Mar 6, 2015

Steve's rules for a running streak

The United States Running Streak Association has a definition of a running streak that says:
The official definition of a running streak, as adopted by the Streak Runners International, Inc., and United States Running Streak Association, Inc., is to run at least one mile (1.61 kilometers) within each calendar day. Running may occur on either the roads, a track, over hill and dale, or on a treadmill.
This is different from the rules that existed when I started my streak back in 2010:
The official definition of a running streak, as adopted by the United States Running Streak Association, Inc., is to run at least one continuous mile within each calendar day under one's own body power (without the utilization of any type of health or mechanical aid other than prosthetic devices).

Running under one's own body power can occur on either the roads, a track, over hill and dale, or on a treadmill. Running cannot occur through the use of canes, crutches or banisters, or reliance on pools or aquatic devices to create artificial buoyancy.
.. which bums me out because when somebody asked me, "what are the rules for your streak?", I used to have a clear, unambiguous, specific, measurable, external document to point to. It wasn't something that I came up with on my own, and it was something that people agreed to.

The purpose of this post is to again regain a specific, measurable, clear, unambiguous set of rules for my personal running streak, and for those of my friends who agree with me. When someone asks me what my rules are, I can point them here. Let me be clear that these are rules I personally have adopted; they're no longer the rules of some governing association. Let me also be clear that I have no intention of creating a competing governing association. I won't be handing out membership cards, charging dues, writing a newsletter - none of that. I'm just writing rules that I adopt and that my friends have adopted.

Some of my friends have adopted a more strict version of these rules; for example, a 12-minute-per-mile minimum pace, or a 2-mile minimum distance. Rules like that are not in conflict with these rules. They're simply more rigorous.

For the purposes of this post, I am adopting the former rules of the USRSA, unchanged. I feel the rules are very clear, but for the benefit of people who would like crystal clarity, let's dive into each of the terms.

"One Mile"

5280 feet, 1.61 kilometers. Use the most accurate measuring tool available to you. If all you have is a GPS, it is in the spirit, though not required, to run slightly more than 1 mile to account for the inaccuracy. If you have a measured mile, use that instead of a GPS. Keep in mind that "four laps of a high school track" is actually short of a mile, by about 30 feet. If you stop at four laps you did NOT achieve the mile.


Continuous means no stopping for any reason. At least one mile in your run should be continuous. If you were planning on only running 1 mile, and you have to stop at a red light at 0.9 miles, then run 1.9 miles and make sure the last mile was continuous. Walk breaks are not allowed in your continuous mile.

* Sudden turns (including 180ยบ turns) are OK as long as there was no interruption in the running.
* Stopping, even for 1 second, breaks the continuity.
* Tying shoes, letting your dog pee, traffic lights, reckless drivers, earthquakes, lightning, seeing old friends, and being asked for directions are all good reasons to stop running. But if that broke your continuous mile, you need to restart it.

"Calendar Day"

The 24 hour local-government-recognized period from midnight to midnight. If your travel plans mean that you'll be in more than 1 time zone in the same day, then either time zone will work. If you are on a long haul flight going west such that you literally skip a day, then either change your travel plans or run on the plane.

"One's own body power"

Treadmills: OK
Holding on to a fixed part of the treadmill while running: NO!
Water running: No
Trekking Poles: No
Prosthetic: An artificial limb which replaced a real one, including a "Blade" is OK.

Questions and answers

Is there a minimum speed?
No. It can be 20 minutes per mile, but you have to be running/jogging/shuffling. It matters not if some people can walk faster than you can run.

What is running and what is walking?
From "Running is defined as a gait in which there is an aerial phase, a time when no limbs are touching the ground."

Can I puff on my albuterol inhaler?
This was asked in jest, but a serious answer would be to refer you to this. Neither my rules nor the USRSA mention anything about PEDs, but I think everyone would agree that performance enhancing drugs are against the spirit of the streak. However, I have taken aspirin and ibuprofen, which did assist me in my streak. I don't think the drugs I've taken are on the banned substances list (which, by the way, is a clear, unambiguous, external, specific, measurable set of rules. It's nice when those exist, right?)

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