Sometimes we figure out what we should do by understanding what we shouldn’t do. In that vein, if you’re hoping to actually keep a resolution that will make you a better runner in 2019, we’ve compiled a list of resolutions you should definitely not make. Instead of setting yourself up for failure, we provide suggestions to make your goals more attainable
Because this resolution is entirely dependent on how other people perform, it’s setting an impossible goal for you to work toward. This goal has nothing to do with you, so how will you possibly make a plan to train toward it?
RESOLUTION FIX: Make a goal that doesn’t depend on another person, like achieving a personal best in a 5K or running a half-marathon in less than two hours. Then, look for a training plan that supports that goal and get started.
A goal like this is looking toward an end result with no clear idea of how to get there or where the sticking points will be. For runners, pairing healthy eating habits with regular training helps you hit a healthy weight. Go beyond and figure out where you’re struggling to make healthier choices. Where are you making choices that are making weight loss difficult?
This might be great for some people (like those who have 8 p.m. bedtimes), but for most of us, a regular 4 a.m. wake-up call is going to do more harm than good. If you’re not a morning person, setting your alarm clock for 4 a.m. when you’re used to an 8 a.m. wake up is going to leave you exhausted, and you’re unlikely to get in a good workout. If you can finesse your schedule so you’re still sleeping 7–9 hours, go ahead and set that alarm a little earlier … But don’t think training in the morning makes you ‘better’ than if you trained after work.
RESOLUTION FIX: Train around your schedule and your natural preferences — “I will get the sleep I need and train appropriately,” is probably a better goal.
If your goal is ‘don’t eat sugar,’ and you say it to yourself every day, guess what you’re thinking about? Yep, sugar. This all-or-nothing approach also often backfires spectacularly and leads to binging when you break it. Instead of thinking “no sugar,” try to come up with a positive spin on that resolution.
RESOLUTION FIX: Consider a positive resolution like “I will eat an extra serving of vegetables every day” or “I will drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day,” are great ones.
Life happens and so do injuries. You’re almost definitely going to be sidelined at some point during the year, whether it’s for travel or for a sore calf muscle — and feeling guilty for skipping one day out of a 365 run streak is ridiculous. It’s too easy to get derailed entirely and quit.
RESOLUTION FIX: Set a more realistic resolution like, “I will run 5 days a week and cross-train the other two” — or, if a run streak sounds great to you, maybe consider a “move every day” streak instead of a run streak. That way, you can walk if you feel an overuse injury coming on or sneak in some hotel-room yoga if you’re traveling.