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Here we are, facing down another New Years Day, the time of year when our society resolves to change habits, set new goals, and basically strive to have their best year ever. Runners are definitely no exception, in fact, we tend to thrive on setting big goals. Are you unsure of what running oriented resolutions you should make this year? Let me help get you started.
Resolve to thank your body for what it can accomplish, rather than shame it for what it cannot yet do.
It’s not “only” a 5K. It’s not “just” a twelve minute mile. Running is running, no matter how far or how fast, and running is a pretty badass accomplishment. There are millions, hell, probably billions of people on earth who don’t, or even more unfortunately, can’t run for fun. So thank your body for allowing you to enjoy this sport. Thank it every day, through good runs, and even perceived bad runs.
Growing up, my dad had a bumper sticker on his fishing tackle box that said “A bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at work.” Go ahead and make up your best running version of that bumper sticker (“A bad run is still better than no run”. Or, in my world “A bad run is still better than a good day of housework” ha!), and repeat it often.
Resolve to stop comparing your running accomplishments and abilities to others.
Your running journey is yours alone. It is unique, it is amazing, and it shouldn’t be compared to others. Who cares if Jane hasn’t been running as long as you have, but managed to qualify for Boston already. Don’t stress over the fact that Bob put in far less weekly mileage than you did, and still managed to finish a 100 miler, while you took a DNF. Do not let the accomplishments of others overshadow your own accomplishments, or sell your own abilities short. Your running ability, your training journey, it’s all yours. You are exactly where you are supposed to be in this moment. Own it. Experience it. ENJOY it.
Resolve to be happy for other runner’s accomplishments, no matter how big or small.
Mother Hen Heather lecture time: jealousy looks bad on everyone. Belittling someone else’s accomplishment because it’s not a big deal in your personal running world isn’t cool. We are all in this together, it’s not called an endurance community for nothing. Be supportive: it’s contagious!
Resolve to BELIEVE that you are capable of that big, scary goal.
Listen, I completely understand this one because I’ve been there myself. It’s hard to look at others who seem (or frankly, are) more experienced, better prepared, faster, stronger, etc. and believe that you have any business toeing a start line in their company. But if you want something bad enough, if you train properly, you are absolutely capable of achieving your goals. Stop doubting yourself. Start believing in yourself. And while you’re at it…
Resolve to stick to your training plan.
Dreams and goals are awesome, but they don’t work very well without a plan. Yeah, sometimes you can fake your way to the finish line (believe me, been there, done that) but it’s so much more rewarding when you put in the effort. I promise. It’s worth it.
Resolve to practice and appreciate rest.
Your body is such an incredible machine! And as such, it needs rest. Rest days and cutback weeks are such an integral part of a training program, yet they are something that our society has been conditioned to despise. There is such a misconception that doing more is better, and downtime makes you weaker. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
There is no prize for running the most miles, no special badge for “not missing a Monday”, and certainly no gauge that measures your actual level of “beast mode”. Which leads me to my next point:
Resolve to listen to – and respect – your body’s needs.
Feel an ache in your hip that won’t go away? Twinge in your plantar fascia that brings you to tears? STOP. Listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs, when it needs it. Running is a lifetime sport, but only if you take care of your body. The world won’t stop spinning if you have to take an unplanned rest day, but do you know what will stop your running world temporarily? A stress fracture.
Resolve to share your joy of running with someone else.
Invite a new friend out to the trail. Offer to accompany a co-worker who really wants to start the Couch to 5K program, but doesn’t know where to begin. Or, just go run some miles with friends! Sharing your love for running with others is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give!
Resolve to have FUN.
Running isn’t something you have to do…it’s something you GET to do. How freaking lucky are we?! Make new running friends. Enjoy adventures with old ones. Take the time on the trail or the road to stop and truly appreciate the moment you are in. Have FUN.
Happy New Year, my friends. Wishing you 365 days of endless, effortless miles!