Find Your Focus from New Year's Resolutions for Runners

New Year's Resolutions for Runners

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Find Your Focus

What’s your "thing” this year? Do you want to work on your speed for shorter distances, or build up your endurance for longer runs? Do you want to run more trails or focus on roadwork? Instead of spreading yourself too thin, trying to do everything, pick one area to be your main focus for the year. If you want to focus on speed, spend more time doing interval, fartlek, or tempo training and forgo longer runs. You’ll be more likely to accomplish your goals this way, which will leave you free to focus on accomplishing a new one next year!

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Get On That Race Roster

Give yourself the extra motivation to put on those ear warmers and lace up those sneakers. You’ll be way more likely to get out for a run if you’re working towards something. Whether it’s a mile-long fun run or an ultra-marathon, pick a race that you can get excited about and go for it.

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Be A Hill Seeker

Let’s face it, no one actually likes running up hills. Whether it’s a measly little incline or the steep ascent up Divisidero Street in San Francisco, one thing always holds true: hills are hard. They can make even the best runner feel like they’re about to keel over. But just like the veggies you never wanted to eat as a kid, they’re good for you. Sure, huffing and puffing as you inch uphill feels terrible at the time, but the reward of improving your performance is always worth it. 

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New Year, New Shoes

Let’s be honest, a runner’s feet take a lot of abuse. That’s why it is important to take the time, especially if you are increasing your mileage or are a long-distance runner, to find the shoe that's right for you. Go to a running store and have your gait analyzed. Take a few test laps in each pair the store’s employee suggests until you find the one that feels right. Also, make sure to always size up, a half size or a full one depending on the length of your runs. This leaves room for swelling and will ensure that your new shoes won’t pinch or hurt. (Related: 5 Maximal Running Shoes for 2014)

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Total-Body Training

Like most other physical activities, running requires the use of your whole body. It’s not just your legs doing all the work. By building strength in your arms and core you can reduce the strain on your legs and you’ll be less likely to suffer an injury. 

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Stretch It Out

Running is an extremely repetitive motion, which means sore and tight muscles, ligaments, and tendons are a common complaint among runners. This can lead to a big decrease in flexibility. By incorporating yoga and stretching into your routine, you can increase flexibility and help prevent injury.

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Make Friends With Your Foam Roller

There’s nothing quite like the agony of trying to roll out your IT Band or calf muscle when it’s all knotted up, but in the end, the long term reward is worth the momentary discomfort. Your muscles will feel less tender and tight afterwards, which will make your future runs more enjoyable. (Related: Gear Review: EvoFit's ensō Muscle Roller)


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Engage Your Glutes

Hamstrings problems, like strains, tendinitis, and tears are common ailments for runners. These issues usually stem from weakened hamstrings and overly dominant quads. Quad dominance, or favoring your quadriceps muscles while running, is common for many runners. Focus on engaging all of your lower-body muscles, especially your glutes, in order to run faster and stronger, and most importantly prevent injuries.

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Wet Your Whistle

This one has been beaten almost to death, but since it’s one of the most important parts of running, I’ll say it again. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Being dehydrated will negatively affect your performance and can lead to headaches, fatigue, and muscle cramping among other more serious side effects—especially when paired with running in high temperatures. Drinking water or other non-caffeinated drinks before your run is crucial, especially if you’re planning to run a long distance that will take you more than one hour to complete.

Be prepared to rehydrate during endurance workouts, approximately 4 to 6 ounces every 30 minutes or so. Replenishing the electrolytes you’ll lose through sweat by refueling with sports drinks is a good idea, too. If water fountains won’t be available along the way, and you don’t feel like carrying your own fluids, try stashing a few bottles of water along your route before starting your workout, which will add a fun scavenger hunt element to your run.

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Add Distance With Discretion

Deciding to increase your mileage, whether it’s a big increase or a small one, is a great goal. The important thing to remember is to not rush it. By pushing yourself to reach your goal too quickly, you increase your risk for injury, which is an even bigger setback than not achieving your goal. Listen to your body. If you notice any aches or pains that don’t feel right, cut back on your mileage or give yourself an extra rest day.

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Brooks Nightlife Socks

Socks are a traditional go-to gift, but these sophisticated socks from Brooks Running are too cool to call classic. Moisture wicking means they’ll dry fast and are the perfect pair to pack for a trip. Because they come from the Nightlife line, they’re highly visible and perfect for a late-night run following a day spent at the museums. $14; brooksrunning.com
—Katie Jackson

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Run For Fun

Even if you are slogging through snow or are running on a treadmill, try and find something wonderful and unique to love about each run. Like how you don’t seem to sweat as much when running in the cold, or that one song that came on your playlist that pushed you to finish the last mile.

New Year's Resolutions for Runners