It's that time of year again.
Every January we make promises to set PRs, run before work or eat only the healthiest foods (or all of the above), but by February (okay, let's be honest: January 15) many of those resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Are you ready to actually stick to your New Year's resolutions? Read on for our advice on setting practical, achievable running goals.
Sign Up for a New Event or Distance
There's nothing like a race on your calendar to motivate you to lace up those running shoes, but instead of the same old 10K you do every spring, consider signing up for something different. Whether it's a mud run, a trail race or a team relay, a new and exciting challenge is the best way to energize your training in the new year.
Just Run One Mile
We get it. It's dark and cold, and a hot chocolate in front of the fireplace sounds so much better than running. When motivation lags, make a bargain to just run one mile. We bet you'll feel good enough to keep on running. And if you don't? Ten minutes of running is better than none.
Plan Your Workouts
Every Sunday evening, set aside a few minutes and write down the week's workouts in your calendar. Planning around upcoming work commitments and social events will make you more likely to actually get your miles in.
Get Someone Else Running
Ask a friend or family member who doesn't run to join you—and tell them that frequent walk breaks are okay. There's nothing more motivating than sharing the activity you enjoy most with a loved one. No takers? Join a local running club for a few miles. Check with local running stores and gyms for options.
Do One Strength Training Move Each Day
Committing to a full-body strength-training program might sound great, but it can also be tough to stick to. Make it manageable by picking a different body weight exercise (lunges, squats, pushups, planks) and assigning it to a specific day of the week. When that day rolls around, simply do three sets of that one exercise.
Stay Motivated with Inspirational Reads
Pick up a new running book or find a running blog and read for a few minutes before every run (or whenever you have the time). This 10-minute ritual can really help get you in the right mindset.
Schedule Check-ins to Hold Yourself Accountable
January 1 is when many of us kick off our resolutions, but without end dates and regular progress checks, it's easy to fall off the wagon. Mark a few dates in your calendar (February 15, March 31, etc.) and plan to reach mini goals by those dates. Maybe you won't set a PR by mid-February, but you can shoot to lower your tempo pace by 10-20 seconds per mile.
Make Time for Rest Days
This one might seem counterintuitive, but nothing derails resolutions like doing too much, too soon. Maybe you run hard every day for a week, and by Saturday your shins hurt so much you can barely walk. Sound familiar? Remember that rest days are equally as important as workouts. This is the time when your body rebuilds and becomes stronger.
Remind Yourself Why You're Making Resolutions in the First Place
Do you want to run more regularly so that you can keep up with your kids? Feel less stress? Sleep better? Does finishing a race leave you feeling confident and strong? Think about why you run and remind yourself of this reason often. Acknowledging all of the ways running improves your life is a great way to start the new year.
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Find your next race.