Training

The One Running Goal You Can Keep This Year

Tired of breaking your goals and resolutions by February? Time to make them simpler.

running goal

The new year is fresh with the promise of something better. We wake up on the first of January with the notion that this might finally be our year. Even if we are still feeling the effects of too much midnight champagne from the night prior, we believe this will be our fresh start to get that promotion, start shopping organic and stop eating pre-made cookie dough directly out of the tub. (Just kidding—no one should live without that dough.) Regardless, we’re ready for changes and excited to see what the future might hold.

If you’re a runner, or if you hope to become a runner, you probably have a running-related resolution. Whether it is completing your first marathon, dropping your pace per mile from 12 to 10 minutes, or simply running a mile without stopping, you know one thing for sure: You’re going to go hard core. No excuses. No slacking off. You’re going to crush that goal.

Sound familiar? It does to me too. I’m the queen of both grandiose resolutions and of the subsequent failure to achieve them. Recognizing this slight personality defect, I decided two years ago to make just one simple resolution I knew I could keep. Every year, I now vow to make my life more interesting. Sure, it seems vague, and it is— intentionally so.

For many of us, New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside the second we feel like we have failed to keep them in even the smallest of ways. By casting a wide net, I have found it much easier to maintain momentum, which in turn creates lasting change. This resolution has propelled me to take more trips, try new restaurants, race different marathons and make a conscious effort to form new memories.

When it comes to running, I have a propensity to feel beaten down, regardless of the goals I set. Had to work late and couldn’t get my scheduled run in? Sounds like I better quit my training plan altogether. Drank a couple of margaritas the night before a long run? I guess I just won’t go. My pace per mile is slower than I think it should be? Might as well walk.

So this year, I’m sticking with the wide-net plan for running by setting “anytime” goals. I’m not committing to running races in a certain number of new states or setting a personal best. Instead, I am going to focus on one very broad objective: to try to fall in love with running a little more every single day.

My resolution may find me running more marathons or fewer. It may encourage me to run slower or faster. It may take me out onto the mountain trails or lead me to explore new city routes. The beauty of such a simple resolution is that it can be anything I want it to be, but the end result is the same: a renewed sense of vigor  and purpose for the sport I  already adore. Happy New Year, indeed.

5 Resolutions from New Year’s Past
(Spoiler alert: I broke them all.)

  1. Stop biting my nails. I tried and failed 27 years in a row before I finally started getting fake nails.
  2. Stop watching so much reality television. This lasted a solid 24 hours.
  3. Stop eating fast food. I broke this promise every year until I had to adopt a gluten-free diet that left me no choice.
  4. Spend less than $100 at Target just once. It’s a work in progress.
  5. Wear bottoms other than yoga pants on the weekends. Meh.