Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A New Years Resolution to Run: 10 Ways to Ensure Success!

With the new year just around the corner many people will be making resolutions. A new year and a fresh start: Isn't it a beautiful thing? I don't know this for sure, but it seems that making resolutions to lose weight and/or get in better shape are the most popular among Americans. I'm only making this guess based upon the sharp and sudden increase of sweaty bodies vying for the treadmills and ellipticals at my local gym around January 1. Now, I'm no expert, but I've noticed that the hoards of eager, flabby bodies tend to thin out (and by "thin" I mean dissipate... not lose weight!) after a few weeks. What happened to the determination? Where is the enthusiasm they felt as the new year began?

I know some of you who visit Marathon Mommies have no problem sticking to your resolve to get out and run and stay in shape. Maybe you're one of these people, but maybe you aren't. Maybe you know someone who wants to make a New Year's Resolution to stick to an exercise routine and make it a habit in their life throughout the year. Of course there are plenty of options besides running to lose weight or get in shape, but here at Marathon Mommies we're a little biased. I can just hear you thinking: "What? There are other ways to exercise besides running?!" Not that I would know personally, but that's what I have heard. I have some advice for you New-Years-Resolution-makers out there. I'm going to stick with what I know and focus on running as the exercise of choice.

1. Set a date for a race or fun run. Register for it now. Look for a race at www.racecenter.com or Google races in your area. Spend the money now to race in a few months and you'll be sure to stick to your goal!

2. Don't set unrealistic expectations. Start small. Build from there. If you are new to running, don't set a goal to go out and run 3 miles on January 1! Set a goal to jog for 1 minute and walk for 3. Increase your minutes running and decrease your minutes walking as the days and weeks pass.

3. Be accountable to someone - a real person - not just a piece of paper or a blog. :) Tell someone you can trust about your goal and encourage them to ask you about your goal frequently.

4. Run with someone! For me this is absolutely the most important thing to assure my success. If you know someone is waiting for you at a designated time and place, you won't want to let them down.

5. Set a time to run - preferrably in the early morning. If you keep telling yourself throughout your day that you'll do it later it will be a negative weight on your mind and not a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment like it would be if you had done it first thing in the morning.

6. Lay out your clothes the night before. I know this may seem silly, but this eliminates the best excuse you can come up with in your sleep-induced stupor in the early morning hours: "I don't even know where my shoes are!"

7. Pick a training schedule so you know exactly what you will be doing each day ahead of time. Hal Higdon is a well-known, knowledgeable and respected coach who has made many of his training programs available online for free. Check them out - I'm sure you'll find one that is just right for you.

8. Pick a route ahead of time. Whether you like to run the same route everyday or mix it up, there is a better chance that you'll stick to your goal if you know where you will be running ahead of time. Don't know where to run? Try a site like mapmyrun.com to see where other runners in your area like to run.

9. Give yourself a day off every week. Fatigue is a sure-fire way to give up on a resolution to run!

10. Don't beat yourself up for missing a day. Life happens and sometimes that means you'll miss a run here or there. Don't give up on yourself or your goals just because you aren't perfect! If you were perfect you wouldn't need to make resolutions in the first place!

Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone else find success in their running goals. Email a link to this post to anyone you think would benefit from this advice. Come back to Marathon Mommies often and let us know how you are fairing. We are here to cheer for you and give you the help, advice and encouragement we all need. I hope these pointers will help you or someone you know be successful in setting a New Years Resolution this year.

Comment here to let us know what YOUR New Years Running Resolution will be! Join our New Years Resolution Running Contest starting January 1st here at Marathon Mommies. Stay tuned for details.

9 comments:

Roxanne said...

Thanks for the post, it is so true! My new year resolution this year is to take it nice and slow and be realistic. I have found that pregnancy requires a different approach when making running goals. The biggest is being able to know when to stop. This is hard for me because I love running and I don't want to give it up. Having a healthy pregnancey is obviously more important. So this is my plan to train for the Salt Lake half marathon: Take it slow - meaning slow down my pace by almost a minute, I am not running for time. Run shorter distances - don't get too worried about following a schedule exactallly. Be prepared to walk during longer runs, it may need ot walk during the race and I am ok with that. Most important, if it hurts too bad or gets in the way of me taking care of my kids the rest of the day then it is ok to stop! Things are up in the air when you are pregnant when it comes to running, I might feel fine or it might be impossible, I am prepared for either outcome. I think the mental preparation is going to be most important.
I ran today as I head into my second Trimester and it felt great. I have been unable to run for the last three weeks and have been dreaming about running. It was a good but slow three miler (10 minute miles)I was just happy to be out there. The future is unknown so I am just going to enjoy the experience for what it is.

sarah k. said...

Hey Roxanne, don't disparage us 10-minute-milers! That's my everyday pace. Maybe I should make it my goal to average 9. Heaven forbid I should ever try to go faster than that.

My goals are usually shorter term, like a month. I'm going to add two minutes per day to my weekday runs, and then the Saturday run will be at least double the weekday run. So Next week, 5 days of 20 minutes (don't snicker! It's taken a long time for me to get over the last pregnancy) and the Saturday run will be 50, since last Saturday was 45. That means that by the end of January, I should be able to run 6 miles easy.

So I'm going to look for a 10K in February. I would love to aim for a half marathon in April or May, and I even signed up for the Indianapolis, but my husband just told me he has to go out of town that weekend. :( Then, I think I'll try for my first marathon in the fall.

I ran today (Thursday).

Roxanne said...

Hey Sarah, I was a 10 min. miler for a long time there is nothing wrong with that. It is great you are running! Think of all the people out there who do nothing.
I finally broke past my time last year and began to run faster so it is hard to go back. I didn't care about my time for the first several years that I ran and I think it was a good thing. In a way it can be a curse. I ran a 15K this summer and had the goal to run 8 min miles. I accomplished my goal but the whole race I was thinking this is not fun I don't like running fast. In a way it took away all the parts of running that I love. I usually want to run faster but feel like I am putting forth the same amount of effort. I think you have some great goals and as you increase your distances and frequency of running you will naturally get faster.

Ang said...

Put me down for a run on Wed. It was so great. I used my Garmin for the first time AND I got to go with my brother and sister in law who will be running the half with me in a couple weeks. Too fun!

Team Hanni said...

Suzie, great post! My goal (like most of you) is to work through this marathon training program and complete my first ever FULL MARATHON - I can't believe I am doing this, really. It is so nice to just be told how many miles to run each day instead of making it up each day. Anyway so far it's going great. Mark me down for a run Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

SeanandJess said...

When I started running again last year I was at 11 minute miles. 1 year later of consistent running I am down to averaging a 9 minute mile. My New Year's Resolution this year is to get to an 8:30 min mile and to incorporate more weight training too. Count me for a run today (Thursday).

Ang said...

Count me for a Thursday run.

After three days of running outside, it really was the DREADmill today!!

Sticky Niki said...

My New Year's running resolution is to run 600 miles--50 miles a month. This is about what I am doing now, but the idea is to keep it up, right?

Annie said...

Thanks for the mapmyrun.com link. Never knew about it and it is super helpful!