Every year, on New Year’s Day, a large chunk of the population takes the opportunity to make some resolutions for the next 12 months.
Unfortunately, only a small percentage ever keep at it throughout the whole year. In fact, as much as 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February.
But you don’t have to be part of that statistic.
You can come at 2017 with a positive attitude and a solid plan and you’ll finish the year as a better, faster runner.
Not Just Goals, but Achievements
When your goal is to “start running tomorrow,” or to “be a better runner,” you’re probably not being specific enough in your goals. What you’re doing is declaring a great intention, but that’s not really what goals are about.
You can set some really effective running goals by defining what you want to achieve.
That’s the key. Goals and achievements work hand in hand. It’s really hard to have one without the other. So, let’s change the question to: what do you want to achieve this year? Will you:
- Run your first half marathon?
- Run your first full marathon?
- Run on specific days of the week, every week?
- Heal from previous injuries and start running again?
- Improve your running times?
- Run further than ever before?
- Begin cross-training several times a week?
- Introduce someone else to running?
These are just a few suggestions, but note how each has a clear achievement built into it. When you run your first half marathon, you’ll know your goals have paid off.
Tell the World
If “achievement” is the first element of a good resolution, then “accountability” is the second.
They say you should write down your goals to show that you’re serious about them. But, frankly, if you write it down without telling anyone, what’s to stop you from throwing it away?
If, on the other hand, you post your resolution to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and just about every other social media platform, and then you tell your friends and family members what you intend to accomplish, things will change. You’ve gotten others involved, now, and they’re going to want updates on your progress.
Find the Right Incentive
Do you react better to encouragement or pressure? To kind words or serious competition?
If you tell the world about your resolutions, it’s because you expect a response. So, what kind of reaction will help you the most? Some people need encouragement. Others need a challenge. (There’s no way you’re going to let that guy run a 5k before you do…)
So, even if you don’t tell everyone about your running, at least tell the people who will provide the best running incentives.
Always have the right gear for the right job. While you don’t necessarily need the top-of-the-line/most-expensive-thing-in-the-store level of equipment, you should have some quality, reliable gear for every run. Plus, this will eliminate one potential excuse for missing your run for the day.
Before you go out the door for your first run of the year, double check that your shoes are in good shape and not going to cause discomfort or injury. Clothes should be durable and appropriate for the weather. Bluetooth earbuds need to be fully charged so your music, podcasts, or audiobooks don’t cut out in the middle of the run.
Give Yourself a Break
Sometimes we fail. We can do everything right, we can have the best intentions, and sometimes life just gets in the way. The important thing is to understand that this happens to everyone and realize that one failure, one miss, one slip doesn’t have to keep you down.
It happens to all of us, so don’t give up, go easy on yourself, and learn how you can turn this experience to your benefit.
What is accomplishment without reward?
This is how you cultivate optimism. Focus on your accomplishments and the positive moments of every run. More importantly, reward yourself when you reach important milestones.
Final Tips to Remember
January comes and January goes, and for a huge percentage of goal setters, so do all those good intentions.
If you really want to stick to your running resolutions in 2017, consider some of these tips:
Find the fun – If running starts feeling like work, you’ll burn out on it much faster. To keep things fun, try:
- Running with others (also good for accountability)
- Signing up for a race or fun run
- Take a break on occasion to avoid mental and physical burnout
- Running in new places (not just in another gym, but someplace you have to travel to)
- Being an amateur coach and helping someone else enjoy a run
Identify your personal road blocks
– Is it the cold weather? Is it the hot weather? Is it trying to wake up early enough in the morning? Is it a favorite show that comes on in the evenings?
When you know what is likely to get in your way, you’ll be able to find a way around it.
Visualize your success
– Imagine yourself completing your next run. Visualize what it feels like to complete a half marathon. See yourself waking up early enough to run every morning.
Create the perfect playlist
– Music can do a lot to make your run a lot more fun and, in some cases, a lot more effective.
