Running is a fantastic way to stay healthy and fit. That said, it can be difficult to stick to your routine if you’ve been pounding the pavement for awhile, and it can be even harder to get started and stay committed through all of life’s ups and downs. Here are just 22 resolutions to keep you fit and focused as a runner in the new year.
1. Start Small
Don’t get so carried away in your enthusiasm that you run too much too fast. Stick with a three- or four-week fitness plan that eases you back into the world of running with walks, jogs and endurance-building exercises.
2. Change Your Diet
Once you start running regularly, you’ll need increased amounts of carbs, proteins and omega fatty acids. Start keeping nuts on your desk and eggs in your fridge. If you’ve vegan, up your intake of raw vegetables like spinach, carrots and broccoli.
3. Buy A Heart Monitor
The right kind of heart monitor can track everything from your distance to your average recovery time. You can also use their data to calculate your aerobic target zones and create new running plans based on your evolving fitness needs.
4. Go To The Gym
“No!” you cry. “I’m already running! You can’t make me go to the gym too!” But increasing your overall strength, coordination and flexibility will make you a better runner too.
5. Know Thyself
You’re probably aware that some people have flat feet while others suffer from high arches. But did you know these variations in foot type also correlate to variations in running style? Learn all about them and see where your foot strikes fall.
6. Remember to Rest
Running every day is just as bad for you as not running at all. Studies have shown that overtaxing your calves can lead to muscle fiber necrosis and “significantly impaired” function.
7. Get Others Involved
Accountability can be a powerful motivator. You’ll be much less likely to skip your evening jog when your friend is waiting at the park or your dog is eagerly sitting by the door with the leash in his mouth.
8. Record Everything
Log your hours and distances. Make a note of every pound lost. Being able to look at tangible results from your running will keep you motivated and energised for what’s next.
9. Start Doing Pushups
Your legs may power your run, but your upper body strength is what gives you form, endurance and speed. Aim for 5-10 pushups your first week and then increase the number by 2-3 every time you exercise.
10. Check Out the Shops
Is there a running shop in your neighbourhood? Even if you don’t need any gear, stop by and see what products they offer, what classes they host and what inspiration they might have for new runners in the new year.
11. Mentor Someone Else
If you’re an experienced runner, consider taking a newbie under your wing. Their passion will keep you passionate as well, and you never know when they’ll find some fact or tidbit that surprises even you.
12. Drink Chocolate Milk
Studies have shown that a glass of chocolate milk after your workout will strengthen your bones and give your body a much-needed dose of protein and sugar. Who says it’s only for kids?
13. Know Your Weaknesses
What stops you from running? If it’s bad weather, invest in a treadmill for rainy days. If the weather is hot, buy yourself some new gear that will keep you cool and stylish.
14. Fix Your Breathing
The simple act of changing your breathing can have drastic effects on the length and quality of your runs. Try it out and see for yourself!
15. Make Running Friends
The Internet is a great way to find like-minded individuals with the same goals or routes as yours. Get online to see what kind of friends you can make in your area who are just as devoted to a great year as you are.
16. Find New Hobbies
Enthusiasm in one area of your life will bleed into the next, especially if you discover a love for something like martial arts or rock climbing. Running will help you excel in those areas too.
17. Buy the Right Shoes
Once you understand both your foot type and your running style, find a good pair of shoes that will keep you sprightly and uninjured on the track.
18. Sign Up for an Event
Join a marathon, triathlon or some other kind of “-thon.” It will improve your dedication to running on those groggy mornings when your bed looks so much more inviting than the world outside.
19. Listen To Faster Music
Scientists once performed a sneaky study where they increased the tempo of the music cyclists were listening to while they exercised. The cyclists weren’t consciously aware of the change, but they still pushed themselves harder and were able to cycle longer without knowing why.
20. Change Your Route
It’s easy to lose motivation when you spend every day running on the same old trails with the same old trees. Shake things up by running through a mysteriously foggy forest or along the beach at sunrise.
21. Make Your Goals Non-Negotiable
Do you ever tell yourself that you just “don’t have time” to brush your teeth? Are you ever so “stressed from work” that you don’t dress yourself in the morning? Make your running goals as non-negotiable as your other daily tasks.
22. Take Up Yoga
There are even special yoga poses for runners that will improve your breathing, strengthen your balance and increase your flexibility. Grab a mat and get on with the downward dogging!
These are just 22 ways for runners to live a happier and healthier new year. Do you agree with the resolutions listed? Is there anything you’re going to do that you would encourage others to do so as well?