The start of a new year is ripe with promise and, for many of us, it’s the time when we recommit ourselves to our health and fitness goals. Let’s be honest, this usually follows the form of “workout more, eat less.” And while we may start the year with the best of intentions, our tendency to set unrealistic goals and become frustrated when progress is slow (hey, we’re human!) can lead to abandoning those resolutions altogether.
The good news is there are real, attainable resolutions that you can make right now to help improve your running. Even better? You can keep these all year.
Stop saying, “I have to run today” and replace it with, “I get to run today.”
When you’re tired, busy and stressed, a run can feel like just one more thing you have to do in the day. This is even more true if you’re struggling with motivation or working your way back to fitness. Whenever you find yourself thinking that you “have to” run on any given day, try looking at it as a privilege, instead: You “get to” run! After all, there are plenty of injured, busy and sick people who would love to take your place!
Commit to core work, once and for all.
Core work doesn’t have to be complicated or lengthy in order to be effective. Just a few minutes a day can make a huge difference in your running and endurance and reduce your risk of injury. Set a goal to do just a 5-minute core workout after each run—you’re already sweaty anyway! And of course, there’s an app for that (try Barre3, Aaptiv or one of the hundreds of fitness apps out there).
Ditch your GPS watch once a week.
Let’s face it: running with a GPS watch can sometimes put undue pressure on you. Whether you’re having an off day or just pushing yourself too hard on a regular basis, they sometimes can do more harm than good. Try “running naked” (that is, without your watch!) one day a week and run only by feel. If nothing else, you’ll remind yourself why you fell in love with the sport in the first place and just zone out.
Dial in on your “why.”
On those days (or weeks, or months) when you’re struggling to get out the door for whatever reason, you need to know why you started running AND why you run now. They aren’t necessarily the same thing. Sometimes we start running for one reason (to deal with stress, or lose weight, or any number of reasons) only to find that those reasons no longer motivate us later on once the situation is resolved, the pounds are gone, or whatever else. When you know why you fell in love with the sport and focus on your motivation for running today, you’ll find yourself more enthusiastic about your commitment.
Wear sunscreen on every run.
Seems self-explanatory, but for many time-crunched runners, it’s not a given! I fall into that category more often than not. As runners, we’re outdoors constantly and therefore susceptible to tons of harmful rays from the sun, no matter what our skin tone. Cover up before you head out and save yourself the agony later!