How to Keep Running without a New Year’s Resolution

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Is it too late to say Happy New Year?! I feel like the holiday season was a bit of a blur. A good blur, like looking at my fuzzy Christmas tree lights without my glasses in the morning as I sip coffee. But with two kiddos set free of school work, it was full of busybodies. The 11 year old’s obsessive sugar cookie making combined with the 14 year old’s determination to hangout with every single friend he has over the break, gave it a bit of a whirlwind-ish vibe.

Things also got bigger.

My heart got bigger from spending time with friends and family, my stockpile of goodies got bigger from gifts, my tummy got bigger from all the enjoyment of said gifts. (Thanks for the Sees Candy, dad!).

But bigger is indeed better sometimes. As you know, I’m all about celebrating you, right? Well, at this time of year, I’m shakin’ even bigger pom-poms at you. Why? Because now is a great time to take stock of all your running goodness, your fitness focus, and other healthy shenanigans that pulled you through the past year. It might not have been perfect or even pretty,  but noticing your strengths and giving yourself a big ol’ pat on the back for whatever got you moving will help launch you into in the new year with purpose.

And no, contrary to popular everything, you don’t need a resolution.

Of course, if you want to make one or you already have one, saweeet! Do what works. Even if you’ve got a plan, these tips for nailing your new running year might help you stay on track. Because, you know, things get a little slippery around April-Easter-Candy season and you might find your resolution wadded up among the Cadbury egg wrappers at the bottom of the basket. Or, almost as bad, you might forget what your goal was altogether. Ahem. That would never be you or me, but just in case….

Here’s my lucky number 7 tips for nailing the new year without a resolution (plus my free Winter Running Motivation Guide download!)

1. Celebrate YOU. First of all, take a minute (or ten) to give yourself a big foam finger thumbs up for all the workouts you’ve done this past year, all the schedule juggling to fit in your runs, all the times you pulled yourself out of bed in the wee hours to get it done! Dude, you did a bunch of stuff! Take a little run down memory lane (which counts toward weekly mileage, by the way), and take stock of your awesomeness.

2. Use momentum. Use the energy you’ve built with your running and fitness this past year to run into the next. No matter your level of fitness, look how brilliant you’ve been for figuring out how to do it. Stay with it. Grab your hubby, your partner, your support crew and be creative about your running schedule. In a recent Runner’s World poll, 42% said they run early in the morning. There’s a reason for this – it’s called get it done!  Whatever your running schedule, use that momentum you’ve made to keep things going.

3. Redefine “treats”. This is a big one! The word “treat” is often associated with, say, buttery scones, mountains of cheese-induced inactivity, grand expenditures, time away or just plain skipping things that are healthy. The media doesn’t help. Ads constantly tell us (and our kids!) what you should have “when you’re good” and what you “deserve.” Don’t get me wrong, I love a good pile of onion rings, stinky cheese, and a couch nap as much as the next gal, but I’m working on defining “treat” as something healthy. If I have a great run, I’ll treat myself to a super healthy smoothie, to a 1/2 hour earlier bedtime, to a quick yoga session in my bedroom, to 15 minutes with my Trail Runner magazine. Take a wee peek at how you “treat” yourself and pick something that celebrates the runner’s body that keeps you moving.

4. Let the gifts keep giving. Gift yourself  a  race registration, a mileage bench-mark, trying 3 new routes, or something that will keep your eye on running in the next few months.

5. Make it fun! Use the new year vibe to check in with running friends. Buoy each other, keep the laughs going. Running mates help me shoo away the post-holiday blues that sometimes creep in. Rekindle the simple, sweet and fun!

6. Remember, everything is connected. When I workout, I eat better. My mind is clearer to make better choices about food and my health in general. I actually floss more when I’m on a strong running streak. I know, crazy, but true. Simply sticking to a basic “get out there” plan has a wonderful ripple effect.

7. Warm up slowly, finish on top. When the weather is still cold, like it is here in Oregon, I tend to start out more slowly. I use these first steps of the morning to think about how lucky I am to be able to run and appreciate nature along the way. My tight muscles and chilly lungs thank me by warming me up, eventually, so I can finish strong. If you’re getting back into building a longer run after the holidays, finish when you’re feeling good. Your body remembers that and gets excited about your next workout.

With the days so short, the mornings so cold, and the excitement of the holidays behind us, take some time to celebrate the workouts you’ve accomplished. Use that momentum to keep that ball rolling and  “treat” yourself to continued fitness. Whether you’re a beginning runner, a long-time pavement-pounder, or a trail junkie, I’m celebrating you!

And if you need some serious mojo motivation, grab it below with 7 more tips on staying strong this winter.

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Whatcha think? Throw me a comment here - thanks!