Making a New Year’s resolution is an important tradition throughout the world. Every year around January 1st, we think of one or two goals, and we make promises to reach those goals through hard work and self-improvement. Unfortunately, for most of us, resolutions tend to lose momentum during the first couple months of the New Year. But this year doesn’t have to be that way.
Although running is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, it’s also one of the easiest to give up on. This time of year, the weather is colder, the sun sets earlier, work schedules aren’t getting any shorter — the challenges are endless. But recognizing challenges doesn’t mean you have to prepare yourself for failure. You can easily achieve your resolution to get into (and stay into) running for the New Year by following these tips:
Don't Make Excuses:
It’s human nature to make excuses, procrastinate, and fill our minds with self-doubt when we are most stressed or vulnerable. Getting into a new activity like running requires a huge step outside one’s comfort zone, and anxiety is completely natural whether you have problems starting your run or finishing that long, final stretch.
If you have problems getting started or finishing your run, don’t use this as an excuse to stop trying. Instead, rethink how you motivate and talk to yourself during challenging parts of the run. It sounds simple and maybe even a little strange, but positive self-talk is key to becoming a consistent, frequent runner. Instead of negative thoughts like “I’m so tired,” or “I can’t do this,” try reevaluating why you’re taking steps toward becoming a consistent runner. Every time you feel tired or challenged during a run, praise yourself with words like “I’m making steady and noticeable progress toward a healthier body and mind.”
Set Realistic Goals
When starting something new, it’s easy to get excited and set unrealistic, unachievable goals. Being unable to achieve goals leads to frustration and disappointment that could result in the long-term abandonment of your running goals.
Try setting short-term goals for distance and time. Instead of aiming to run a marathon at the end of the year, focus on slowly and steadily increasing your weekly distance and time. And — most importantly — congratulate yourself on achieving these short-term goals.
Start Slow and Build Your Way Up
During your first week of running, you may experience minor stiffness and soreness if you’re not properly adjusting your body to your new regimen.
Each day for the first 3 weeks, spend no more than 5-7 minutes running followed by 2-4 minutes of walking. Walking keeps your body active and burning fat while slowing down your heart rate.
Listen to Your Body
You are exercising too hard if you become extremely sore during or after your run. Keep in mind that the goal isn’t to overwhelm your body. Ignoring your body’s aches and pains can lead to discomfort, injury and discouragement.
Eat & Drink Healthier
It’s always important to be mindful of what you’re eating and drinking, especially for those who live active lifestyles. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, both of which will help you achieve your running goals and see results faster.
If you’ve developed a habit eating unhealthy foods, it can be hard to transition to healthier options. Start by throwing out all tempting foods high in sugar and fat and replace them with your favorite vegetables and fruit. Keep your energy level up with foods that are high in protein, like black beans, for example. And never forget to hydrate with water.
Get the Right Gear!
Having the appropriate running gear can either make or break a run. Be sure to have multiple exercise outfits for both warm and cold weather, along with lightweight running shoes that properly fit. And, of course, don’t forget to get your Lock Laces®! These no-tie shoelaces are made out of elastic cord so, after you tighten the two-cord lock, you never have to stop running because of untied, flailing nylon laces. For more on how Lock Laces® help your feet during a run, make sure to read our blog posts about overcoming the triathlon transition and running at dusk.