It's a brand new year, which means it's once again time to shake off the tryptophan, take down the holiday decorations, and get back to reality. For many people, the turning of the year signifies an opportunity to reassess and consider how to improve in the coming year.
Many vow to shed unwanted pounds that have mysteriously made their way to the scale, courtesy of holiday feasting. Others plan to pay down debt, especially from holiday spending. For the runners of the world, however, the new year often brings a desire to return to this favored activity.
How can you stay on track instead of starting full-force and then tapering off as so many do with their New Year's resolutions? Here are a few essential resolutions for runners that will help you stick to your guns and see progress over the coming year.
Nothing motivates you or helps you to improve more than a little friendly competition, and signing up for a race can give you the boost you need to get out on pavement or trail and start logging miles in the new year.
If you're just starting or you're returning to jogging after a long absence, there's no reason to go all out and risk injury or burnout early on. Instead, sign up for a short race to whet your appetite, so to speak, and give yourself more time than you think you need to train. Or join a basic running challenge (like ours!)
Once you've successfully completed your first race, sign up for another - perhaps a more difficult one. Having an upcoming race on your docket gives you a goal to work toward and the motivation you need to keep up your practice in the meantime. No races near you? Try a Virtual Race instead.
If part of your problem is finding time to jog, now is your chance to make running a priority. Get yourself a paper calendar - yes, go old school. Write in days and times you will jog and use a red pen or marker.
Now put that calendar where you will look at it all day, reminding yourself that you have scheduled running times so you don't make other plans. You could allow your phone to remind you by adding your jogging schedule to your virtual calendar, but visual reminders can be a powerful tool if you're having trouble remembering to jog or you're prone to dismissing reminders.
Being at the top of your game is always a nice feeling, but in order to make the most of your time spent on the trail you need to set new goals and challenge yourself. If you've been running the same distance for a while or clocking consistent times for your distance, try adding another couple of miles or mixing in speed intervals to improve performance.
A lot of runners deal with growing boredom that keeps them from enjoying daily jogs or training, especially when training for marathons or other long races. Variety is the spice of life, or so the saying goes, and you need to switch up your routine if you don't want to lose interest in this activity.
You could do this in a variety of ways, such as by finding new local areas to jog, creating new playlists, or training with other runners so you have someone to talk to and compete with. Even small changes can make your training more enjoyable and keep you on track to reach your running goals in the coming year.
If you're a seasoned runner, you're probably already running on a schedule and training for upcoming races. In this case, you may want to resolve to make other changes that could improve performance.
You could try to determine your ideal running weight and create a diet and cross-training program to help you reach your goal. You might experiment with new products and apparel to find the clothing, shoes, sunblock, and sports drinks or gels that make every jog easier.
Or if you've been jogging solo, you might join a running club or find a jogging partner to push you and add social benefits to your regimen. If the last year left you less than satisfied where your running is concerned, make resolutions for the new year that will change up your routine and remind you why you love running.