My running experience in 2016 was pretty successful. Despite an early-year injury, I ran two marathons (one on trails in 93-degree weather, one on the roads) and a 50k. I completed a number of other crazy races and felt stronger than ever for most of the year.
But I ended 2016 on a low note. As winter comes in, my mood always lowers. Running outside gets more difficult mentally and physically due to the conditions. My last race was a 15-mile one, and I dropped after 10. I was checked out mentally, and that left me feeling worse about the experience. I’ve been in a rut.
So for 2017, I am making new resolutions for many things in my life. Some are not worth discussing here, but my running resolutions for the year certainly are! And they say the best way to accomplish a goal is to make it public so that you work for it.
- I am already signed up for two marathons in 2017 (again one in spring and one in fall). I would like to run another 50k trail race this year as well. Not the same one, hopefully, as that one featured five loops.
- I want to feel better while racing. I don’t need to be faster, but I want to be stronger physically. I want to suffer less. I understand that running long distances will always mean suffering, and if you’re not suffering enough you’re not pushing yourself enough. But I think I can get stronger to make the difficult times less difficult.
- I will improve my attitude and thus my mental strength as well. The more you complain, the more you believe that you can’t do something. Similarly, the “fake it until you make it” mentality is true. If I act as if I’m having fun, even when it sucks, I will have more fun.
- Speaking of which, I’m going to have more fun. If I’m running a race and come to a beautiful scenic area, I’m going to stop and appreciate it. If I want take a new direction on a training run to see where it goes despite it adding miles, I’ll do it. If I can run with different groups, even people significantly slower than I want to go or have time to go with, I’ll join them. This is, after all, supposed to be fun.
- I’m going to meditate every day. That’s another good way to build that mental strength and reinforce what is important to me.
- And speaking of that, if it’s not important to me, I’m not going to do it. I may not run a race that all my friends are running. There’s no shame in that.
- I’m going to run more hills in training. Every week, I will run hills. Have to build up those muscles for the hardest part of racing.
- I’m going to use my off days for other productive activities, like yoga or strength training. Build those muscles, after all.
- I’m going to volunteer for a race or activity that I won’t be running. Never done that, but volunteers are the real heroes of these experiences. Especially those out there in crummy conditions.
- I’m also going to eat better. More protein, less fat. Not just before a race but all the time. This will help me with all of the above.
A local running-related podcast and radio show did an episode about resolutions versus goals and how to properly create goals. It is not by doing what I did above – making bold, sweeping statements of things I will do or not do. You’re supposed to break them down into measurable pieces and put criteria to them, such as running 15 miles every Saturday or such.
But I am not that organized, and I know even the best intentions may fail. These are resolutions, not just goals. They will be adjusted and fine-tuned daily. And I’m sure my moods and frustrations will get the best of me often in the coming year. I have to be prepared for that. I think making these kinds of resolutions will work for me, and the goals to meet those resolutions will come with time.
Now I have to get started!