the whole story, I had just finished running a race in which I had just finished 2nd. Mostly, my training was hap hazard up to this point. My running adventure had only started running 3 years before. I knew nothing about training and basically I just ran when I felt like it.

But standing there holding an unopened Coke in my hand after that race, I decided if I wanted to win a race, I needed to train better and be more consistent. So I took that Coke back to my car and later set it in my desk. I would drink it on the day that I won a race. This became the first goal that I ever set in running and probably in life.

From that day forward, I started running every day and I started reading every book in the library about running. I gave myself a training plan, changed how and when I raced, changed my diet and changed many more things than I have room to mention here.

But mostly, I ran and ran and ran. Being young has the advantage that the body just loves the miles.

Just over a year later, I won my first race and that Coke tasted great.

Some 23 years later this Oct, I will still be running every day. This includes running through all sorts of foot, knee, and hip injuries. I run through all types of weather. Just because it is hot, cold, snowing, raining, or icy, doesn't give me out to take a day off. I have run through all sorts of Life events: wedding, births, and divorce – this last one was a particular long run for me.

The shortest run to maintain the streak is 1 mile. But the longest run in 1 day has been about 35 miles. Some years, I tracked my mileage daily. Other years, the only thing that was important was that I ran at least once day. Sometime looking back, I wished that I had tracked the miles in a log book.

When I am done, someone will probably ask me if it was all worth it. After a few seconds to think about it, I am sure that I will say "yes, it was". There are probably hundreds of other activities available to me and I could have enjoyed any one of them very much, but going out the door every day and feeling the elements on my face makes me feel a live and ready to face life's challenges to come. That's why I run every day and why my streak continues.



Richard Hefner said...

Bill... I'm glad to see you mention your running streak. I think it's amazing you haven't missed a day of running in 23 years. Before you met my wife Linda recently I had already pointed you out to her and said, "There's the guy who hasn't missed a day of running since 1986." And I've mentioned it to other people when I've told them about the accomplishments of local runners I've met since I started running last year (so I'm impressed). I've just run 5 days a week since I began running but last week I decided to start a streak just to see how it would go. Today is Day 9 so it can hardly be called a streak, but I'm already having fun with the challenge and it'll be interesting for me to see how long I can go. It's not likely I'll make it 23 years (I'd be 80 then) but even 23 days would be longer than I've gone before and would give me something to shoot for next time around if I have to start over.

Cool Down Runner said...

You might just surprise yourself, Richard.

Runners are some of the most determined people that I have ever met. When they set the mind to a goal, they are very likely to achieve it.

In another 23 years, I will be 67 so let's plan on going for a run together. :)