We may be slightly late to the party, but it’s never too late to improve your running with our ten New Year’s Resolutions for Runners. Enjoy!
1. Start running
Everyone's got friends who never stop gushing about the power of running with all the zeal of the converted. Well, there's a reason for that. It's fantastic for your mind and body. Start small. There are loads of programmes and organisations like the NHS programme Couch to 5K and Park Run and books and blogs aplenty out there to help you. Mixing walking with running is fine too!
2. Create a routine and record your progress
Linked to 1., if you create a routine and stick to it, you are more likely to succeed at anything, not just running. Keep a progress chart and set targets and you'll get more out of your running and get fitter faster. There are running watches and apps to help you track your progress too, but a paper record can work just as well.
3. Add some variety
This might sound contradictory to 2. but once you're up and running, a bit of variety can really spice things up. Try a different training route. Experiment with a new Park Run – they come in all shapes and sizes. Try a new distance. Vary and make small improvements to your diet. Marginal gains can make a massive difference on race day.
4. What about yoga?
A weekly session of yoga will help relax those tight runner’s hips and hamstrings and help bring a whole new dimension to your mental approach.
5. Find a running mate or group
Park Run has proved beyond all doubt the power of the group. The camaraderie and competition are an unbeatable combination. If you run with other people you are more likely to keep it up – quite simply you spur each other on. Find a training group or train with friends. Perhaps you could even encourage a friend to start!
6. Tackle your weaknesses and celebrate those successes
Slow starter? A weak finisher? Lack motivation or consistency? 2019 is the year to work on these areas. But don’t forget to celebrate every step you run, and particularly those landmark moments. Completing your first 5K. A new PB. A 50th Park Run. Whatever it is you deserve a pat on the back... a celebratory meal with maybe even a small tipple!
7. Set targets, enter a race
Setting achievable targets is a great form of motivation. Success breeds success. In particular, entering and completing a long-targeted race is a very fulfilling experience. Do dream big, but don't be unrealistic - that can lead to demotivation and disappointment.
8. Add speedwork and/or hillwork to your training
Interval training or sprint training will boost your basic running pace and could take minutes off your PB. It is also good for your heart and burns calories quickly. Hillwork improves your strength and endurance.
9. Buy a piece of new gear that makes you smile!
As a running shop, we would say that, wouldn't we? Of course, having good quality running shoes, correctly fitted is going to improve your running experience, but on top of that, sometimes a nice accessory like that funky running top or all singing and dancing runner's watch can simply make you feel good and more confident. It all adds up.
Sometimes a relaxed shuffle in the sunshine can be as enjoyable as that lung-busting push for your PB. Do a fun run occasionally and enjoy the scenery!
Happy New Year and happy running everyone!