Pro Running Streak: Day 260 (and Counting!) of Daily Movement

running streak
Tish's streaky logbook.

[Read Dimity's counterpoint: Anti Running Streak: Why I Can't—or Shouldn't—Streak]

I didn’t set out to have a running streak—or a streak of any kind—during this pandemic. I skipped a couple of cold, rainy days in April, before any of us quite realized what was unfolding. Probably in May, I noticed that my training log was filling up. Running, biking, hiking, dog-walking. Every day had some kind of movement.

I have streaked—or run every day—only once, back when daughter Nina was 7. A coworker had suggested it as a way to stay motivated during the holidays: at least 1 mile a day starting on Thanksgiving and ending on New Year’s Day, or 38 days. Doable.

And I almost didn’t complete it. On New Year’s Eve that year, we were in Vermont, had finished skiing and were waiting for sister’s boyfriend to bring around the car to drive us back to our rental cabin.

The sun was getting low. By the time we got back, it’d be fully dark. Running on dark country roads seemed like a bad idea, and I said as much.

Nina looked horrified. “No!” she said. “You have to keep your streak alive!”

“I suppose I could run back to the cabin,” I said. “Ha ha ha!” Too bad I was wearing Uggs.

“Yes, yes!” said Nina. “Do it!”

And so I set off up Route 100 to run 1 mile to keep the streak alive. Clomp, clomp, clomp.

My dear BRF Jodi, also on this trip, who’d left the mountain a few minutes before us drove up alongside me and rolled down her window: “Dear Tish, do you need a ride?”

“No!” I shouted back. “What I need is running shoes!”

Jodi pointed her index finger up in that universal “But of course, that makes complete sense” gesture, pulled over and popped her trunk. Running shoes, 8.5, her size and mine too. Don’t you just love BRFs?

Our very own Sarah once did an “exercise streak”—a minimum of 30 minutes a day. That idea has always appealed to me. I love running just as much as anyone, but I want to WANT to run not to HAVE to run. Like, say, at the end of a day of skiing, which “counts” enough as “exercise” in my book.

[FTR, there is actually an Official World Active Streak Running Registry that lists nearly 2,500 runners, 30 of whom have been streaking for 40 or more years!]

running streak
Tish (right) and her sister going at least 30 minutes.

And now here we are on day 301 of the pandemic, and I find myself on day 260 of a “movement streak.” (It's not a true running streak.) The daily ritual of at least 30 minutes of fresh air like a reliable metronome, the perfect mental and physical antidote to, well, everything.

Sarah says that streaks take on a life of their own, and that you DO become beholden to them. I have my limits. I will never run circles around an airport, or with a fever, or the Boston Marathon with a fractured metatarsal.

And yes, some days I do think, “Keeping the streak alive,” with more ugh than enthusiasm.

Just this morning, I woke up and wondered if I really wanted to drive 40 minutes to a cold solo hike. Then I twisted that classic runner saying: You’re never going to regret having gone for a hike.

How long will I keep up my “30-minute movement streak”?

Do you know how long Sarah kept hers going? FIVE AND A HALF YEARS. She wins!

[Read Dimity's counterpoint: Anti Running Streak: Why I Can't—or Shouldn't—Streak]

Do you have a pandemic movement or running streak?

How's it going for you?

6 responses to “Pro Running Streak: Day 260 (and Counting!) of Daily Movement

  1. I love the idea of a streak and am envious of those who keep them! I can see both sides of the argument though– I appreciate Dimity’s realization that the stress of the streak can steal its joy, but Tish’s devotion to it helps her create joy daily. I live somewhere in between myself!

  2. I had never done a running streak before but signed up in November for an Advent running streak. Dec 1-24. I was pretty sure I could do that. And the shirt was a nice perk! Well I did every day and it was awesome. I thought I would do a January streak but…no shirt, no motivation!! Oh well here’s to February!!

  3. Tish, I love your reflection and ideas on the “streak”! I never thought about this… I fail at every streak I try… running, Whole 30 (except I did do the no alcohol for 30 days….just not all the food restrictions!)….but I am just thinking about it… I have a streak and that is my Pocket Calendars. I have written daily in a pocket calendar since 2001! That is 20 years of daily jotting down what happened that day. It is mostly tracking exercise, sometimes food, my “cycle”. I jot what fits in that tiny square. I use symbols and colors to help track. I never thought about that, but that is my STREAK!

  4. I had a streak going in the beginning of Covid… Then I got a bit injured and it all stopped. OH, well. That was that!

  5. Doing something pretty much every day also….except when I traveled (yes I flew cross country to be with my mom on her 94th b’day-!) Haven’t counted up the miles to this date- but 2020 saw me swimming 136 miles, cycling 3150, running 479 and engaging in 97 gym/yoga sessions. I guess that’s somewhat of a streak….strava had me “active” over 350 days last year (of things I entered).

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