Well, the shelter-in-place seems slowly becoming a new normal. In some ways, I am grateful for the shelter in place because it encouraged me to shift my focus from distance running to speed. Since I did not want to venture far from the house, I started running up and down our cul-de-sac, much to the amusement of my neighbors who prefer to sit on their porches drinking wine. And to make it interesting, I focused on getting faster. My latest 5K time is the closest I’ve been to a sub 30-minute 5K since I started running in 2006. I still have a long way to go, but I feel like I am making progress. As I start increasing distance again in the hope that the Chicago Marathon still takes place at the beginning of October, we will see how that affects my new pace.
Other people have come up with other ways to keep things interested during the shelter-in-place. “Streaking” is the last trend in the running community. Don’t worry! People are still keeping their clothes on–despite the onset of summer and the ever-increasing heat. Streaking involves running every single day—a “running streak”, so to speak. Typical training wisdom has always said that one should not run every day and that the body needs rest. Most people run 3-4 times a week and that is typically considered sufficient even to train for a full marathon. So, what about this streaking trend? Should you run every day?
My view on streaking is that there is “running” and there is “running”. What is the difference between the two, you ask? Just because you are “running” every day, not every day needs to be a hard “run”. Just like you walk around the supermarket at a different pace when you go in “just to get milk and get outta there!” versus when you do not know exactly what you need and you slowly cruise all the aisles, you can run and you can run. If you choose to be a streaker (pun intended!), be sure to vary your distances and pace. Do not make every day a 10-mile run (or walk) as fast as you can go. Insert some one-mile (or less) days and some casual jogs within your streak. That may even be the healthiest option at all: where you keep moving, but still incorporate rest. This is commonly called “active recovery” and can be even better for you than complete rest, which allows your body to stiffen up due to inactivity. So by all means, streak! Just streak smartly. Happy running!