Perhaps you, like me—and like many Runner’s World readers—walk a lot and only run a little (or, let’s be honest, not at all). I walk four to five miles a day, although not all at once, and mostly with my dog, which means my speed is relatively slow. Fortunately, the Holiday Run Streak has come along to motivate me to turn my strolls into runs.

Starting on November 24 (Thanksgiving) and ending on January 1, this year’s Run Streak is 39 days long, and all of you run-walkers out there can join in by committing to run-walk (or, of course, solidly run) at least one mile per day. And, you can share your run-streak journey on social media by using the hashtag #RWRunStreak. Will you join me?

2022 run streal tracker
Use the Run Streak tracker to share your progress on Instagram stories! Get creative.
Jesse Southerland

If you mainly run-walk and you’ve never streaked before, don’t worry—we got you. The Run Streak isn’t about pace; it’s about consistency—and run-walkers are one hundred percent welcome. Even if you don’t usually walk a mile a day, Takia McClendon, NASM-CPT, of Strides in Philadelphia and USATF Level 1 track and field coach, created a plan that will meet you where you are.

“This plan has run-walk intervals that you can adjust,” McClendon tells Runner’s World. “If you are new to running or just returning after a long break, you can use intervals that work best for you. Whether that’s a 15-second run and a 45-second walk or a 30-second run and a 30-second walk, it’s okay, and will work towards your end goal of working up to running one mile by the end of the streak.”

Continue reading for your run-walk program and tips on how to make the best out of run-walking your streak.

How to Run-Walk the Run Streak

The #RWRunStreak is all about making sure you hit one mile every day. Instead of worrying about speed, focus on going at a pace that feels good for you on any particular day. That might mean you move a little slower one day and faster the next. That’s okay and completely expected—elite runners do that, too! With that in mind, let’s start with some tips.

→ Dress for the Weather

“I love talking all things cold weather running gear,” McClendon says. “The key to running in the cold is layering. If you’re going to be walking, you’ll want to start with more layers as your body temperature won’t heat up as much if you’re running. I’d recommend tights or running pants for bottoms. Then a long-sleeve base layer (ideally a moisture-wicking one to wick away sweat) and a warm jacket.” When it gets really cold, McClendon recommends wearing a gaiter, or neck covering, and a pair of running gloves.

→ Stretch

Before you get moving, do a quick warm-up. McClendon suggests doing moves like lateral lunges, arm circles, leg swings, jumping jacks, and walking knee hugs to get the blood flowing. The key is to do dynamic stretches, so you’re moving the entire time.

→ Use Social Media to be Accountable

“I think the hardest part of the Streak is committing to doing something every day,” McClendon says. “Life happens, the holidays are approaching, and the idea of sticking to a routine like this can be tough. When you don’t feel like going out for a run, remember your why and seek other ways to make it enjoyable, like going for a hike or walking the dog.” Remember, you don’t have to run, you can always walk the mile. You’ll still be streaking!

That social media scrolling you do for a few minutes every day? Instead of trying to get off your screen, use it to keep yourself accountable during the streak. “I don’t think people should have to choose between social media and walking,” McClendon says, “but I do think it’s a great time to gather some content (run-walk selfies, nature, and pictures of your friends and family) to share on social!”

Likewise, McClendon says she’s a big fan of accountability partners, so post your daily mile on Insta with #RWRunStreak to thousands of other RW run-walk streakers to keep yourself accountable.

→ Use Our Intervals or Create Your Own

If you are new to running or just returning after a long break, you can use intervals that work best for you whether that’s a combination 15 seconds run-45 seconds walk or 30 seconds run-30 seconds walk. However you break down your mile will work toward your end goal of working up to running one mile by the end of the streak.

“The key is progressing at a rate that allows your body to adapt to running,” McClendon says. Do what works for you, pulling back or pushing forward when it feels right.

→ Remember that Some Days Will be “Active Recovery”

Our bodies need rest, but rest does not mean lying in bed for 24 hours. That type of rest is important when you’re sick, but when you’re healthy and exercising, your body needs “active recovery.” This plan has two days of active recovery every week. Active recovery encourages you to move, but without a lot of intensity or effort. This is when it’s time to stroll with your dog or kids. You can certainly walk a mile for your active recovery, if you want.

→ Make Time

Since everyone’s pace is different, the #RWRunStreak is, roughly, a 20-30 minute daily commitment for most run-walkers. However, as you progress through the program, you may even notice that you’re finishing much faster than you started. It may start as a 30-minute commitment on day 1 but by December, the mile may take about 20 minutes or less.

“It’s important to run-walk at an easy pace and to incorporate recovery days to avoid doing too much too fast,” McClendon says. Follow this schedule, repeating the intervals until you hit one mile (of course, you can always go farther).

Wondering how to keep track of your intervals? Most smartphones have interval settings in their clock function or you can download free interval apps to set up your daily routine.

