Last Tuesday at about 4:45pm, I laced up for a run for the 100th consecutive day.

I have always been intrigued by the idea of a long run streak, but every time I started, I failed after just a few days.

Then recently I heard that Matt Frazier was starting one and my interest was re-sparked.  But as soon as the idea came, I realized that just because it sounded cool, that alone would get me out the door every day.

A few days later I happened to go to a yoga event with my fiancé, Katie, where the speaker addressed the topic of a pilgrimage and honoring and discovering yourself through that journey.  Something about what he was saying really spoke to me.  As a distance runner, what I find most appealing about registering for a new race is the journey and the personal growth while on it.

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go hike the Ganges anytime soon, so instead I decided to start a simple, daily pilgrimage of running every day.  I set off on this daily journey with the hope of continuing up until our wedding day, 441 days after I started.

It’s possible I lost most of you with weird pilgrimage talk, but if you are still reading, I want to say that a run streak can be whatever you want it to be.  It doesn’t have to be a personal journey, it could be only a physical challenge, but I guarantee that after 50, 100, or 441 days of running, you will have learned a lot about yourself and your running that you will never learn from a standard training plan.

5 Things From 100 Days

1) Freedom from the Watch:  When I first started running seriously, I fell into the same thing most runners do.  As soon as I start training for a big race, I get so consumed with tracking miles, times, slips, and everything else, that I forget how inherently simple running really is.  For the last two years, I hardly ever went out on a run without my Garmin.  I felt like if I didn’t track the workout, it didn’t happen.

When I first started the run streak, the thought of running without a watch didn’t cross my mind.  I wanted to track every day’s workout to see how many miles I ran through the streak, but the more running became just running and not training, I found that I would have to force myself to put on the watch.  Aside from a long run each week, I haven’t worn the watch at all over the past 6-8 weeks.

It has been incredibly freeing to finally run simple again.

2) The Newest Predawn Runner:  I never considered myself a morning person.  I’m not as bad as some people I know, but a snooze or two and a cup of joe are just about the only things that get me out of bed in the morning.

When deciding to commit to this run streak, I knew that running every evening after work would not happen.  Baseball games, happy hours, date nights, and life in general would keep me from putting in evening miles more than once a week.  That meant that by committing to the run streak, I also had to commit to running in the morning.

As it turns out, early morning running isn’t that bad!  Sure, morning runs post baseball games, happy hours, and date nights are a little rough, but waking up 30-40 minutes earlier to hit the streets hasn’t been nearly as tough as expected.  Just as the mind adjusts, so does the body, and with a little help from sites like Predawn Runner, I can now call myself an early morning runner.

3) New Routes=New Runner: Nothing says fun like running the same route every single day….

No, that isn’t true.

Because I’m not training for anything in particular, I have been able to run for as much or little (as long as I hit my quota) as I like every day.  What that meant for the first few weeks was, “let’s go out and run the same route because you aren’t creative and like things lame!”  And let me tell you, I succeeded in keeping it lame.

Finally I wised up and decided to branch out.  Over the past 100+ days I have run in parts of the city I never thought of running before.  I have invented new loops and discovered new trails.

Because I am running so often I have no choice but to keep it fresh.  The best way for me to do that was to take on fresh routes.

4)  All About the Breath: Because this was meant to be a daily pilgrimage, where I focus inwardly through daily running meditation, breath has been a big part of my run streak.  Matt at No Meat Athlete recently wrote a great piece on the subject, which served as a nice guide as I experimented with different breathing techniques.  The big thing for me is slowing my breath and breathing mostly through my nostrils.  As the saying goes, “Your mouth is for eating, your nose is for breathing.”

The key here is to relax.  It is nearly impossible to breathe through your nose if you are sprinting up a hill.  By easing into the breath, your heart is working less and your body is able to relax.  Running is a very repetitive action, so slow, consistent breaths allows the body to reach a state of moving meditation, which fit perfectly into this daily journey.

5)  I Can Run Everyday and It Isn’t a Chore: When in the heart of a training program, running can feel more like a chore than something I enjoy doing.  I was afraid that by forcing myself to run every single day, it would become an awful chore that I dreaded completing.  I told myself at the beginning that if I really hated it, I would stop so I didn’t start hating running too.

Fortunately, it has been the exact opposite.  Of course there are times when I’m tired or it is hot (soon to be cold), and the thought of going out for a run felt incredibly tedious, but for the most part it has been something I look forward to every day.  By setting this habit, it feels like I’m just doing something that I do every day and not something that I have to kill myself to make sure I do 4-5 times a week.

The key has been to look at the daily running like I look at making coffee or taking a shower.  It is something you are going to do every day because it will make you feel better and be good for you.  And yes, I think drinking coffee is good for me (it tastes so good!).  Once I started to make that mental switch, it began to feel like something I wanted to do, instead of something I didn’t want to do.

How you can have your own run streak.

Anyone can run for 100 days.  Anyone can run for 441 days.  What I learned is that you just have to keep the goal obtainable.

When thinking about running for that many days straight, it might feel really daunting.  If you set your goal small and break it up, it will no longer feel like this huge task.  Start with a minimum of just 10 minutes or 1-1.5 miles a day.  You can always run more.  In fact, I almost always run more, but by knowing that I don’t have to run more and can still continue the streak, it doesn’t feel as daunting.

