Friday Thread: Running streaks + sorry for being AWOL this week

Good morning, everyone! ☀️ I have to throw myself on the mercy of the court today, as I was not able to get my usual Wednesday newsletter out to you this week. I’m afraid this week has been a hectic one on a number of fronts, and I just wasn’t able to get my mind together in the way I normally do. I hope you can forgive me!

I didn’t want to miss our Friday discussion thread, however, especially as I stumbled across a topic many of us wrestle with: keeping our running habit going, especially when it’s as hot as it has been outside, or when life intervenes.

Running streaks are what I have in mind, as I know a number of us started the Runner’s World running streak around Memorial Day, the one that runs through July. I did a running streak that lasted 31 days back in 2020 — I ran at least a 5K a day — and it was fun, but easier to maintain during the pandemic, when I was home ALL THE TIME. Now, it would be a little tougher.

How do you handle the mental challenge of a running streak? On Twitter the other day, this writer illustrated it this way:

I have to say, I experience that too in some ways. Keeping a streak going — something that starts with excitement and energy at first, but over time can become kind of a burden — is a tough thing mentally to do. When do you give yourself a break? Why keep it going, if you’re burning out?

Of course, this applies to more than just running — it can operate in any area of our lives where we’re trying to adopt a new habit, or live in a different way.

This discussion around streaks reminded me of a time when I was a kid, and my #1 hero in the world was Atlanta Braves outfielder Dale Murphy. In 1986, he had a consecutive game streak of 740 games played — at the time, way ahead of Cal Ripken, who would go on to break Lou Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games.

Murphy’s streak attracted a lot of attention for years. It was a testament to his talent, his hard work, and his dedication to the team. Or so we thought: “It was actually kind of counter productive in some ways,” he told an interviewer then. “The mental part of it will be so good for him,” then-Braves-manager Chuck Tanner said. “It will also be a mental lift for us. He thought it would be a big relief off his mind if this streak could be broken. It will take a lot of pressure off him.”

I think of that sometimes when I think of streaks — they can be so great to kick off a running habit, and get ourselves in gear. But they can become counter-productive.

These are just thoughts running through my head, though. I’d love to hear yours, and how your running is going this summer. What’s new? 😃 — Terrell