When Resolution Becomes Routine
The best resolutions are often the hardest to achieve, and most running goals fit right into that category. The good news is that while they may be hard, studies have shown that if you can keep at it for six months, you’re 10x more likely to follow through with it to the end of the year.
Find what powers your passion for running, and let that passion fuel your goals throughout the year.
You look outside your front window and see the world beautifully covered in white. You’re content with just watching the slowly falling snow while holding your hot cup of morning coffee. I can skip my run today. It’s too cold and it could be slippery.
You figure you’ll wait till January to recommit yourself to your running routine. Right now all you want to do is snuggle under the covers of your warm bed.
You know that you could run in the winter, but you don’t feel like it.
With motivation and proper clothing, running in winter can be enjoyable.
Here are some ways you can stay motivated and be properly prepared for cold, winter running:
The dark, the cold, the snow. These can easily sap our motivation to commit to our running routines.
The most effective way of staying motivated is through accountability and running with others. Having someone hold you accountable to your running goals and routines will spur you to carry them out.
Running with others is another way to keep you from flaking out on your runs. Knowing that your running buddy will be waiting for you will push you to the finish line.
Dress for The Cold
Depending on where you live, you’ll likely have to brave the snow, rain or both while running in winter. In addition, there may be wind and cold temperatures you’ll have to contend with. To be comfortable and safe during your winter runs, it is important to dress appropriately. How do you know how warm to dress? You want to be warm, but you also don’t want to wear too many layers that you get too hot while running. How do you find the right balance?
Some athletes recommend dressing for a temperature of 20 degrees warmer than it really is. The chilliness at the start of your run will go away as your body warms up further into your run.
Remember Your Feet
Nothing is more uncomfortable than wet, cold and prunny feet after a wet, winter run. When running in winter, it’s important to have the appropriate footwear that keep your feet dry and warm. Choose a pair of shoes that have less mesh and wear socks that wick away moisture that also keep your feet warm.
In the winter months, the hours of daylight become shorter meaning your after-work run will be in the dark. For night running, you want to be clearly visible. Wear reflective, brightly-colored clothing and bring along a flashlight or headlamp to make yourself clearly visible. The light will also help you see where you’re going.
Warm Up Pre-run
The cold air won’t seem as bad when you move around and get the blood flowing before your run. The warm-up will also keep your muscles from cramping up from the cold. If you’re meeting others for a group run, don’t stand around outside too long before your run.
Change Quickly Post-Run
After your run, it is important to get warm to avoid the post-run chills. Change out of your damp running clothes and drink something hot. If your hair is wet, put on a dry hat.
Handle the Elements
Winter often brings adverse running conditions. If it isn’t snow and ice, it is likely wind and rain.
On windy runs, it is best to start your run with the wind in your face and have the wind at your back at the end of your run. The wind can easily bring on the chills after you’ve broken a sweat, so you want it at your back.
You can also choose a running course that has an abundance of wind-blocking features, such as buildings.
Running in the rain or snow can result in wet and soggy shoes and socks. Below are handy tricks that minimize the wet discomfort and quickly dry your shoes afterwards:
- Rotate shoes
- Bring extra pairs of shoes and socks
- Wear plastic bags over the feet inside the shoes
- Insert crumpled newspaper inside drying shoes
Take it Slow
Slippery, wet roads and trails can make winter running dangerous. The extremely cold temperatures can also cause frostbite if you’re outside too long.
Instead of doing a long run, try doing multiple shorter runs. Frostbite and hyperthermia are some of the major dangers that you can catch if you’re outside for long periods of time. If you must do a longer run, do it in the middle of the day when it is the warmest.
Don’t be suckered into hibernating this winter. The cold days of winter shouldn’t stop your running routine. If you’re able to overcome the mental barrier of being unmotivated and the physical barrier of not being appropriately dressed or incorrectly handling the elements, you can succeed in maintaining your winter running routine.
Who knows? Maybe running in the cold of winter will be something you enjoy rather than dread.
Running “to the beat of your own drum” means something very different, and far more literal, to a runner.
