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Thinking of Joining Our Summer #RWRunStreak? We'll Help You Actually Stick to It

Runner’s World logo Runner’s World 5/25/2022 Jordan Smith, Kiera Carter

It’s normal—even healthy—to head into a new season feeling enthusiastic about running. And, joining in the #RWRunStreak is a great way to keep yourself motivated, even as the temps increase.

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“People often have new goals and expectations at the beginning of a new season,” says Nicole Detling, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Utah, and author of Don't Leave Your Mind Behind: The Mental Side of Performance. “It’s a fresh start.”

However, running at least one mile a day from Memorial Day to July 4 (that’s 36 days of running in 2022!) is no small task. So, if lacing up for even one mile a day—and recovering from daily runs—is starting to become a struggle, we’re here to help.

The tracking service and app Strava crunched numbers on runner retention and discovered some interesting stats: Thirty percent of runners drop off within 30 days of starting a new running plan. Two months later, only half of the people are still hitting the pavement (or, at the very least, logging their runs with Strava).

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If you’re planning to start our winter #RWRunStreak, those numbers don’t look so promising, and you might be having dreams of a rest day. But here’s the good news: Seasonality plays a role, but not in the way you might think. For starters, people who pick up the sport in the winter are most likely to upload runs to Strava a month after starting. Summer and spring runners are most likely to run exclusively on the weekends, and fall runners retire their shoes first.

It’s true. Those who start their running regimen between September and October experience the steepest decline in dedication, according to Strava’s findings. About 60 percent of fall runners call it quits within two months, which—no coincidence here—lands right around daylight savings time and Thanksgiving.

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But why are winter runners more likely to stick it out? “It all comes down to your expectations going into the season,” Detling says. “Winter runners expect running to be hard, so they prepare accordingly.”

They buy the right gear, brace themselves for the cold, and psych themselves up for a challenge. On the flip side, it’s easy to think running is ~amazing~ at the start of fall, only to be surprised when it gets colder and darker, and frankly, starts to suck. “If you’re not ready for the level of suck, you’re going to stop and do something different.”

The reality is, running is equal parts amazing and hard, and that’s just as true in the winter as it is in the summer. These tips will help you get through the tough times, remain injury-free, and emerge stronger and faster than ever—365 days a year.

Take control of your schedule

It’s normal for your free time to wax and wane (especially around the holidays), but your commitment shouldn’t. “Committing to something is less about having time and more about setting priorities,” Detling says. As your schedule ramps up, add workouts to your calendar and consider them meetings you can’t cancel.

Be easy on yourself

That said, it’s okay not to be your best running self every day of the year (even athletes have offseasons); the key is making running part of your overall long-term lifestyle. “If a hectic schedule throws you off, call it a rest day (or week) and start again,” Detling says. “An all-or-nothing mindset makes it too easy to give up completely.”

Don’t dismiss shorter distances

Have 10 minutes? That could be enough time to run your fastest mile and head to the shower. “That same‘all or nothing mindset’ is the reason you skip your run altogether when you don’t have time for a full workout,” Detling says.

That’s where our #RWRunStreak comes in: Commit to logging just one mile a day to make running a real, non-negotiable part of your life. Plus, posting your commitment in a public forum—like on social media—makes you more accountable and less likely to quit, Detling says.

Embrace different types of runs

A note to those warm-weather weekend warriors: Sometimes running means logging a 10-miler in your favorite neighborhood on a beautiful spring day, then heading to Sunday brunch with your friends. But other times, it means dashing out the door to log a quickie before it rains, hoping you have enough time to wash your hair before work. “If you usually run on the weekends, add one weekday run to your schedule a week,” Detling says. It might not feel as good as your blissful Sunday run, but we bet you’ll show up to work feeling like a bad***.

Learn from Other Streakers

We did a callout to staff and on Facebook to curate the best tips from other runners who are getting in at least one mile a day all streak long. The consensus: more slow, easy miles, stretching, and foam rolling. Here are their top tips for surviving—and thriving—during the run streak.

“If there’s one thing the Streak has taught me, it’s to drop my ego and combine running with walking when my legs need to catch a breath. Let’s normalize doing so: it’s the forward movement that counts.”—Pavlína Černá, Newsletters Editor

"If I know I have to run early in the morning, I'll either sleep in my running clothes or lay all my clothes out the night before. I also always set my coffee pot, so as soon as I smell coffee in the morning, I know it's time to get up and go run."Mandie Boardman, RW+ member

“My go-to is slowing way down sometimes.”—Pat Heine, Video Producer

"Streaking has taught me that a run is a run. If you’re out there for a mile or two or 10, a run is an accomplishment. I changed my mindset to be happy with getting that mile or two in.”Amy Kovacs, RW+ member

“Add: Slow the hell down. Too many people run too fast too often. On these things, slow, slow, slow.”—Jeff Dengate, Deputy Editor

“I’ve been running at about a minute slower throughout the streak...sometimes intentionally, sometimes not...and foam rolling every night before bed. Hurts so good.”—Andrew Daniels, Director of Membership Content

“SLEEP. More miles = more Zzzz’s. If I’m pushing too hard or going too fast on runs, my sleep quality goes to c***, so it can be a good indicator to slow down.”—Morgan Petruny, Test Editor

“Get plenty of sleep. Eat good food. Take extra B and C vitamins. Stretch. Stretch. Stretch some more.”—Michelle Straub Bell via Facebook

“You lie if you say you love every moment, especially if you have children or you’re working, but just tie your shoes and go out because if you do, you know you’re not just going to do one block.”Chau Smith, Runner's World+ member

“Always take two ‘rest’ days. On these days, I do a maximum of 2km. Keeps the streak going but lets the body have a bit of recovery.”Anne McGrane via Facebook

"Sometimes I’ll take my baby with me so it doesn’t feel like I 'm sticking my husband with the kids yet again. My son loves being in the running stroller, and it's a little bit more motivation because you feel like you’re giving something to somebody else.”Jenn Mallette, RW+ member

*Parameters of the cohort: Strava defines the start of a season (winter, spring, summer, fall) as the period 15 days before through 15 days after the calendar start date of the season. Strava only included athletes (U.S. runners) in this data who have done an activity (run) in the start window and who have not done an activity 30 days prior to the start of the season. In this way, Strava is able to only select athletes who have started within the given season.

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