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New Year’s Resolutions for Runners (Since We Have the Cardio Thing Down)

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As the New Year rolls around and resolutions start being decided, improving in the area of health and fitness top that list. Runners are a habitual bunch. Whether it’s exact mileage at exact times on exact days or the fact that you want to get in one weekday run and log double digits on the weekend. There is a theme, and quite obviously, that is the cardiovascular acclaimed activity of running.  No, it’s not the easiest on the knees or joints and sure, truthfully, there is no coordination required other than managing to place one foot in front of the other but it does get the job done when you are looking to get in some good old fashioned cardio work. So, while others are seeking to log more cardiovascular, calorie torching time in the New Year, runners might want to improve their health and well being in other ways.  Here are 5 resolutions that runners may want to consider for the upcoming new year!

Rethink Your Diet

Most anyone can improve their diet even if it is one that’s “working”. The typical thought process is eliminating or removing a type of food or calories to result in the improvement. That’s not always the case. Some people are guilty of moving from fad diet to fad diet causing a large amount of time or money to be wasted. Others watch the scale stay steady but are on a really boring rotation of the same exact same thing day in and day out that leads to inflexible eating habits and lack of enjoyment.

Resolve to improve your diet in whatever way that means specific to you.  One person’s improvement does not have to be another’s. If you are super-strict on what goes into your body, evaluate the need to relax a little and listen to what your body craves. Another change to contemplate, move from a cheat day to spreading the 3 cheat meals over the course of the week. For some, the resolution to always eat breakfast could be a game-changer. Think outside the normal box. Small changes like adding a new protein such as bison or venison can make eating much more enjoyable and satisfying.  And one simple resolution that’s always in vogue: hydrate more.

Improve Your Overall Well-Being

Mindset, either conscious or subconscious, affects everything, twenty four hours a day, even while we sleep (or for some, can’t). Making sure that our mind is taken care of is just as important as the physical. Most people don’t even know where to begin when evaluating their mindset. Stress is a huge culprit for over or under eating and low athletic performance and it can be caused by work, finances and relationships.

A resolution to refocus your reactions and time spent with specific people could be a good stepping stone.  That doesn’t necessarily mean ridding ourselves of certain friendships, but instead, getting to know someone on the edge of your social circle that seems really nice or concentrating on already supportive ones.

Practicing self-care is also a good choice for helping your overall well-being. For some, this may mean spending more time focusing on religion or the spiritual aspect of their life such as joining a new church or attending bible study.  For others, learning techniques to relieve stress and promote a better mental well being such as meditation, guided yoga or even simply reading more might be a good option.

Strength Training

This is a no–brainer for runners. Every single one of us is guilty of it.  We jeopardize strength training and preventative training simply to get the miles in. Most any runner short on time will log miles over lifting weights, doing plyometrics, core work or whatever else is in their regimen. Maybe 2018 is the year that doesn’t happen.

Pick a set of exercises or target a part of your body and make it a resolution to make it just as important as the miles. Back work would be a great place to begin if you are logging time on your tush all day behind a computer or in the car. A strong back can assist in getting air into the diaphragm more easily.  Meaning the miles you want to log will seem easier and potentially speed you up a touch. Other places to target that are notorious weak spots for runners are hip flexors and hamstrings.

Tossing Out Junk Miles

Even when actively trying to avoid it some “number junkies” cannot help running junk miles. (For those of you who don’t know, junk miles are miles logged simply to hit an arbitrary number of weekly miles.)  If this is you or you’re just reading this for a friend (wink, wink), make the runs this New Year intentional. Map out your week: log a recovery run, do a speed workout, hit a tempo workout, aim for negative splits and finish with a long run. You could take it one step further and make your resolution to be even bigger, become a focused runner or at least one whose head is in the game. Dropping a few miles a week for concise, targeted workouts may make the overall miles of the week feel better mentally and physically because they each have a purpose.

Stretching Your Running Wings

A lot of long distance runners are terrified of the burn of a quick 5k. Alternatively the super-fast short distance runners don’t want to spend the time actually racing a half or full marathon, even if the training doesn’t scare them away. The lack of understanding the new mindset for the new distance is to blame. Maybe your resolution isn’t a full commitment to a new distance but an honest look into what it would entail to focus on a new distance. Educate yourself if you’re truly contemplating pushing yourself with a new distance.

The cardio things is a piece of cake (that we really shouldn’t eat) for runners and so are a lot of other basic healthful lifestyle choices inherently go with that, luckily. When it comes to resolutions, we know sometimes little changes can make the biggest impact.

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