Every runner needs to have goals. Whether you're looking to set a PR, gain confidence or shake up your running routine, check out one of these 12 resolutions that will ignite your training and keep you having fun in the New Year.
This Year I Will: Race Farther
Rachel Gaffney, 39, a mother of four in Everett, Washington, moved up the race-distance ladder from a 5K to a 50K in four years. Now she's a coach who encourages others to step onto the same ladder, even if they only wish to climb a few rungs. "Seeing how far you can go keeps you motivated," she says. "Each time I complete a new distance, I'm reminded there are no limits."
Make It Happen: Gaffney says that if you're looking to up the race-distance ante, gradually boost your mileage for 6 to 16 weeks to a new plateau. This lets your body adapt to the increased demands on your legs and lungs. Stay on that plateau for an additional 4 to 10 weeks before tapering for your longest-ever race. It's a safe and solid game plan.
Gaffney notes that you may need to exceed these minimums, and add tempo runs and speedwork, if you have an ambitious time goal (Use this Training Calculator Tool to determine your ideal pace). But it's safest to set a goal of only finishing in your first attempt at a new, longer distance. After all, it's a guaranteed PR.
- 5K to 10K: Bump up your training to at least 20 weekly miles in a minimum of three runs, peaking with a long run of six or more miles.
- 10K to Half-Marathon: Log at least 30 weekly miles in at least four runs, culminating in a long run of at least 11 miles.
- Half to Marathon: The full 26.2 demands at least 40 weekly miles in at least four or five runs. Before tapering, nail one long run of at least 20 miles.
Degree of Difficulty: 7
This Year I Will: Try Yoga
For every video-rental store that disappears, a yoga studio opens. That doesn't mean you should swap running with pretzel poses, but spicing up your weekly routine with a dash of Om is worth considering. (Here's why yoga helps your running.)