As year-end approaches, it’s time for many of us to start coming up with New Year’s resolutions, race schedules and goals for the upcoming season. It can be tempting to fall back on the old ones: PR on X race that you enter every single year, lose those 5 pounds (for the 10th year in a row), run every day …
The list of classic runner resolutions is a little boring, so maybe this year, it’s time to change things up. We asked a few coaches what they’d love to see runners vow to do in 2019.
BECOME MORE ATHLETIC
Running is great, but it doesn’t check every athletic box. “Become a better all-round athlete,” says coach Kyle Boorsma, who hops on the bike for some of his cross-training. “Rather than obsess about some mileage target, put extra energy into developing athleticism. Add a circuit routine, play pick-up soccer for cooldown at a group session or anything else that gets you moving in different directions and speeds.”
“I’m trying to convince athletes to make a little time each day to work on their individual functional movement restrictions through foam rolling, band work and/or mobility exercises,” says Matt Fitzgerald, run coach and co-author of “80/20 Triathlon.” “I think that’s a great New Year’s resolution for runners. It’s something every runner can benefit from and it’s not an onerous commitment to make.” Five minutes of foam rolling a day can make a huge difference when it comes to preventing injury and improving recovery.
HELP A CHILD START RUNNING
“Encourage — and help — young runners to take the time to remember why they like to run,” says Todd Hammond, a high school cross-country coach. “Stop stressing about results, times, placings; just get a young person running. There is a time for goal setting, and it is important to have a sense of where one wants to end up. But sometimes we need to balance that with just ‘going for a run.’” So invite your daughter, son, niece, nephew or any young person who could use some outdoor activity to go running with you regularly this year. Bonus: That step away from the stress of run goals, and the act of helping another person find the sport, might help you remember what you love about running!
GO LONGER … OR FASTER
Pick one or the other for this year, but don’t try to get faster and go longer at the same time. If you’ve classically been all about adding mileage, maybe this is the year to set your sights on speeding up by adding an interval set each week or targeting a 5K instead of a marathon. If you’re usually a short race kind of person, maybe step up to a half-marathon or some longer effort that makes you run more long, slow miles.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
A lot of the runners are lacking in the sleep department. Those 4 a.m. runs are all well and good once in a while, but when the nights of sub-six hours of sleep start stacking up, getting up early for a run is hurting you more than it’s helping. If you fall into the “I’d rather skip sleep to get my run in” category and find yourself skimping on snoozing more than once a week, set a goal to prioritize zzz’s over PRs. Your body will thank you — and better recovery plus a stronger immune system keeps you healthier than those extra miles in the long run.
HAVE MORE FUN
At the end of the day, most runners reading this article aren’t getting paid to log miles. We’re running because it’s our chosen form of exercise, our emotional outlet, our mental reset. It’s something we consciously make an effort to save time for, so we should enjoy it. Related: Every time you’re out on a run, try to smile at least once. Even a forced smile can help turn a grumpy mood around.
RESOLVE TO NOT RESOLVE
Hammond adds that the resolution he’d love to see more athletes making is no resolution at all. To not make a resolution doesn’t mean you’re giving up — it just means things are already trending positively and you’re steadily working on adding good habits, sticking to your training and staying the course throughout the year.
When you’re already setting goals throughout your running life, maybe adding new goals isn’t necessary.