Some Thoughts on Running Streaks

A hearty congratulations to Jon Simpson who recently celebrated  a running streak of forty years. Mr. Simpson is a big dog in the world of running streaks, only six other people in the United States have run everyday for forty years. It’s a serious feat.

Jon Simpson Getting in the Miles


I’m a bit of a run streaker myself, at my longest I went 114 days straight, covering 536 miles in the process. That was right when I started taking running seriously in early 2010. Eventually, I got the flu and took two days off. Then I started running again. I’ve had other streaks since then, some as long as sixty days, but they’ve all ended for one reason or another. I got sick, I got injured, or I got bored.


I’ll never run for forty years straight. Honestly, I don’t have any desire to. I do understand the appeal. There is something life affirming and calming about lacing up the shoes every day. For me, streaking is about being consistent with my running, but it is also exerting control over me and my time. If I am dedicated to making the time for running, then the time appears and I can eek out twenty minutes for myself. I think for those of use with control issues, it can be a good outlet. It’s definitely something I enjoy and I hope to one day break that 114 personal best.


Whether or not it is good for your running is another question. Besides Ron Hill, I know of no elite runners who are also running streakers. Running through a serious injury can only prolong the recovery. But for some, running is about more than being fast, it is about getting out there and exploring, for an eccentric few, it is about getting out there and doing those things everyday.

Here’s to Jon Simpson, good running, sir.

100 days and a marathon battle plan

100 days

I got up this morning, and like I have done every day for the last 100 days, I ran. It was just three miles in a muggy Washington D.C. morning, up the 16th street hill and back down. I didn’t went without headphone and thought about my race this weekend, about the time I have put in, and about how to approach the race.

With this marathon, I wish I had run more and done some speed work, but fearful of getting injured again, I kept the training to just light miles. Still, I had eight weeks over thirty miles a week and three of those were over forty. I have focused on nutrition on my long runs and think I have that locked down. My hip is for some reason sore, but I am hoping a couple of days of very light running, plus stretching and massage will help with that. Regardless, I will run this race as smart and as fast as I can, and here is how I plan to do it:

The Plan:

Perhaps the reason it has taken me so long to write up my plan for this race is that I’m just not sure what the best strategy is for doing my absolute best. Currently, here is what I am thinking.

The night before will be a traditional pasta dinner with E and family, I’ll probably have a single glass of wine and drink a ton of water. Before bed, I will lay out what I will wear the next day and ensure that I have everything I need: bib, shorts, sunglasses, singlet, shoes, socks, gels.  I’ll attempt to go to bed early, but will probably toss and turn most of the night.

Morning of: Coffee, toast and eggs at five am. Lots of water. This has been my breakfast before all my long runs in training and I think it has worked well.  I’ll try and use the john before I head out of the house around 6:00. I’m staying almost an hour from the race start, and I want to make sure I give myself plenty of time before the gun goes off.

Race: The race begins at 8:00 am. I plan on lining up with the 4:45 pace group, and will stay with them through the fifteen mile point at least. I WILL NOT GO OUT FAST. I WILL BE SMART.  I WILL LET PEOPLE WHO ARE CLEARLY IN WORSE SHAPE PASS ME.

Regarding nutrition, I’ll take the cliff shot blocks I have used in training; the first one 1 hour in and then 1 every 45 minutes after that. I’ll drink water, and not Gatorade, as often as feels necessary.

If after fifteen miles I feel like I have something more than 4:45 in my legs, I will try and pick it up. Ideally, I’d like to run this thing in closer to 4:30 than 4:45, but what I really don’t want to do is blow up and end up crawling the last part of the race. Under no circumstances will I let the 4:45 pace group get ahead of me. I KNOW I can finish this marathon in less than that, I just know it.

This race will be a learning experience for me. My last marathon, was a disaster, an I hope that by being properly trained, starting off slow and replicating the nutrition plan which worked for me in training, I can avoid major problems. I expect to make mistakes, but hopefully none which are too serious. My hope is to finish somewhere between 4:30 and 4:45 without injury or major incident. I’ll lay everything I have on getting this done in less than 4:45.

Training Totals 4.25.10

RECAP: 41.5 miles. Over six hours on my feet. That, my friends, is a lot of running. The goal for the week was 43 miles, but life got in the way (wedding venues!) and I had to cut the Saturday run really short. Whatever, I’m still proud. This is the most miles I have ever run in a week. It’s nothing compared to the 70 – 120 mile weeks I know a lot of people put in, but for me, it was a serious milestone.

The long run this week was pretty brutal, I had a lot of tightness in my shins for the first couple of miles and then was just exhausted the last four or so. I even had to resort of the some walk break. But whatever, I got it done.

This long run was also the first twenty miler I have run since my aborted attempt at the Marine Corps Marathon a couple of years ago. I ran that twenty miler, got injured, and then didn’t run the marathon. Hopefully, that isn’t going to happen this time around. I do have some pain in the top of my foot and the area is a little red and irritated. After extensive googling, and poking at it, I don’t’ think it is a stress fracture or a tendon issue. I think it might be bruising from having my laces tied too tight. At least I hope that is what it is. I’ve been so diligent with my training, I don’t want anything to stand in the way of this marathon.

Anyway, here are the numbers


Work out streak: 116 days; (256 to go)

Run Streak: 68 Days

Average Weight – 184 (same as last week)

Running Miles: 41.5 miles in  6:23:28 for a 9:15 pace

Row Meters: 0

Bike Miles: 0

Swim Miles: 0

Body weight exercises and balance work: 0

Total exercise time: ~6.5 hours

Weekly Data:

Monday – Ran 3 in 26:47

Tuesday – Ran 5 in 44:42

Wednesday – Ran 4 in 34:32

Thursday – Ran 5 in 37:18

Friday – Ran 3 in 26:41

Saturday – Ran 1 in 8:00

Sunday – Ran 30 in 3:25:28

Goals for Last Week:

1. Increase long run to 20 miles – DONE!

2. Increase weekly mileage to 43 miles – FAIL

3. Pay attention to my daily weight and what I am shoving in my mouth and hopefully lose a pound. – FAIL

4. Exercise for at least six hours. – DONE

Goals for Next Week:

1. Pay attention to foot and make sure this isn’t a big deal.

2. Pay attention to my daily weight and what I am shoving in my mouth and hopefully lose a pound.

3. Increase mid week run

4. Exercise for at least six hours.

50 Days

First, I over slept. Then, I had to work late, but finally, late last night, I headed out the door for five miles and reached little mini milestone. I had run fifty days in a row.

I know streaking is a controversial topic in the running community. People think running distances of less than three miles is a waste of time, or people think it may increase your risk of injury. Maybe both those things are true, but for me, building this running streak and making sure I get out the door and get at least a mile in no matter what happens has immensely helped my running.

It is only fifty days, nothing compared to the kind of streaks you see on runeveryday, but I feel stronger, lighter, and faster. I feel prepared for my spring marathon and I feel certain that, barring some really calamitous event, there really is no excuse to not get out the door. For me, this has been a real revelation. I can’t wait to see how I am doing at 100 days.