After the run streak

From December 24, 2016 to December 28, 2019 I ran at least a mile, every single day. This works out to be 1100 days, if I’m doing my math correctly, though the nice round number wasn’t intentional. I stopped because I gave birth on December 29, 2019 (early enough in the day — 5 a.m. — that I hadn’t done my run before going into labor!)

I then didn’t run for two weeks. I slowly picked it back up again. I run most days. But I do not run every single day. On average it’s about 5 days per week.

I’ve been thinking about my post-streak running a lot lately, and what lessons I might glean about habits. I know there’s a theory that one of the problems with streaks is that you inevitably feel terrible when they end. But I don’t feel terrible (it may help that I had a good reason). My decision not to restart the streak is not about streaks being wrong — it’s more that it was an interesting thing to try for a period in my life and now I don’t feel the need to try it.

I do think the streak helped me to run more, and nudged me to do a few extra runs than I would have. Sometimes these runs turned out to be amazing (like one early morning in Vancouver). Sometimes I was just putting in my mile on a squeaky hotel treadmill.

But I also don’t need the discipline of a streak to run. I like to run. I like running along the Vancouver waterfront on a gorgeous summer morning more than I like running on a squeaky hotel treadmill, but in general, I don’t mind the experience. I’m glad afterwards that I ran. Whether that’s five times a week or seven.

What’s your exercise routine looking like these days?

Photo: A cute reason to end a running streak

16 thoughts on “After the run streak

  1. One of the silver linings of working from home currently is more flexibility and time (in my situation) to run, so I’ve been doing it a lot more. Inspired by your previous running streak, I’m planning to start a “mini” streak tomorrow and run (at least) a mile a day in May! And who knows, maybe the habit will stick and the streak will continue beyond May!

  2. Your running streak was impressive!
    Quarantine has gotten me back into a solid exercise routine. I’ve been trying to do an at home strength workout in the afternoon to break up meetings while working from home. I’ve also been trying to get out to run at least 4 days per week. I’ve even been doing the occasional bike ride.

  3. One of my favorite things about working from home right now is the flexibility to exercise. I feel like my world has totally opened up for this despite my gym being closed. It no longer matters if I’m sweaty at 2 p.m. This improvement is probably only trumped by being able to wear exercise clothing during the day. ha

  4. I’ve always been so interested in your posts about streaks, and was so impressed by your running one. I’m on a COVID workout streak, and I’ve done some form of exercise everyday since quarantine started. Working out daily isn’t a big departure from my pre-quarantine routine, when I probably averaged 6 days a week. The biggest change has been that, pre-quarantine, I mostly did classes at the gym or went for a run. My workout now usually involves some kind of streamed workout, plus a walk for outdoor time. I’m also running, but less often now, as most of my upcoming races have been canceled. I did run 10 miles solo on the day I was supposed to run the Cherry Blossom 10-miler.

    At the start of quarantine I really struggled with feeling like I got a “good” workout in. I was so used to the equipment and accountability me gym provided. Thankfully my gym let me borrow some equipment, and are streaming some of my regular workouts online, so my workouts have greatly improved. I’ll put in a plug for the HASFit workout series that streams for free on youtube. The offer countless workouts, for all levels, with or without equipment. I also did some of the Orange Theory free workouts they have been streaming , which were okay, but I found the pausing mid-workout for 5 minutes to explain the next set of exercises a bit annoying. Now I’m thoroughly enjoying getting back in to Les Mills, mostly body pump and HITT (GRIT) workouts through their streaming site. My gym is allowing us to stream this for free.

    I’m really enjoying having much extra time in the evenings! I’ve been trying to get my workout in first thing or at lunchtime. I used to do at least several of my workouts in the evenings, and on top of my hour-long commute, I had very little time to do much of anything when I got home. Now I’m spending my evenings experimenting in the kitchen, reading, working on a 1,000 piece puzzle, tackling household projects, or going for walks for pleasure (I live in Alexandria, VA and work in the city so most of my walking before was just dashing to or from public transportation). This is making me strongly consider how I want to structure my post-pandemic life.

  5. I’ve kept up running outside three times a week and doing a 30 minute beach body workout the other 4 days, since January. To date, I’ve only missed 4 days total of the year (3 for travel and 1 for no-good-reason). I’ve upped my running mileage slightly (from 3 to 4 on weekdays, and 6 to 7 on weekend run) this month and may consider upping again if lockdown continues (don’t have time for more than that on weekdays if I have to be AT work, may even have to go back to 3 unless I want to wake up crazy early). I still do my workout first thing in the morning. I’m happy that no matter what else goes to hell, I’m able to keep this one constant.

