It’s New Years Resolution season. Maybe you set a goal to run a 5K or a marathon or a trail
race in 2021. You got a new watch for Christmas, you bought some new running shoes, you
stocked the pantry with healthy snacks. Motivation is high. Here are 5 ways to approach your
running new year’s resolution sustainably.

1) Run Easy: Yes I know it seems counter intuitive, but running easy is the only way to run
sustainably. Let me paint you a picture of why we don’t stick with our new years running
goals. We go out for a run, we are super motivated, we run hard for a few days, we
sweat a lot, we feel like we got a great workout, by day 4 you have a lingering pain in
your lower leg. You take a few days off, then you go out and run hard, it feels ok, you run
a few more days but have a sore calf. You feel discouraged with the pain and wonder if
your body just isn’t what it used to be. RUNNING DOESN’T HAVE TO BE LIKE THIS.
See, muscles take time to strengthen. Running easy might not help you sweat out your
New Years Eve indulgence but it will set you up to run healthy and comfortably for the
year. Just because you can run 5 miles hard does not mean that you will improve by
doing that. Running 15-20 minutes easy at first will allow your muscles to gradually
develop and give you a better chance of running injury free. The idea of “no pain no
gain” is WRONG. Run easy, be consistent, and over time you will improve dramatically.

2) Actually Run Easy!: If you are huffing and puffing you are running too hard. To run
sustainably, run easy. Breathing should be controlled, you should feel like you could talk
to your running partner without getting out of breath. Forget the watch, run a smooth
controlled effort and don’t let an arbitrary pace dictate your running effort. Running an
easy effort will help you reach that New Years resolution goal!

3) Walk Breaks are GOOD: When you are getting into running, planned walk breaks can
help you increase the duration of your run without creating more exhaustion. If you come
to a hill, feel free to take a quick brisk walk break, if you feel you are running a little too
hard, take a quick walk break, want to enjoy the view, enjoy a quick walk break. Walk
breaks will allow you to maintain an easy effort for a longer duration, and become a more
sustainable runner.

4) Be Consistent: I feel you. Getting up early to run in the dark and rain before work is not
fun. Neither is running in the cold after a long day in the office when all you want to do is
eat Doritos on the couch and watch Netflix. Running on these days is tough, but in a few
months it’s going to feel good when you do something you didn’t know you could do.
Give yourself a chance and fight for that goal!

5) Make a Plan: Skipping a workout is really easy when you don’t have a structured plan for
each day’s session. When you set a goal, take time to create a road map for that goal.
Creating a plan will make reaching that goal much more likely. Print out a calendar and
plan rest days and workout days and easy run days. Put your goal race date in BOLD on
the top of the training plan. Stick to it! Draw on your motivation that made you set the
goal, and remember to run easy!

When you become a runner, you join a world wide community of humans working to
daily improve themselves. We all have stories of successes and stories of failures, but
the joy is in the journey. Good luck, train smart and run happy!

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