Tonya Boyer is the publisher of Rocky Mountain Running & Triathlon Magazine. She shares tips to help you stick to make your running resolutions a reality.
Just weeks ago many of us started the New Year with a great list of resolutions. That list probably included some type of health or fitness goal. Most people have the best intentions to work toward a healthy lifestyle by aiming to be more consistent in workouts and training, to lose weight, to run a marathon, or to just merely start running. These are great and noble goals that should not become a distant memory, as often happens with our New Year’s Resolutions.
Here are 5 simple steps to keep your resolutions a reality this year.
1. IDENTIFY THE SMALL STEPS
While it’s always fun and exciting to dream, new running goals have the potential to do more harm than good. If you set a goal to just run a marathon, any marathon, in 2010 and you attempt that distance without proper training, it will not be fun and may even sour your feelings toward any future running. Identify, and write down, the small steps you must take to achieve the end goal. For example, if your goal is to run a 5K, the small steps would be to run a full mile without stopping by a certain date, then jog for 40 minutes straight by a later date, and finally get that 5K under your belt. Sign up now for the race so it becomes a real goal with a real completion date. If your New Year’s Resolution is to finish a marathon, the small steps would be to register for and run a 5K race, then a 10K race, a half marathon, and finally complete the full marathon. By tracking and charting your small steps, you will be able to see progress. Progress is a priceless motivator.
2. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
If you think deep down inside that you won’t achieve a specific goal, you probably won’t. You must believe that your mind and body can work together to accomplish something hard. Talent alone does not make a runner. Every training run is not going to be fun, and sometimes it will be hard and painful. Only the belief that your hard work will pay off gets you out the door on many days.
3. SHARE THE GOAL WITH OTHERS
A goal that is kept quiet may not seem real, so share your ambitions with close family and friends. It’s much harder to quit your training plan or burry the marathon hopes when those people are now watching and waiting. They are anxious to support you and provide feedback. You feel accountable to them and to some degree, you pride is on the line.
4. ANTICIPATE BUMPS
Rarely, if ever, does anyone achieve a running goal without any bumps along the way. They may be large bumps such as a stomach bug 2 days before the big race, or they may small bumps such as snowstorm on the day you need to run 5 miles. Have a Plan B. Instead of 5 miles in the blizzard, you can go to the gym or rec center and run the mileage on a treadmill, indoor track, or combination of both. While it may not be as fun or efficient as an outdoor run, you will still gain benefits from getting in the mileage. If you get that stomach bug 2 days before your big race, rest up until you are completely better. Your body will maintain the majority of your fitness level, so don’t throw in the towel. Start running again when you can, and sign up for the next possible event. You won’t have to start training all over.
5. CHANGE THINGS UP
Runners who set their alarm clock for the same time and run the same route each day are sure to run into a wall of boredom. Our minds and bodies need variety. Beyond just changing up your running route, cross-training exercise such as swimming, biking and yoga will do much to help prevent a burn-out. As an added bonus, cross-training will strengthen muscles not normally used in the run, but those which will ultimately make you a better runner.
Tanya Boyer is the publisher of Rocky Mountain Running & Triathlon Magazine. Her main job, however, is that of mommy to three young children and wife to the most patient man in the world. Triathlon and running are her way of staying young and mobile.
Rocky Mountain Running & Triathlon Magazine is an information source for runners and triathletes in the Mountain States. To subscribe for home or office delivery, visit www.rockymtnrunning.com.