Week 1

  • Day 1: 1-minute run / 3-minute walk
  • Day 2: 1-minute run / 3-minute walk
  • Day 3 (active recovery): 1-minute run / 5-minute walk
  • Day 4: 1-minute run / 2-minute walk
  • Day 5: 1-minute run / 2-minute walk
  • Day 6: 2-minute run / 3-minute walk
  • Day 7 (active recovery): 1-minute run / 5-minute walk

Week 2

  • Day 8: 2-minute run / 3-minute walk
  • Day 9: 2-minute run / 2-minute walk
  • Day 10 (active recovery): 2-minute run / 5-minute walk
  • Day 11: 2-minute run / 2-minute walk
  • Day 12: 2-minute run / 1-minute walk
  • Day 13: 3-minute run / 2-minute walk
  • Day 14: (active recovery): 2-minute run / 5-minute walk

Week 3

  • Day 15: 3-minute run / 2-minute walk
  • Day 16: 3-minute run / 1-minute walk
  • Day 17 (active recovery): 3-minute run / 5-minute walk
  • Day 18: 3-minute run / 3-minute walk
  • Day 19: 3-minute run / 2-minute walk
  • Day 20: 4-minute run / 3-minute walk
  • Day 21 (active recovery): 3-minute run / 5-minute walk

Week 4

  • Day 22: 4-minute run / 3-minute walk
  • Day 23: 4-minute run / 2-minute walk
  • Day 24 (active recovery): 4-minute run / 5-minute walk
  • Day 25: 4-minute run / 3-minute walk
  • Day 26: 4-minute run / 2-minute walk
  • Day 27: 5-minute run / 3-minute walk
  • Day 28 (active recovery): 4-minute run / 5-minute walk

Week 5

  • Day 29: 5-minute run / 3-minute walk
  • Day 30: 5-minute run / 2-minute walk
  • Day 31 (active recovery): 5-minute run / 5-minute walk
  • Day 32: 5-minute run / 3-minute walk
  • Day 33: 5-minute run / 2-minute walk
  • Day 34: 5 min run / 1 min walk
  • Day 35: Run 1 mile

Week 6

  • Day 36: (active recovery): 5-minute run / 5-minute walk
  • Day 37: Run 1 mile
  • Day 38 (active recovery): 5-minute run / 5-minute walk
  • Day 39: Run 1 mile

More Tips for a Successful Run-Walk Streak

→ Focus on how you feel.

Paying attention to how your body feels on each run, and the effort you’re putting into each interval, is the best thing you can do to nail each day of the run streak. For new runners, McClendon suggests keeping your intensity relatively easy for most of your run (and most days). If you want to push it one day a week or for the last 0.25 mile of your run occasionally, this is your permission to get after it! But otherwise, focus on a rate of perceived exertion scale of 1 to 10, and aim for about 3 to 4 each day of your run streak.

“You will have plenty of time after the run streak to push the intensity, but since the plan is to run every day, there’s no need to push it too hard when you’re just getting started,” McClendon says. “One of the main reasons both new and seasoned runners experience injuries is from doing too much too fast. That means that we increase our mileage, intensity, or pace before we’re ready.” Avoid getting too intense, and you’ll still feel great on January 2 (no matter what kind of partying you do on December 31!).

→ Watch your breath.

In addition to gear, it’s important to pay attention to your breathing in the cold. “I’ve noticed some people struggle more in the cold,” McClendon says, “but if you start the run a little more conscious of your breathing, you won’t feel winded by the end of your run-walk.”

→ Make time for recovery.

With the schedule above, you do more walking than running two days a week, which is a time for active recovery, McClendon says. You need some of that slower pace to allow your muscles to rest and rebuild. Another smart way to help those muscles recover: regular foam rolling. Roll out the quads, calves, hamstrings, and glutes before and/or after your runs to prep for the movement and help your body relax after.

→ Get some sleep.

Speaking of recovery, sleep is the best thing you can do to give your body the TLC it needs after days of hitting your stride. “Running every day will cause your muscles to break down and without dedicated rest days in between runs, you’ll want to give your body a chance to repair damaged muscle tissue,” McClendon says. The way to do that is with adequate shut-eye, which means hitting the sheets for at least seven hours a night—nine if you have the time.

→ Fuel up

Water and a healthy balanced diet will also support your new daily run habit. Make sure you’re drinking enough H2O throughout the day and getting a combo of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats to give you the energy you need to get up and get moving.

→ Stick to a schedule

Sometimes it helps to pick one time of day that works to crank out your mile. The morning works for many people so you get your run done before the day gets busy or unplanned tasks pop up that interfere with your schedule. On the other hand, if you and your family scramble before school and work, then maybe you’ll want to go out in the late afternoon or evening (be sure to bring some light along!). No matter what time you choose, put your run-walk time on your calendar so it feels like a commitment.

→Just have fun!

This is your chance to fall in love with running, so you don’t have to take the task too seriously! Create a pump-up playlist, download an audiobook you’ve been wanting to read, and team up with all of the other #RWRunStreak movers and shakers. We’ll be cheering you along every step of the way and celebrating your victories all summer long!

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