To Streak or Not To Running Streak Over The Holidays?

Yaktrax Run, winter running, running streak

Ready for the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

As Thanksgiving Day rapidly approaches I’m struggling with an age-old running question: To streak or not to streak? Back in 2011, I participated in the first annual Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak. I ran at least a mile a day from Thanksgiving through New Year’s, logging 100 miles in 40 days during a month when I often sit on my butt. It was an excellent exercise in perseverance that helped me battle the gluttony of the holidays and sluggishness of cold, dark winter days. I didn’t run a fall marathon in 2011, so I was raring to go.

Come 2012, I’d finished the Philadelphia Marathon just four days before Thanksgiving and I didn’t have the running streak in me. I needed a break.

But this year, I’m debating taking the pledge once again. My fall marathon, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, is more than a month behind me and I’m feeling that familiar itch—the itch to train. I loved doing the running streak in 2011. It kept me honest and gave me a great training base for nabbing some personal bests in 2012, which proved to be one of my fastest years on record. Though I bested my 5K and 10K times this year, my half-marathon and marathon PRs from 2012 still stand.

But the Holiday Running Streak is a commitment. I found that squeezing in a mile was sometimes difficult. There were midnight runs, a pre-holiday party run in 3-inch heels, and post-dinner runs with creamed spinach jiggling in my belly. There were sick runs, runs during snowstorms in rural Quebec, and plain, old “I don’t want to” runs.

So how to decide whether or not to streak now?

running streak, Hamlet

Sarah Bernhardt as Hamlet circa 1880. (Photo: Library of Congress, Public Domain {PD-1923})

Back in my acting days I had a teacher who gave students what he called “The Hamlet Exercise.” The idea was that Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” contains the full range of human emotions. Students chose a passage from the play that spoke to something they’d experienced in life, and, then, performed it—reciting Shakespeare’s words but communicating their own inner truth.

It’s a classic “Method” acting technique: actors actually drum up in themelves the same emotions the character is feeling by exploiting their own past, memories, and experiences. Lee Strasberg, who pioneered Method techniques in the U.S., posed the question: “”What would motivate me, the actor, to behave in the way the character does?”

I played Hamlet in “Hamlet” in sixth grade. Revisiting it as an adult acting student was incredibly illuminating and effective.

So back to “Hamlet” I go!

To Streak or Not To Streak?
To streak or not to streak? That is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous weather
Or to take arms against a sea of training
And by opposing end it. To rest, to sleep in—
No more—and by a sleep to say we end
The body ache, and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To rest, to sleep in—
To sleep—perchance to skip a workout: ay, there’s the rub,
For in that sleep of rest what fitness may come
When we have shuffled off this running road,
Must give us pause….
To grunt and sweat under a weary running streak,
But that the dread of loss of fitness and holiday weight gain,
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No runner returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear that running streak we have
Than run not at all?
Thus conscience does make runners of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is fortified with the thought of streaking,
And running streaks of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents inspire us
And gain the name of action.

That’s it. I’m streaking!

If you’re thinking about joining the streak, here are all my past posts about the 2011 Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak—my triumphs and tribulations.

Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak: It’s On!
Still Streaking With RW’s Holiday Running Streak
RW’s Holiday Running Streak Is Alive And Well
Counting Down the RW Holiday Running Streak
Crossing the Finish of RW’s Holiday Running Streak
Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


11 2013

16 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Woo hoo! I am streaking as well. It is my first time and I am looking forward to it. Bring on the holidays!
    Jen Correa @ Mom’s Gotta Run recently posted..BRFsMy Profile

  2. 3

    Running in heels before a party? Whaaaaaaat. You are so hardcore! haha

    I did a 5K walk for charity in heels once (everyone was supposed to wear heels) and I wanted to take my feet off afterwards!

    Can’t wait to read all about your streak!! :)
    Kristina @ Blog About Running recently posted..Late Night Gym Time & Holiday LightsMy Profile

    • Karla Bruning

      I’ve heard about formal heel runs but have never done one! In my case, I realized too late that I hadn’t squeezed in my 1 mile. I was going to a party that was a little over a mile away, so I ran there to get it in. I probably should have worn sneakers and changed into heels, but I didn’t want to be lugging them around all night, so I just did it. I’m lucky I didn’t hurt myself!
      Karla Bruning recently posted..To Streak or Not To Running Streak Over The Holidays?My Profile

  3. 5

    Karla, this is so inspirational! I’m seriously considering doing it this year but have to figure out a way to safely doing it since I’ve been the Injury Queen. But I love the idea of just getting out there for even just the mile, it does so much to overcome that holiday inertia.
    Diann_D recently posted..Four Steps to Becoming HappierMy Profile

  4. 7

    I really love the thought of the Holiday streak but I don’t want to commit to it and force myself to do it after the marathon in 2 weeks. I feel like I need to put recovery first. Who knows, maybe it will happen and maybe it wont!
    Laura @losingrace recently posted..Final ‘training week’ for CIM done- Let the taper begin!My Profile

  5. 9

    Woo-hoo! Glad you’re joining! Also, the “Hamlet” re-write was hilarious :)
    Sadye recently posted..I’m getting cold feet, literallyMy Profile

  6. 11

    Now THAT’s the Hamlet I missed at school! Having been a run streaker (404 days) I think it’s a great idea. But maybe not that long! And I see you’ve run another 5k PB too, so it MUST be doing you good!
    Ewen recently posted..Melbourne City2Sea Fun RunMy Profile

  7. 13

    I wanted to do a run streak… but I already failed by missing runs on Saturday and Sunday. (In my defense, I ran 4 times last week during my vacation, including two runs in Atlantic City, one on Thanksgiving morning, and one the day after). Instead of a streak, I will aim for total mileage. It works better for me, anyway, because last year when I tried running on too many consecutive days I really started to feel hip and knee pain. Good luck!
    Arun recently posted..Day 5 | Stage 4: The GorgeMy Profile

  8. 15

    Love this! I’d love to participate in a streak sometime, but I’m thinking during Dopey training may not be the best time to do it…definitely need my rest days! Good luck!
    Danielle recently posted..Weekly Training RecapMy Profile