Now that the holiday parties are in full swing and that New Year’s ball is just days from dropping, we wanted to dig into the topic that’s likely on everyone’s mind–resolutions! Check out our tips below for setting the running resolution that’s right for you!
If you don’t run at all now, chances are you won’t be running a marathon come March. Thinking you will is really just putting yourself on the fast track to injury or burnout. The best thing about being a runner is that you don’t have to hit a certain number of qualifications to join the club. One mile, 5ks, or marathons–no matter the distance you’re still getting out there and getting some exercise! So before you even put a running resolution in writing, think about your current state and skill level and set a solid goal. It could be a new race distance, improving your pace by a modest amount, or even committing to cross training at least once per week!
Use the Numbers
An informed decision is a good decision, right? You can use your RunKeeper history to really put some numbers behind the resolution you set. Look back over this past year and see what your activity levels look like. Maybe you want to increase your total mileage by 10%. Or maybe you ran a decent amount of mileage last year but did it a little inconsistently. Your running resolution could be something as simple as “run three times per week.” It’s also important that the time frame is realistic and gives you room for missteps. It would be awesome to say you ran every day in 2014, but if you miss that target early in the year, then that throws your motivation off track for the remaining months! Whatever the case, pick something that is challenging but realistic–not so far off that you’ll end up getting discouraged before Valentine’s Day hits.
Consider Your Fuel
What you eat throughout the day plays a big part in how your running goes. Something with too much fiber or fat could really cut a long run short, as could heading out on an empty stomach. Staying motivated to run is hard enough without your food choices throwing you off track, so keep tabs on what you’re eating throughout the week and plan your meals so that they help and don’t hurt your run. Three to four hours before your run, have a meal with carbs and small amounts of protein. Follow that up with a carbohydrate-rich snack 30-60 minutes prior to tying on your running shoes and heading out the door. For carbs, think about a slice of whole grain bread with jam or fruit. Some great fueling proteins include nuts, eggs, yogurt and smoothies. To easily track your fuel alongside your running, be sure to connect MyFitnessPal with RunKeeper!
Get Friends in on It
If a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to hear it, then…? Same goes with a resolution that no one knows about! Once you set your running resolution, tell your friends and family about it! That way you’re accountable to the decisions you’re making throughout the year. If you’re tempted to skip a run or give up altogether, they can encourage to keep on going. Better yet, invite them out ahead of time for a run–that way you’ll be less likely to sleep in or skip if the conditions are less than perfect (Hint: there’s no such thing as perfect conditions!)
No matter what your running resolution is, chances are it will require some level of sacrifice. You’ll have to wake up early, skip your lunch break, get home from work later, or even miss out on the occasional social event to have the time to get that run in. You may think you’ll find more time and motivation once the weather gets better and the days get longer, but that could be wishful thinking. Instead start at the beginning of the year. If you’ve been able to push through less than ideal winter weather and stay consistent, then running in the spring will feel like a joy! Oh, and did we mention that RunKeeper users who worked out in January were three times as active as those runners who didn’t get a workout in at the beginning of the year? So yeah, there’s some science behind that one.
Remember, a resolution is supposed to be something that inspires, pushes, and betters you. We hope these tips help make 2014 an awesome running year for you!