Like other areas of our lives, a new calendar year allows us to reflect upon our running and how we want it to feel for the next 12 months. Since our energy and time is limited, it’s advantageous to take a step back and ask ourselves what we want from our relationship with running for the next year. While you think about your new year running goals, implementing these five things into your plans can keep you motivated, help you run faster, and increase your authentic love of the sport.
Listen to Your Gut
When you stop for a silent moment, what do you want from running this year? I’m big on intuition and following your inner voice of curiosity. If your little running voice says, “chase a big PR” and that feels good to you, go after it. If you’re being pulled to spend a year of consistent, relaxed running, do that. Who knows, you may change your mind in a few months. Be open and tune to to what feels right for you this year.
Make a Goal
Once you’ve established how you want to structure and move forward with your running this year, it’s time to set a goal. While you might go toward a time goal or mileage goal, maybe your goal is different: run one race a month, meet your running friends twice a week, run for charity, or run a race in a different state. Keep in mind that these are your goals, so if it doesn’t feel good to create the goal and set yourself on the journey, then it’s probably not the right goal for you. You’ll know when the goal(s) feels right, and when it does, write it down, say it aloud, and do the things that will set you on your journey.
Stick With It
Fact: you will not always feel motivated to run. You’re human! Even the elites aren’t always motivated to run. Try to stick through it when you feel unmotivated but don’t burn yourself out. When you feel unmotivated, ask yourself why that might be and make changes to get yourself on track. Vary your terrain, change speeds, sign up for a race, or take a day off. There is no rulebook. Remind yourself that you’ve felt unmotivated before and it’s not a permanent feeling. Keep going, add lightness and enjoyment to your running, and before you know it you’ll be on the other side of your funk.
Go Easy & Practice Patience
Are you always striving – in your life and your running? While this may give us the results and accomplishments we’re looking for, the constant push can lead to burnout. Get in touch with yourself and when it feels right to take it easy. Be sure each hard workout is followed by a recovery run as your body’s chance to restore and build. You will not grow in your training if you do not allow yourself the chance to rest. If you’re not where you want to be in your running (or your life!), practice patience. Put in the strategic work, be diligent, forgive yourself, rest, and enjoy the process. The results may not come overnight, but with patience, you will delight yourself over time.
Find a Running Crew
These are the no-drama, no-pressure friends who will be by your side through the miles. They’ll show up for a run in the dark, listen to your dreams and worries, and give you the extra push just when you need it. Some running friends become best friends, while others we meet strictly for the weekly camaraderie pushing through workouts together. You know you’ve met your crew when you can show up exactly as you are and at the end of the run, you feel a little bit closer to your best self and your goals. What’s not to love about this special relationship?
What would your running look like if you took the extra step to implement these practices? If you make these tweaks, and spend a little extra time reflecting, listening, and committing to your running community, you’ll feel excited and inspired entering a new year of running. These tiny changes can make a giant difference in your year of running.
What’s one thing you would add to make this your best year of running?