The Science Behind Streak Running: Why Running Every Day Is a Good Habit

Have you ever tried to hit a target weight or train for an event that’s months away? Exercising with a goal in mind is great for motivation but when the goal is distant, it’s not easy to stick to your training plan.

Streak running is gaining momentum as a simple, effective way to increase motivation and get you running more! Here’s the science behind the streak:

Streak running…

…has nothing to do with football pitch nudity and everything to do with running every day, day after day. Officially a streak run must be at least 1.61 km (1 mile). Your streak is the number of consecutive days you completed this minimum distance. You can run anywhere, anytime – even on the treadmill!

Daily habits have immense potential to improve our health, and physical activity is an essential part of a healthy daily routine. Exercise can improve sleep, reduce stress, promote weight loss, and lower the risk of diabetes and cancer. (1) But did you know that these benefits are significantly increased through consistent, regular exercise?

Streak running is a great way to build consistency into your training – and your life!

A man running in the city

The Virtuous Circle

Many runners find it easier to stick to their daily run than skip days and start again. That’s because exercise and our ability to control our behavior (like sticking to a training plan) are connected in a virtuous circle.

Each day you continue your streak, your brain gets better at resisting the temptation to skip a workout.

Consistent, regular exercise significantly enhances brain health, improving our memory, concentration, willpower and ability to learn. (2, 3) Great news for streak runners!

Transferable Skills

Winning the battle of maintaining your streak on a rough day boosts your motivation for life’s other challenges.

There is an established link between regular exercise and the ability to stick to a healthy diet. (4) This phenomenon is known as cognitive transfer. The theory suggests that by deciding to run every day you will improve your ability to make other healthy decisions, like eating a healthier diet. More great news for streak runners!

A group of people running in the city

Start a Habit

Most people can form a habit in 10 weeks. Imagine the strength of a habit spanning years! The stories of runners maintaining their streak on wedding days and in times of tragedy are inspiring but the secret is simple; habit formation.

Our brains like to be efficient. That’s why when we get in the car we automatically put on the seat belt. We save effort by responding to a cue (getting in the car). Over time, the decision to run every day can also become automatic, requiring very little effort. (5)

Strengthen your run streak by linking your run to a contextual cue. For example, every time your 6 am alarm goes off or when your lunch break starts.

Need some extra inspiration?

Look no further than Ron Hill. Apart from giving his name to lycra running shorts, he also holds the record for the longest run streak in history at more than 52 years – 19,032 days to be precise! This includes a “run” on crutches after a car accident.

Mental Health

Regular exercise has been shown to positively affect stress, anxiety, and depression. (6, 7, 8) Without a doubt, exercise is good for your mental health.

In fact, regular exercisers even experience running more positively. One study showed significant mood enhancement and feelings of vigor after a run in those who exercised regularly compared to those who didn’t. (9)

Running every day gives you a 24 hourly reminder that you can overcome feelings of apathy and depression. Seeing yourself overcome tiredness and bad weather is empowering.

Run streaks can replace negative thought patterns with an “I can and I will” attitude.

In addition, as your fitness improves with your run streak, workouts that once left you feeling drained will begin to feel comfortable and under control. A woman is running on a bridge with her dog

7 Tips for a Strong Streak

  1.     Start small. Set a very achievable target for your first streak and go from there.
  2.     Have fun setting your streak goals. Try increasing your streak by one day each time you make an attempt, or try rewarding yourself after each streak.
  3.     Be creative. Why not make your own streak workout? Just remember to keep your minimum workout short and simple.
  4.   Compete with others. Friendly competition adds to the motivation and with streak running it’s not about fast times or long distances – just run every day!
  5.   If you need a rest but don’t want to break your streak, consider a run in the morning followed by an evening run on the next day.
  6.   Know when to stop – especially if you need to recover from illness or injury. Every streak has its last day. You can always start a new one! 
  7. Maintain your streak with these helpful tips

If conventional training goals aren’t working for you or if you are looking for a new way to stay motivated, then try streak running. It’s an incredibly simple way to build fitness, lose weight, and have fun while setting your streak record.

Start your streak today. Download the adidas Running App and track your progress.

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Abe Ankers Abe’s background in sports science and exercise physiology comes in handy when he’s running and cycling. He likes to share his insights with others. View all posts by Abe Ankers »