But there’s at least one growing workout trend I’ve yet to try: Streaking.
“And it’s going to stay that way, young lady!” I hear my father saying now as he replaces the flattering spandex gear I requested for Christmas with ankle-covering, Mormon-approved, streak-free racing get-ups.
No, silly old bear, I don’t mean streaking streaking. I mean completing a running streak: or committing to run at least one mile every single day for a predetermined period of time — and then actually following through, regardless of weather, aches or professional obligations. If you ask me, this kind of streaking seems far more terrifying than the kind of the nudist variety.
I’ve heard about running streaks before — usually in the context of “Old Man Marley killed his family with a snow shovel and has run every day for the last six months! Six months!” — but I only started to consider doing one myself upon reading Marc Parent’s column in December’s issue of Runner’s World magazine.
The piece, which you can read in full here, chronicles his first running streak, in which he logged miles every single day between Thanksgiving and Christmas after a crazy neighbor talked him into it. “I’ll do it,” he recalls saying out loud to no one in the room. “A running streak is a deal you make with only yourself.”
And for Marc, the experience proved fruitful, particularly considering the lack of fruits — or plethora of fruitcakes — we all tend to devour in this month-long period each year.
“You do almost anything every day for four weeks and you start to get good at it. I no longer got tired on a run. I found out legs don’t hurt on days off when you never take a day off. You never feel guilty about the run you don’t take when you take them all. You don’t have favorite running clothes—you have whatever is clean and whatever works, which is whatever you happen to grab when you reach into the drawer. Individual runs are not important, but running as a whole feels more so. One morning I completed a long run without ever breathing faster than a resting pace. Once I came home after an exceptionally cold run and looked in the mirror at the icicles on my eyelashes and thought, I am officially as crazy a runner as anyone I’ve ever made fun of. Then I took a hot shower and dressed up and looped a belt around my waist and hooked the buckle on the smallest hole — a new hole on a belt I’ve had for more than 10 years.”
His column spoke to me, especially since after crossing that marathon finish line earlier this month, I’ve found getting out the door in the mornings to be a major challenge. Part of that is my self-diagnosed runner’s knee that’s transforming each hard run recovery into an agonizing nightmare, and part of that is my new earlier start time at work, but I’m positive a not minor component of my post-race lethargy is just good old-fashioned letdown after the thrill of the race.
Don’t believe me? Just check out my November running log. Looks embarrassingly like Kansas.
The truth is, a running streak may be a terrible idea for me this December, since I know my work days are going to be jam-packed and my park precariously icy. On the other hand, a running streak may be just the kick I need to get my mind back in the game and body ready for the new year.
Either way, I’m definitely kicking off the holiday season with a 5K Turkey Trot in Maryland tomorrow, so I’ve already got one day covered. Here’s hoping I can pry myself out of bed on Friday morning, too — and for the next 40 days. It’s just like Lent, but colder, and without the promise of Cadbury Creme Eggs at the end. (Remind me why I’m doing this again?)
Ah well, it’s in writing, so I guess I’m committed. Let the fully clothed streaking begin! Who’s with me?