  6. I’d be interested to know if you feel as though you like running more now than you did before you started your running streak? Did you average five runs a week before the streak, or has the discipline of a 100% daily habit for so long made it way easier to enjoy and stick to an 70% habit (ish, I haven’t done the maths)

  7. I am usually a gym-goer and mostly lift weights, but since this all started, I have been consistently doing Beachbody workouts (inspired by your friend Sarah (SHU) 🙂 Since mid-March I have probably only missed working out maybe 3 times? I have been very happy with the ease of sticking to the routine, given this is something I can do from home in the early mornings. No more excuses of “I couldn’t make it to the gym.” I will probably want to resume my gym workouts in some capacity when we are able, but I am seriously considering keeping a BB membership to fill in as a backup on days I don’t have time to get to the gym!

    Also, my husband and I have gone on short daily walks (10-15 minutes max) every single day for at least probably 3 weeks now before he gets ready to leave for work. I am LOVING this new habit and hope we can continue it.

  8. I’ve started a walking streak. I’ve walked at least a mile every day since March 23rd. I look forward to my daily walks while listening to a podcast, music, or nothing at all. The weather has been beautiful and has helped me keep my sanity. I’m hoping to eventually start running again at some point. However, for the time being I will walk daily.

  9. Maybe I can get you on the BB train. 80 day obsession starting Monday!!! YOU IN!?

    In exchange for the marathon you will make me run in the future when people run races again?

    Just kidding 🙂 Sort of!!!

  10. My workout routine has definitely suffered since quarantine started! I had been going to workout classes religiously since the first of the year and had gotten a lot stronger. I’ve still been working out almost every day, but I just can’t seem to push myself as much when I’m working out in the comfort of my own home as I can when a trainer is yelling at me!

  11. Working from home has really cut down on my workouts. Actually, the problem is having the kids home from school and daycare. My office building had a gym I used on my lunch hours. Now, as soon as I step away from my computer the kids are clamouring for my attention. Working out before they get up doesn’t feel like an option because my workday starts very early. The best I can manage most days is to take them with me for a walk around the neighbourhood.

  12. I am a rare rebel tendency (I have taken the test several times hoping for a different outcome, but can’t seem to outsmart it) and have a real problem with streaks. I LOVE the idea. I WANT to complete a streak of something, but something inside me revolts and experiences a weird sense of uncomfortableness at repeating behaviors. My husband is an Upholder and is BAFFLED by this – he’s literally had the same brand and flavor oatmeal his ENTIRE LIFE. I mentioned to him my vitamin holder as an example. I open it every night, and take my daily medication, but that is only 1 pill out of 3- the other two are vitamins- and I can’t seem to take all 3 pills for 7 consecutive days! This is crazy, I don’t know why this is. I know vitamins are good for me, perhaps somewhere in my brain I feel compelled to mix things up? I even googled “rebel tendency, medication” and found I am not alone and this actually a common obstacle for this tendency. Anyway, vitamins aside, the point is that I am so impressed by your streak and I really really REALLY want to complete a 30 day running streak. I set it as a goal for 2Q 2020, and have put it on my May goals list…. I just don’t know how to make sure it happens. Any advice is welcome!

    1. Well Lori, I am also slightly horrified by streaks but I think it is because I am terrified I will become obsessive about one and it will ruin my life! LOL. So I really like monthlong challenges or programs that have an end, because the idea of doing something every day forever actually REALLY stresses me out 🙂

      Just in case you wanted an alternate upholder perspective!!

      1. Thank you!!! The end date does make it a bit more doable in my head. So far 2 for 2 running streak for May. I can do this!

  13. I am so curious about what motivates people to exercise- I am a questioner and for years I struggled to maintain a routine, but then I realized that it was because I was signing up for exercise classes/gyms that were across town and required at least 2-3 hours from start to finish if I was going to work out. I started working out at home and it’s been so easy for me to stick to it. But the idea of a streak doesn’t sound like it would help me at all- just sounds like it would be one more thing to keep track of and think about. But when I look back through my planner, I see that I have worked out daily for several months.. but, it never really occurs to me to call this a streak!

  14. I have been exercising more during quarantine, but not enough to offset all the extra treats and wine I have been having. And since it looks like my beach vacation isn’t happening this summer I have maybe lost some motivation. I really admire your long running streaks- very impressive..

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