It’s a new year and a new running season. What’s on your agenda for 2023?
However cynical you may be about New Year's resolutions – and your ability to stick to them – most of us will start 2023 thinking about the year ahead and setting ourselves new goals. For runners, that might be to get back into running, make your habit more regular or aim for a new PB. Or it could be more holistic – maybe you want to revamp your nutrition strategy or finally stop talking about doing more strength and conditioning, and actually do it. Whatever it is, TBMPOY've got plans and training advice to help you. And if you haven't decided yet what 2023 should hold – here are some suggestions to kick off the year on a positive note.
Make 2023 your big running year with our 8 New Year’s Resolutions for every runner to focus your running and get you to break those bad running habits.
1. Set a target
Whether it’s running your first 5K, a new half marathon PB or losing weight, challenge yourself with a 2023 milestone. Focusing on your ultimate goal will help structure your running as you build up to your target, and give you that extra bit of willpower to keep going when the going gets tough. Keep your target realistic and set small achievable interim goals to keep up that motivation.
2. Try Something New
Shake up your training, be adventurous and keep your motivation and interest levels up by making 2023 the year you try something a bit different. If you’re tackling the fells for the first time, entering a triathlon, taking on your first ultra or even exploring new running routes, changing things up keeps your training fun and challenging.
Runners tend to be creatures of habit and it’s all too easy to become stuck in a rut. Why not embrace a bit of change this year and enter a different race or tackle a distance that you’ve never done before? By mixing things up and keeping your running goals fresh, you are much more likely to remain motivated.
3. Be Consistent
Whatever you want to achieve from your running in 2023, whether it’s further, faster or lighter, it won’t happen without consistent training. That means scheduling in regular, quality training sessions, at least 3 times a week, for maximum endurance and performance benefits. Make training sessions an ingrained part of your lifestyle or social activity by running with friends, joining a running club or making Parkrun a regular Saturday morning fixture.
4. Reward Yourself
I've been listening to "The Power Of Habit" by Charles Duhigg (great read) and he talks about how to create a habit you need a cue to do the habit, and a reward after. My cue and reward definitely need changing up as they're not particularly productive so I'm wondering what everyone else's reward is!
All habits come from a cue, and end in a subconscious 'reward'. For example if your habit is eating junk food, the cue could be "I'm craving junk food", you then eat junk food, and the subconscious "reward" is the satisfaction and the buzz from the sugar you've eaten. I think I might be confusing a few by using the term "reward" and not explaining it fully! The 'reward' can literally be anything from 'the enjoyment of running' to 'being able to sit down after' to 'downing 10 pints of Guinness'.
5. Love Your Running
Don’t forget, the most important part of running is enjoying it! Make the pursuit of this year’s goals a positive one by keeping your training interesting, fun and challenging. When training doesn’t go to plan, remind yourself that every runner has off days and keep at it. Run with friends, always greet fellow runners with a smile, and even take a new runner under your wing.
Share your love of your sport and make 2023 your year of running. Good luck!
6. Take Rest Days
This may seem like the antithesis of setting a goal to run more, but recovery days will increase your longevity as a runner, helping you to stay healthy and avoid burnout. Risoli said that one of the biggest mistakes a runner can make is to not take the time to recover between sessions. “Recovery is just as, if not more, important that the actual training because it’s the time the body is remodeling and becoming stronger,” she said. “If you skip this step, your body keeps breaking down and could result in injury.”
And mix it up—cross-training does a body good. Running is such a linear, repetitive and high-impact activity, Risoli said it can be good to add in some lower-impact activities, too. “Biking, rowing or swimming are great ways to cross-train and continue to build endurance when you’re not running,” she said.
7. Join a Running Group
If you want to meet training partners, discover trails and stay accountable, a running group could help. Most groups host weekly runs at all levels, ranging from those training for a 5K to ultradistance runs. The Meetup website is an easy way to search for groups in your area, and a good resource if you’re traveling and want to join some local runners.
Can’t find a club nearby? Start your own. Enlist a few friends, hang posters around town and set a weekly time and place to meet. Developing a community you can rely on will keep running fresh and exciting, with the added bonus of catching up with friends old and new.
8. Stretch more
Let’s face it, stretching is probably never going to be the highlight of your training programme, but it should be part of your routine. Little and often is the key here. Just five minutes of stretching after every easy run can help to keep injuries at bay. Muscle fibres will remain short and tight if they are not stretched to their normal length after exercise. Over time this can lead to shorter and tighter muscles that are more prone to tearing. For runners the main muscle groups to stretch are calves, hamstrings, quads, gluts and lower back. Remember, five minutes is better than nothing at all!
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