New Year’s Resolution Reset
by Connor Hesselbirg, PT, DPT
New Year’s is a time for a lot of people to look forward, setting goals for what they want to accomplish in the next 12 months. For runners, creating a resolution can be simple. Like wanting to run a certain amount of miles throughout the year, or amount of days to run out of the year. You can also have a time you want to run for a certain race, that can qualify you for a bigger race like the Boston Marathon. Creating goals for yourself is always recommended and encouraged in the running community, and I am here to tell you how to keep them.
A major key to keeping your resolution throughout the year is to hold yourself accountable. You can do this by creating short term goals throughout the year, like splitting up your resolution into mini resolutions. For example, if you want to run 2,000 miles this year, split it up into 12 months. So each short term goal for each month is to run at least 167 miles (rounding up so we strive for success). Cutting it up into short term goals makes the resolution look less daunting than a big number like 2,000. Keeping track of each month will also make it easier to see how you are progressing. You can maybe run 200 miles the first 3 months of the year, and see that you are actually exceeding expectations and want to keep the momentum going. Or vice versa, you notice one month in the middle of the year that you got a little lazy or busy and ran 130 miles, and have to adjust your plan in order to keep your resolution.
Another way to hold yourself accountable is to bring others along for the ride. This can either be done by having a running club or training buddy that have similar goals or ambitions as you do. You can also use fitness tracking apps like Strava to both track training and allow others to see how you are progressing as well. Everyone loves a good “kudos” after each run, and I’m sure you will be returning the favor as well! Being able to humbly brag about some great runs can be very encouraging, and should use that enthusiasm to continue pushing towards your goals.
If you want to keep your resolution private, you can always journal your runs as well. I think journaling each run is the best way to keep yourself honest with your training in general, not just trying to keep a resolution. You can look back days, weeks, months, even years and compare to how you felt in the past to right now. And I’m not just talking about the length or time of the run. How did you feel about it? Did you feel like you could go longer, or forever? Was it not the best day for you to run, physically or mentally? Did the run relieve any stress? What was the weather like? Did that impact your ability to run faster? Did you have any random thoughts on the run that can help you with work or a relationship? All of these questions can and should be answered after runs, because you can look back on it and see patterns in your training. Like how doing a certain workout made the rest of the week of training feel pretty crumby, or running a certain pace a few days a week made you feel better by the end of the week. There is so much information you can gather by just putting your thoughts into words that you can look back on.
Journaling can also be helpful for any future resolutions. Maybe you had an injury you never really thought affected you until you look back and notice how many miles you were missing out on. Or work was incredibly busy for a few weeks and you had less time to get some extra miles in. That can help create future goals for yourself when you become a better and faster runner.