Runners love to make New Year’s resolutions. Keeping them, however, can prove to be a different matter entirely. Check out these top-10 tips on how to stick to your 2018 running-related New Year’s resolutions. From those that seek quiet inspiration to those who prefer to shout about their exploits from the mountain tops, there are nuggets of advice for all types of runners within this list.
1. Keep an inspirational journal
Create a journal and fill it with your goals for the year and some inspirational quotes. As you progress throughout the year add photos, write about your adventures and collect things that help build a story. When motivation dwindles (and it will) open your journal and read back through the pages. This will remind you why you started and allow you to see how far you have come. Suitably reinvigorated, look at the next chapter of your story, lace up your shoes and get out there to complete your journey.
– Mary Wilkinson, winner of 10 Great Britain mountain running vests
2. Take up streaking
While taking a nude run can be a liberating experience, this isn’t the type of streaking I’m talking about! See the New Year as a clean sheet and the perfect time to set a simple challenge – to run everyday and continue this ‘streak’ for as long as possible. On days when you lack training motivation, having this goal will give you a little nudge to get out and run. Set streak rules from the start. I suggest a minimum distance of 3km, which can still comfortably be achieved on ‘rest’ days. Even when I’m travelling, I’ve been known to jog around the airport terminal for the sake of the streak!
– Brendan Davies, Australian international ultra runner and coach (read his A-Z of ultra running)
3. Scare yourself
Sign up for something that scares you. Not something that just intimidates you – aiming to go slightly faster at your favourite local race won’t cut it. This has to be something that makes you want to involuntarily jump behind the sofa, grab a teddy, stick a thumb in your mouth and start whimpering. Straight afterwards – and it must be straight away – tell all your pals. There’s no backing out now. You’ve bullied yourself into getting fitter than ever. If still scared, distract yourself by ogling all the new kit you’ll need to buy for your scary challenge.
– Damian Hall, UK outdoor journalist tuned elite ultra runner (12th – and 1st Veteran 40+ at 2017 UTMB)
4. Make it visual
I’m a visual type of person and having reminders of my goals really helps in achieving them. I like to put pen to paper and hang notes, maps of race routes or upcoming challenges and elevation profiles in places where I will see them regularly. One of those is on the mirror in the bathroom, so every morning I’m reminded of my goals and can visualize them.
– Yassine Diboun, set the fastest known time for a supported run of the 453-mile Oregon section of the Pacific Crest Trail
5. Sign up for a race
Gain added motivation by signing up for a race that challenges you in a new way (such as trails for road runners, or roads for trail runners). Make sure the race is before May. That way you are focused from January, rather than putting it off like you might for a summer race.
– Scott Dunlap, renowned US ultra runner and blogger
6. Seal the deal
Break down your 2018 goals and targets month by month. Write them all down and put each one in a sealed envelope with the month on the front. Once sealed, try to forget about the specifics of your targets. Instead just enjoy your training and racing. At the end of every month open the corresponding envelope and see how close you came.
– Dave Archer, top UK marathon runner now obsessed with trails
7. It’s a long year – so pace it!
Lots of running is all about pacing yourself and so I always ask, ‘Am I enjoying it?’ If the answer is yes, then the pace is good. If the answer is no, then I drop the pace a bit. Using this mantra, I let people go off ahead of me at the beginning of a race, but then catch them later when they implode. It’s the same with New Year goals – you have to pace them. Don’t bolt out from the gate too hard in January and risk imploding by February.
– Marco Consani, Scotland-based 24-hour and ultra running guru
8. Dare to go public
Make a resolution and then go public with your promise. Tell as many people as possible, announce it on social media (in between posting images of your shoes and log all your sessions online. That way you’ll be under more pressure to deliver the goods and it will motivate you to get out and run.
– Ben Mounsey, elite UK-based trail, fell and mountain runner (read his Why I Run blog post)
9. Make it a January resolution
Instead of making a New Year’s resolution I make a January resolution. Some might say that’s cheating, but committing to something for a month is much easier than a whole year and it’s more motivating too. A couple of years ago I gave up sugar for a month and vowed to run up and down my local hill (Dufton Pike) 31 times (one for every day in January). I worked away from home for more than half the month, so had to run it several times on some days!
– Morgan Donnelly, former British fell running champion
10. Keep it simple and reward yourself
It can be all too easy to set yourself loads of massive targets in the New Year, but don’t get carried away. One resolution kept is worth more than ten that fall by the wayside. Hone in on just a handful of goals that you really want to achieve and that give you a buzz when you think about them. Promise yourself rewards if you achieve them (a new jacket, a meal in your favourite restaurant etc).
– Anna Lupton, Great Britain trail running international
….. and if you seek more 2018 excitement
Yes, we are launching a world-first in the summer of 2018, and yes we are pioneering the use of wonder-material graphene in sports footwear. Our New Year’s resolution? To bring you the world’s toughest grip in 2018.