Today marked my 25th day in a row of running. My all-time record, which occurred years ago, was 73 days; that one seemed to happen without much thinking till it was over. My previous next-best was 13 days which happened numerous times when I was training seriously in the late 90s, as I was taking every other Monday off. In recent years, I typically have been running between 4 and 6 days a week, with usually some other kind of workout on the "off" days. My Leadville and Vermont 100 wins came on 5 days/45 miles a week, and the Heartland win in 2007 was on 6 days/65 miles a week.
I didn't begin this streak on my own; Rick made a bet with me, but it has gotten me thinking about the pros and cons of streaks. I have never believed streaks were a good idea, and feel you need look no further than the fact that no high-level elite athletes maintain streaks of any length. Most in fact take several weeks completely off each year (what a concept; taking time off when you are not injured!). I always shudder when I read about somebody's crazy streak that necessitated running laps around an airport waiting area, or a 10 minute shuffle after some kind of minor surgery. Clearly in these cases the person is running for the streak's sake, rather than for any fitness or competitive goals.
I was debating this with Matt C on a recent run and he did have an interesting reason for his own streaks (he has gone several years at a time on different occasions). He said that he is afraid that if he misses a day, it will get easier and easier to miss more (and more) days. This may work for somebody who is so light and injury-free but for me, I always felt that I'd prefer to give my legs a break and get some other kind of cardiovascular workout a few times a week. I personally like to walk so that was often my "off day" workout. To balance my injury concerns during this streak, I have been taking at least one day each week to run very, very easy up a slight hill on the treadmill for 10 - 20 minutes. It turns out that this is basically the same as a nice walk so maybe I could keep up a streak and still remain healthy?
As for my own growing streak I so far see at least three advantages; first by running every day I always have at least one easy run in-between each quality workout. For example, because I have always run hard on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I often did those two days with no run in-between. And, secondly, similar to Matt's logic, I no longer have to think about which 2 days to take off each week! Finally, I am obviously getting in more miles a week than normal which I guess is good; we'll see....
The biggest issue I've had so far is spacing the runs out so they are as far apart as possible (ie, not putting off my Wed run till the evening when I have to start running at 5:45AM the following morning for the CRUD hill workout).
If things go as planned, this streak will end at 76 days; I have decided to race the Way Too Cool 50K on March 14, and I will definetly be taking off the day after the race, so if Rick makes it till March 15, I'll happily buy him dinner.
Any other streakers out there who care to comment on their thought process?