If there’s one thing that is guaranteed with the start of a new year, it’s a New Year’s resolution.
After a festive season of relaxing and overindulging in alcohol and delicious (yet calorific) food, it’s unsurprising that the most common New Years’ resolutions involve, exercising more, eating less junk food and overall adopting a more healthy lifestyle. Simply head to the gym at the beginning of January and you’ll see how many fresh faces are embracing committing to becoming more active.
The problem, however, is that resolutions are hard. More often than not, people will choose wildly ambitious goals without preparing to take them on. The other issue is setting a vague goal like ‘I’ll run more this year’, which doesn’t put any pressure on missing training sessions and means you won’t have a solid goal to work towards.
Along with our friends at England Athletics, we’ve come up with some top tips to help you stick to your New Year’s resolution and continue to stay active throughout the year.
Think bigger than a resolution
Instead of going into your new fitness routine with the mindset of a resolution, give yourself tangible goals to work towards. By creating a plan with targets to meet, you can work towards a specific result and hold yourself accountable for slacking off.
Seasoned off-road runners Neil Mckie and Emma Davies are perfect examples of people who take the idea of a New Year’s resolution and turn it into a practical tool.
“I make a plan, not a resolution. I look at the races I have already booked, check to see if there are any more I want to book in and then plan my training. It's all about the plan,” says Neil Mckie.
Emma Davies agrees, saying “Like others, I make a plan rather than go down the route of a New Year’s Resolution. My plan involves more half marathons including trail half marathons and hopefully my first marathon in the autumn if I can get a ballot place.”
If you’re the type of person who needs more structured targets, life coach and former international athlete Christine McMiken-Spier uses what she calls the secret sauce recipe to turn goals into results. The technique works by counting backwards from your main goal:
5. Result — Let’s say run a 10km by the summer
4. Actions — Write the goal down, read it daily, schedule days/weeks in advance with the steps needed to achieve the result, determine your race schedule, take 15 minutes each day to deal with the doubts coming from the primitive brain, hold yourself accountable to the plan
3. Feeling — Confident
2. Thought — I am fully capable of nailing this challenge
1. Event — Goal setting for 2020
Find a training partner
Like any other sport, finding a friend to train with you is one of the best and easiest ways to stay motivated for your runs. Running with a partner keeps training fun, helps you stay at your optimum pace and allows you to push each other to improve more than you would by running solo.
If you don’t have a friend who can commit to the same running schedule as you, why not get involved in a running group? RunTogether gives you the opportunity to run with like-minded people in a friendly and inclusive environment, whatever your goals are.
Donna Lewis, who is a member of Trails Snails Bingley and RunTogether, says she wants to “Run with others at my pace (10 1/2 min miles)” whereas Rachel Lowe says her goals are “1) To encourage more people to run at their pace. 2) To build people's confidence and 3) To teach people it's not about fast it's about getting out & enjoying what's around us”
“You can join a club if you’re not a member already”, says Martin Rush, Head of Coaching and Athlete Development for England Athletics, “take a look at our website and you’ll find one near you”.
“You’ll benefit from the amazing coaching clubs offer, meet like-minded people with goals and a challenge of their own. You will get excellent advice and support from club coaches up and down the country and friendly training partners to help you achieve your goals. Good luck!”
Get yourself the right kit
Running regularly is key when sticking to your fitness goals. If you let a little bad weather put you off your training, you’ll find it really difficult to stick to your goals. Luckily, we have a fantastic range of performance-enhancing running gear to keep you comfortable in all weather.
Run to a set time
Choosing a certain distance to run as a target is a good place to start, however, it can be easy for your workouts to feel stale if you keep running the same distance every time. Instead, try setting yourself a time limit to work towards. If your usual route takes 12 minutes to complete, try to push yourself to finish in 10. This means you can still run the same distance while keeping yourself motivated.
Steve Kotara of Baswich’s Run4Fun group is a RunTogether member and says he wants to “Complete my 1st half marathon, run under 45min for 10km and aim for a sub 20min 5km”, Hannah Boast is another member and says a PB of under 24 mins for 5km is at the top of her list. She also wants to run a PB of under 50 mins for 10k and complete a half marathon with Steve. These are great examples of setting challenging, yet achievable goals for the year. Great goals for 2020 and our life coach Christine has some great words of advice:
Life coach Christine McMiken-Spier also offers her advice, saying “If you want to achieve something new, then it also makes sense that you need to believe it. The thoughts you think repeatedly are what you believe. If you want to believe you can achieve a new goal, then you need to practice new thoughts over and over to create a new belief that will lead you to you accomplishing the goal.”
Motivation tips by England Athletics
1. Make it a goal to attend one of England Athletics amazing championships
England Athletics hosts a number of events all across the UK and is a brilliant way to keep yourself pumped up and motivated to push yourself. Head over to the website to take a look at the fully-packed calendar and see what incredible events are coming up near you.
2. Book a running holiday
Sports Tours International offer an amazing range of trips to races and superb locations around the world. From triathlons to ultra marathons, you can sign up to specific events in a number of beautiful countries or even stay in a sports resort.
3. Start as you mean to go on
Join RED January and challenge yourself to get active every day, your way! Kick-start the year in a positive way and raise funds for Mind as well as sticking to your fitness goals. Register for free and give yourself even more motivation for sticking to your New Year’s resolution.
To learn more about running groups, as well as tips and advice for staying fit and active, head over to England Athletics for more information.