I ran and drank beer every day for 3 years.
I started the streak on my 29th birthday and my goal was to run at least one mile and drink at least one beer per day for a year. I wanted to do something big for the final year of my 20s.
It turns out I enjoyed it so much I did it for two years beyond my goal. During that time, I ran roughly 5,300 miles and drank more than 2,000 beers. Most beers came after the run, but some were during.
The whole idea was to work hard and reward myself afterward. I wasn’t expecting to become a better runner as a result, but that’s exactly what happened.
I ran 30 miles for my 30th birthday, set PRs in the 5K and half marathon, and raced a sub 5-minute mile. I was running faster at age 30 than I did as a high school cross country athlete.
Most days I ran at lunchtime to fit it in during a busy day of work, school and family life. I found this made me more productive. It cleared my head in the middle of the day and re-focused me for what I had to accomplish in the afternoon and evening.
It established a consistent routine that structured my day. I was also motivated to get my work done so I could have my beer reward at the end of the day.
During this time I was featured in Runner’s World and Wired. (Q&A: ‘Beer Runner’ Combines Fitness With Drinking). There are lots of people who maintained running streaks longer than me, but it appears I was the only one with a beer and running streak.
This gave me an appreciation for the power of habit. Consistency is the best training plan.
Even on days I wasn’t feeling it, I knew I had to get out for at least one mile. Knowing I could have a beer for the effort when I got home made it even easier. Usually those single miles would turn into much longer runs as running became second nature. I chronicled the experience on my blog, The Beer Runner.
I stopped the streak on my birthday, October 4, 2013, which was the 3rd anniversary of the streak. The streak lasted 1,097 days.
I’m still running and drinking beer, just not every consecutive day.
But since then, I find that going in streaks has its benefits. It focuses you.
Whenever I need another challenge, I know what to do: STREAK!