The right playlist, playing songs at the right beats per minute (BPM), can have a profound impact on your running pace, your motivation, and your ability to block out that growing sense of fatigue.
The right song, at the right BPM, can help runners learn pacing while they train. And when the beat of the music matches the runners’ cadence, many start to find their performance improving, a more positive mental association with working out, and a great distraction from exertion and fatigue.
How Many BPMs are Enough BPMs?
The general consensus is that the best music for running lies somewhere between 120 and 140 BPM. A lot of genres fit in that range, and you’ll find a lot of mainstream dance, hip hop, and rock and roll in here.
Basically, it’s a tempo we’re rather familiar with.
And it also just so happens to correspond to the average heart rate during a routine workout.
However, there isn’t a single tempo or BPM that will fit everyone’s goals or exercise routines.
The right tempo range for your running playlist will depend on a number of things, from the length of your stride to the type of exercise.
Going for a stroll? You probably don’t need the latest techno-dance-electronica-pop tunes pushing you on. Songs that range from 115 to 118 BPM are great for a casual walk. If you’re more into power walking, then something in the mid 130s should work.
The 120 to 140 BPM range is a good area for regular runs or going for longer distances where you need to pace yourself.
If you’re pushing yourself with some short, fast runs, then you might want to go for something between 147 to 160 BPM.
How Do You Find the Right BPM for Your Run?
You don’t want to start running to the latest prog-metal songs blasting through your earbuds if you haven’t been exercising regularly. You should start at the tempo you feel most comfortable with, then the music can help you maintain and improve your cadence.
There’s a simple test you can perform to zero in on the best BPM for your run.
- Start by running for 15 minutes at a comfortable pace – one that you can keep up for the full 15.
- Count your steps for one minute.
- After a little more running, count your steps for another minute.
- Repeat this procedure at least one more time so you have a good average.
Use this average to see how many beats in a minute will naturally fit with your current running ability.
Can a Soundtrack Really Make or Break Your Run?
For some people, the answer to that question is an absolute yes.
Sometimes, the wrong album, the wrong band, and, most importantly, the wrong beat can throw off your run. Forget “getting in the zone.” Running counter to the beat of your music makes “the zone” something that only happens to other people’s children.
Some studies have suggested that listening to your music can improve your overall enjoyment in the workout, reduce exertion levels, and help the time pass quickly. As runners grow accustomed to this “performance enhancer,” they often find it surprisingly hard to make it through a run without their favorite playlist.
These runners have found that their best runs are all about energy management. When you know your cadence and can keep a steady pace, you’ll be able to shorten or length your strides as necessary. You’ll know when it’s time to push yourself a little faster or ease off a little bit and give your body a chance to rest up.
Music is a timing cue. It helps with pacing. It keeps you going. Choose the right music, build the perfect playlist, and get the most out of your next workout. Just remember that your playlist doesn’t have to run at the same BPM all the way through. You can carefully plan it to enhance the run and keep things interesting.
Simply put, the right tunes can tell your body that it can always go a little faster and a little further.
You see them out there. Runners. Sometimes you see them out doing their thing in the wee hours of the morning while you’re getting ready for work. You may think they’re crazy, and it might be so, but running takes a certain type of person to enjoy it. Here are 10 things that only a runner would know:
- Runners never miss a run. If their schedule only allows for a 20-minute run, then it’ll do. If the weather is bad, well they go out and run anyway. A little rain, snow or ice just adds to the challenge. Running in the heat, however, makes running downright miserable. After all, not even runners enjoy being covered in sweat.
- Runners prefer running in the morning. There isn’t a better way to start the day in the mind of a runner than a brisk, pre-dawn run. As a morning run is ideal, many runners do struggle getting up early.
- Runners use running to boost their energy, not drain it. Many runners feel more alive after their run. Memory, mental alertness and happiness are also observed side-effects to running that many runners experience.
- Runners run harder and longer when they know they are being watched. Just like other physical activities where the participant is on center stage, runners want to look good and show off.
