We all know generally how New Year’s resolutions go, but when done right — with measurable progress and concrete goals — resolutions can take you and your running to the next level. There’s nothing quite like setting resolutions around running that delivers big on benefits, from your first strides all the way to the finish line. Here are eight reasons to make a resolution around running something you’ll want to stick with.
1. IT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY
Exercise is responsible for boosting your endorphin levels, but that often isn’t enough to keep you from ditching the gym. Luckily, the runner’s high is a real thing. According to recent research, your brain responds to running in much the same way it responds to marijuana. Cue the stress-free, feel-good way to stick to your resolutions.
2. IT’S A CHEAP WAY TO WORK OUT
If you’re looking for a way to get in shape, there’s no sport with a lower barrier to entry than running. All it takes is the willpower to lace up. Unlike other means of working up a sweat that might require a lot of gear, hitting the trails is a totally wallet-friendly zone. It’s just you and your sneaks.
3. IT WILL HELP YOU LIVE LONGER
It’s no secret that running is good for your body, but studies have shown that it can actually help you live longer. One study noted that sticking to a running routine was associated with lower levels of disability as you get older and a “notable survival advantage.”
4. YOU CAN DO IT ANYWHERE
A break in your routine is one of the biggest derailers of fitness-focused resolutions. Sticking with your workout plan can easily crumble at the first business trip or class cancellation. The great thing about running is that you can do it anywhere, so excuses not to hit the pavement (or treadmill) are hard to come by.
5. IT’S THE PERFECT WAY TO EXPLORE
When you are on the road — whether for work or vacation — running can be one of the best ways to see the sights. Going for a jog, especially those long ones, is a great way to get a sense of a new city. Pick a must-see spot and set your run in that direction. You’ll not only keep up with your workout schedule but get to see a place in a totally new way.
6. IT’S A GOOD EXCUSE TO TRAVEL
Running is also a great reason to travel. Every year, more and more races pop up in cool cities across the globe. You could plan your entire year around wanderlust-worthy race travel. Whether you’re running your first 5K or your millionth marathon, reward your accomplishment by signing up to race in a place that’s at the top of your travel bucket list.
7. YOU’LL HAVE A WHOLE NEW SET OF FRIENDS
No matter where you are, run clubs, run-focused meetups and race communities are a thing. As an added bonus to your new friend group, research has actually shown that you perform better when you hit the pavement with some pals.
8. THERE’S NOTHING LIKE CROSSING THE FINISH LINE
No matter how extensive your running résumé, there’s nothing like that feeling you get when you cross the finish line. That’s a feeling that will keep you motivated all year long.