My running buddies and I were talking about our 2015 goals the other day, when a friend asked me if I was going to try to break my marathon or half marathon PR. I’m not. Then I asked her the same question, and it got me thinking:
Why are most running goals and resolutions based around PRs?
Well, because training hard, racing, and beating our personal bests is fun! A PR is proof that hard work pays off.
But there’s certainly more to running than setting personal records. If you’re looking for a non-PR, running-related goal for the New Year, consider these ideas:
- Take your runs off-road: If you’ve never tried trail running, give it a go. Many runners say they fall in love with running all over again when they take their run off the beaten path and explore some of nature’s finest. Due to uneven surfaces and natural hazards, most people run slower on the trails than the roads, which can be a nice change of pace for speed junkies.
- Challenge yourself with new types of running workouts. I stepped foot on a track this year for the first time since I ran track in high school – which was well over a decade ago. I’ve always been intimidated by track workouts, but I’m so glad that I gave them a try. I hit paces that I’d never seen before and I got a rush out of running around the track that I hadn’t felt since I was a teen. Make 2015 the year you try track workouts, hill repeats, or tempo runs.
- Brave a new running club. If there’s a local running group that you’ve considered joining, what are you waiting for? If you always run alone, running with a group is a great way to switch things up. You’ll meet some training buddies, learn more about the local running scene, and you may even enjoy your runs more.
- Recycle old shoes, race shirts, and finisher medals. If you have a few years of running and racing under your belt, you’ve likely racked up quite the collection of shoes, shirts, and medals. Donate your tired running shoes to Give Your Sole. This organization collects shoes at races and redistributes them to men, women, and children across the country. Have your race shirts made into a quilt. Preserve your race memories by turning your race shirts into a quilt. Check out Project Repat, a US-based company that makes quilts in several different sizes. Give your race medals to Medals4Mettle. Through this charity, runners can pay it forward by donating their race medals to people who are battling serious illnesses.
- Mentor a new runner. If you have a friend who signed up for his or her first race, offer to join him or her on some runs. Chances are, he or she will have lots of running-related questions and would love the help from an experienced, supportive runner. You never know, you may get so much out of mentoring that you decide to pursue coaching.
- Volunteer at a race. Hop on the other side of the aid station table and give back to the running community. See how you can get involved to volunteer at a local race. Races are almost completely run by volunteers, so most are happy to hear from people who are eager to help.
Written by Jen Matz.