Coach Tip Tuesday: The Only Streak I've Ever Endorsed
October wraps up tomorrow with one of the most fun holidays of the year, and as such, it’s a very lovely time to talk about something that will start making its way around the endurance community in the very near future: streaks.
Running streaks are especially popular this time of year, as many people use them as a means to stay active through the holidays. Many times, this time of year kick-starts a longer running streak that folks try to maintain for extended periods of time.
If you’ve coached with me or hung out with me long enough, you know that I am not a fan of multi-day fitness streaks. It takes a special athlete to handle them appropriately, and an even more special athlete to know when it is time to break the streak. Many, many people will attempt to keep a streak going at all costs, including sustaining injuries, which is not in the best long-term interests of any athlete. I see it a lot; many people will prioritize the streak over all other things, including what might be best en route to the other goals that they set for themselves.
Instead of a multi-day fitness streak, I humbly suggest that you aim for this (which is the only streak I’ve ever endorsed): Aim to have a streak of positive training weeks. Each and every day may not be great, but you can certainly work on creating a streak of positivity in your training where the overall trend is up. That is the goal of every good coach out there, and it should be the goal of every athlete out there, too. As coaches, we want the athletes who we are working for to have positive experiences that continually bring them closer and closer to their goals.
So what exactly does a positive training week look like? Well, it can look like many things, and it certainly doesn’t look the same for everyone. I actually issued this “challenge” to an athlete who I am working for last week: I asked her to find something good about every run that she completed. Focusing on what well can really change one’s perspective on how a given training week, or even a given workout, went. It’s very, very easy to focus on what went wrong, etc. And while yes, there are always things that we can work towards improving, there are also always, always at least nuggets of things we can be grateful for in a workout.
For other athletes, getting in some type of movement every day might be a positive training week. For yet still others, it might be having a break-through workout, and for others, it might be that they took on something that scared them. Maybe you hydrated well enough during all of your workouts, or maybe you got enough sleep and recovered well. The possibilities are truly endless! Yes, indeed, it’s an endless opportunity for some positivity.
So go for it, my friends. See how many positive training weeks you can stack on top of each other. It truly is the very best streak you can aim for, as it helps you with any/all goals you may set for yourself, and allows for changes to that plan along the way.
What are you waiting for?! Get after it! :D
Coach Laura Henry
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.