1. Know that most New Year’s resolutions fail. So go easy on yourself. The best way to succeed is to choose some small goals to achieve throughout the year.
2. Make your goal concrete, not something nebulous like I’d like to improve my time this year or get better at running. Be specific. If you want to improve your time, then set a specific goal of exactly how fast you want to run. Or how many seconds or minutes you want to drop off your time. 3. Pick a race. The easiest way to succeed at following through on a running goal is to set a goal. Choose an event. But make sure it’s far enough out to give yourself time to adequately train for it.
4. Lacking motivation to race? Mix it up. Change your distance or location. Race a 10K instead of a half marathon. How about racing in New York City if you’re a small town runner, or at sea level if you’re a mountain runner. Or go international and visit somewhere you’ve always wanted to go.
5. Need an even bigger challenge? Take on the World Marathon Majors: Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City. Of course, this may cover a few years of New Year’s goals if you’re not (like many of us) racing full time.
6. Okay, maybe running isn’t the problem. If you tend to just run, run, run, then commit this year to mixing it up more by adding weight training, swimming, cycling or even yoga to your routine. You’ll likely see improvements in your running by trading out a running workout for another form of fitness. As for the yoga, it will help keep your muscles flexible as you age, which is critical for staying off injury.
7. Hydrate. Yup. This should be a no brainer. We know that coffee is tempting, but it’s probably safe to say that most of us could benefit from drinking more water. Your body will thank you. The old rule of eight glasses a day is still a good starting point.
8. Eat more chocolate. Life can’t be all work and running. Okay, after you hydrate, a little piece of dark chocolate a day is actually good for you. Studies have shown that it’s good for your heart, brain, circulation, and full of antioxidants, which help battle free radicals, aging and even disease.
9. Sleep more. Why not try to get to bed before 10pm more often. Sleep is critical for your body to rejuvenate. In fact, recent studies have actually shown that during our sleep the neural system actually “scrubs” the brain and removes toxins while we sleep. Sleep is also critical to retaining information. Basically, we feel better and our brains work better with sleep.
10. Smile more when you run. Sometimes it’s hard to tell by the grimaces on our faces that we actually like to run. Many of us even love to run. Show it and let your smile be contagious to others. Maybe it will encourage them to start running, too.