A blog by runners. For runners.

How to jumpstart your running in 2014

bust-out-of-training-rut

The problem with so many New Year’s Resolutions is that they’re too vague or too lofty. Say you’re a walker, but you want to run a marathon. That’s a great long-term goal, but making such a huge fitness leap within one year may be unrealistic.

Instead it’s better to start small. Set smaller, more realistic goals, and as you reach them, set new goals. This can keep you motivated and keep disappointment at bay.

If your goal is to take your running up a notch in 2014, we have some realistic goals for you to begin with:

For the walker…
Add running intervals. Resist the urge to start out sprinting down the street one day. You’ll most likely be gasping for air after a few minutes and declare that this running thing isn’t for you. Instead, add running intervals to your walking workouts. Start with 5 minutes of walking, then run for 30 seconds, walk for 5 more minutes, run for 30 seconds, and repeat. As you get in better shape, gradually increase your running intervals and decrease the time you spend walking.
Related: Walk/Jog: Why you should both | Short + sweaty: 20 minute walk/jog workouts

For the runner who covers the same loop every day…
Add distance. If you run the same 3-mile loop each morning or do 4 miles at the same pace on the treadmill every evening, it’s time to switch things up. Running further may seem intimidating at first, but remember that you already have a good base. Just try increasing one run each week by ¼ – ½ miles. Eventually you’ll be running 5, 6, and 7-milers and searching for half marathons.
Related: Training plans for 10K, half marathons, and beyond | 6 ways to bust out of a running rut

For the runner who is bored by their running routine…
Try speedwork or sign up for a race. Track workouts and tempo runs are amazing things – they make you faster and while they’re tough, they make you feel like a million bucks when you’re done. If you’re running routine has grown tiresome, add speed intervals. If that’s not enough to motivate you, sign up for a race. Chances are that once you cross that finish line, you’ll want to improve your time – and never feel bored by your running routine again.
Related: Speedwork for beginners (or stubborn veterans) | Find a race near you

For the runner who dreads long runs…
Join a running club. Are you always cutting your 16- and 20-milers short and lining up at marathon start lines feeling undertrained? If so, join a running club. Running with a group may be exactly what you need to get through the long runs. Running with others offers accountability – you’ll be less likely to skip out on a workout or cut it short knowing that others are counting on you. Plus, running with the good conversation of friends can help the miles fly by.
Related: Friends (with running) benefits | Find a running club in your area

For the runner who keeps getting injured…
Take some time off and evaluate your situation. Injuries happen to the best of us. Almost every runner has been sidelined by an injury at some point during his or her running career. But if your IT band has been nagging you on and off for years or you keep getting new injuries, it’s time to look at your situation more closely. Are you taking enough time off from running to fully heal? Are you running in the right shoes? Do you follow moderate training plans and truly run easy on “easy” days? Talking with a sports doctor or a running coach may help.
Related: Track your running | Running injuries (and how to prevent them)

How do you plan to jumpstart your running this year?

Written by Jen Matz.

Psst. It’s also a proven fact tracking your runs helps you stay on target. May we suggest the WalkJogRun training diary?

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