You also don’t have to pick an end date.  Maybe you just want to see how far you can go, or play around with a run streak while you aren’t training for something else.  Either way, start with something that feels in reach and go out there and grab it.

My journey with daily running has been incredibly rewarding and a great way for me to both stay focused mentally and physically while not training for a major race.  I am still going and have no plans to stop before that 441st day.

I would encourage anyone who has ever considered trying it to just do it.  You won’t regret it.

Have you ever done a run streak?  Are you in the middle of one now?  Let us know about your experience!  We’d love to hear about it.

Photo Credit.

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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12 thoughts on “What a 100 Day Run Streak Has Done for Me

  1. Great post and thanks for the mention, glad you’ve found a rhythm in the Predawn. I’m actually running more at lunch these days in my last week pre-marathon, to get extra sleep, and feel a bit out of sorts about it. Congrats on the run streak and good luck, the lessons you mention really do apply even when we are in the heat of race training – we all need far more runs without our watches, and I don’t know if you saw my post on running a different route every day during my last marathon cycles – my tendency is still to avoid repetition and I think it makes running far more enjoyable.

    1. Hey Greg, thanks for reading! You are right, mixing up your route is much more enjoyable and it is better for your legs, but man is it hard when you have a route already mapped out that you know you like!

      Best of luck with the marathon! I look forward to hearing how it goes.

      1. PS. What is the link to that post about running a different route every day? Something funky is going on with my comments section, and it isn’t letting people add their website. Not sure what that is about, but you should be able to add a link! I’m sure people (myself included) would love to read it.

    2. Awesome, informative post 🙂 I’m usually an intermittent runner, running every other day, but I discovered that it was always easy to get out of running, making excuses why *not* to go the next day, etc etc. Last week, on July 4th, I told myself I’d run two days in a row. So I ran the 4th and the 5th. Then I was like, okay, why not three days? Why not four? After the fourth day, I told myself I would take a break….but then the fifth day came and I went for that run, and the same thing on the sixth.

      Today, July 10th, I completed my seventh run in a row, and now I’m shooting for 30 days (so August 3rd). And then I’ll expand my goal from there.

      Adding to this goal, I’ve been transitioning my diet to be fiber and nutrient rich. I’ve been eating a ton of fruit and protein, compared to oven-top burgers and the occasional apple. Each morning for the past three days, I’ve eaten a yogurt parfait or a plate of fresh fruit (kiwi, banana, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and mangos), with a side of granola and yogurt. I haven’t switched up my lunch or dinner diets yet, although I’m eating almonds and a greater variety of vegetables with them instead of settling for just a bland single-serving of meat. And on the drink side, I’ve gotten into cold-pressed juices, particularly with a base of beets and carrots. It also helps that I’m working at a juice bar for the summer XD

      Thanks for the post, it’s exciting to read about other people who’ve set goals for themselves. I know this was 4 years ago, so I hope you achieved it!

  2. I’m on day 45 of my 50-day streak. (I turned 50 on 1/8/13 and vowed I would run 50 days straight). It’s been a wonderful and enlightening journey. I’ve been a runner for 30+ years, and my previously streak had been 30 or so days. Like you, I initially thought it would be a daunting, maybe exhausting task, but it’s been the opposite. I’ve gotten stronger as each week goes by. The few times I’ve been tired it’s usually because I didn’t eat or sleep well the day prior. So, yeah…when next Monday rolls around and I run my promised 50th day-in-a-row, who knows…I may just keep going.

  3. Good morning. For a few years I was doing well running-wise and then got sucked into the couch of doom. I finally was disgusted enough with myself to say “no more”, but I felt that I needed to do something that I’ve never done before; hence, drawing inspiration from your blog, I decided to run every day until New Year’s Day, and maybe longer. I’m only 5 days in, but I find the prospect of breaking the streak and starting over motivates me to keep going. Because I don’t have a race goal in mind, I’m going to use your guidance above and “just run”. Thanks for the push.

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience Doug. I Just completed my 50 day streak of 6.5km or more. Day 49 was a hike and run to Australia’s highest point Mt Kosciuszko peak. Day 50 was a beautiful alpine trail. So proud to have completed the challenge. Setting myself an achievable but challenging goal was highly motivating. Aurelia from Australia

  5. Great post, and comments. Last year I had read a post from someone who had run 50 days in a row and that planted the seed. It took me awhile to commit, but this afternoon I finished my 51st consecutive run. I started thinking about the next goal, or if I was just being crazy, so I went on the internet to see if there were any other like minded runners out there, and came across this post. It has re-energized me to keep the streak going, and set a 100 day goal. That is just another 50 day goal, which I’ve already done, right? I totally agree with the idea of mixing it up, and never having a set goal for each run, other then to just start. I have been able to average 5-6 KMs per day, with a few 8-10 KM runs mixed in, by mixing it up – varying speed and terrain. Some days I don’t really feel it so just start running slow, and before I know it 45-50 minutes have gone by and I’m feeling great. I also picked early morning as the best time of day and I highly recommend it if you are looking for consistency. I’ll occasionally run in the afternoon on a weekend, like today, but am careful to make sure that I will absolutely have the time before I put off the morning run.

    Anyone, else out there thinking about it? Stop thinking, and just get up and do it. If I can do it anyone can.

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