- Runners are devoted to their shoes. Runner strangely get attached to their running shoes and have a hard time getting rid of them when they can no longer be worn. Runners are also devoted to one running shoe brand.
- Runners like to plan their routes. Going on vacation or a business trip? Leave it to the runner to have a running route already scoped out. Runners are also creatures of habit in that once they find a route they like, that is the route they always run. This route comes after careful, in-depth research of local running spots. Runners, therefore, can let you in on all the running options nearby.
- Runners can’t stand being called “joggers.” Calling a runner a “jogger” or their run a “jog” are the ultimate insults someone can say to a runner,
- Runners love carbs. Runners don’t do diets because running burns so many calories. To get ready for runs, carbohydrates are a runner’s best friend. They are something to crave and enjoy, not avoid.
- Runners spend countless hours creating their running playlist. Runners need energizing music to listen to on those long, strenuous runs. As much time as they spend on playlists, most runners only enjoy a handful of the songs.
- Runners run through the aches and pains. Runners won’t stop running for a pulled muscle, cramps or blisters. Their way of working through the pain is seen as a form of strengthening and recovery, not to mention a badge of honor.
While runners and running may seem foreign to some, it is a great physical activity that increases one’s physical and mental health and helps better one’s mood. If you haven’t tried it, grab your music and hit the pavement. Runners also enjoy high-quality headphones that don’t have all the wires. Jaybird’s X3 and Freedom wireless headphones are great for runners, bikers and athletes. The sound quality is the best around, and their Bluetooth, wireless functionality makes it easier to move. Check out our headphones today and add enjoyment to your runs through your extensive running playlist.
As a professional runner of 12 years, you could say I’m just as much an expert at injuries as I am at racing around the world. Injuries are part of the deal. And I’ve learned that while they are the absolute worst for taking you out of the activities you love most, they are also opportunities. Yep, opportunities. Sometimes you really have to squint to see the silver lining, but it’s there. And since I’m 5 months into my recovery from achilles surgery with NO running (gasp), I don’t have to squint anymore to appreciate what those opportunities are. I’ve lived them. So next time you find yourself sidelined from your favorite sport, here are three tips for how to not only survive, but thrive through injury.
- Find the chink in your armor:
When I get an injury, my first reaction is usually full of expletives. But my second reaction is to surrender and look for the root cause. An injury doesn’t just happen. There is a reason, a weakness somewhere that prompted it. A sore achilles isn’t about the achilles. For example, it could be the result of poor glute and hip mobility or mechanics, and if you don’t take care of it, it will manifest in some other way as soon as your achilles calms down. An injury is always an opportunity to fine tune the machine so you can come back even stronger. Have a PT help you with the detective work and make a plan for you.
- Listen to podcasts
One of the things I miss most when I’m unable to run is having time to listen and deeply dive into music, uninterrupted. I have a 2 year old, and own my own business with my husband, so without running, I don’t get a lot of time to really listen to music. There’s something about being out in nature that feels like you are making your very own music video to whatever music you are listening to, bringing it all to life in a way being in the gym never can. Cross training on the elliptical just isn’t the same. So when I’m injured, I listen to podcasts instead. A good podcast gets my mind completely absorbed the way music in nature does, and the time flies by. Not only that but I learn new things. Podcasts literally get me out the door to do the cross training cardio that I would otherwise dread, because it is the only time I get to listen to them.
- Take it out of the lab
Sports can be this great laboratory for being your best self, pushing your limits, setting goals, and refining your body, mind, and spirit for the task at hand. It builds confidence, and perspective. But the point of the laboratory is to take what you learn about yourself and apply it to the outside world. Injury is a good time to put that into practice. Be that kickass climber in the office, or for your family. Attack a problem in your community or your household with the same intellectual curiosity you apply to improving the bike leg of your triathlon. That’s the ultimate test of your athleticism: it’s exchange rate in your every day life.
So while injuries will always suck, (let’s be honest), trust me when I say that these tips will make all the difference.
Yours in Sport,