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10 Running Resolutions to Make 2018 Your Fastest and Strongest Year Yet

Popsugar logo Popsugar 14/01/2018 Amy Williams

a woman walking down a sidewalk © POPSUGAR Photography / Kathryna Hancock

I really started running four years ago with a handful of 5Ks and then a bold leap directly to the half marathon. Throw in tree half marathons, three triathlons, and a mix of other distances, and 2017 was my best running year yet — although not as good as my 2018 is going to be. I'm taking what I've learned in 2017 and making it into 10 New Year's resolutions that will get me to more finish lines more quickly.

Spend more time with a running group.

Spend more time with a running group. © Unsplash/Curtis MacNewton Spend more time with a running group.

For years, I resisted joining the local running club because I didn't think I was fast enough, strong enough, or good enough to run with other "real runners." Recently, I faced my fear and joined up. In the last six months, those women have become good friends, reliable partners, and a hugely motivating force. I've gotten faster and more confident, and I've had more fun knowing them. I still bail on group runs from time to time when I don't feel like I can keep up. In 2018, I'm going to get past that and get faster with my team.

Eat like a runner!

a green apple on a counter: Eat like a runner! © Burst/Adam King Eat like a runner!

I've gotten better at calling myself a "runner" and not making self-depreciating remarks when someone calls me that. I've changed my runs, my workouts, and my attitude about running, but I've never changed my diet. It's my diet's fault that I'm hanging onto extra weight, not recovering as efficiently as I'd like, and skipping runs when I am running low on energy. This year, it's the diet that has to grow up.

Make no excuses!

Make no excuses! © Burst/Matthew Henry Make no excuses!

I've designed my 2018 without making room for excuses. If I want to finish the races I have planned, I don't have room to skip multiple days of training or to fall behind on my schedule. Every run counts and every run brings me closer to completing my ultimate goal.

Run a notable marathon.

a group of people standing on the side of a road: Run a notable marathon. © Unsplash/Martins Zemlickis Run a notable marathon.

It won't seem real for another 10 months, but in October 2018, I'm putting all of my runs over the last four years together to try to cross the finish line of the Chicago marathon. Some days I can't imagine how I'm going to get through 26.2 miles; other days, I can't wait to try.

Prepare for the mental game.

person standing on a rock: Prepare for the mental game. © Burst/Jessica Devnani Prepare for the mental game.

The marathon training will require me to deal with the mental training of running. I can have great runs when I can quiet my mind and terrible runs when it just won't settle down. If I'm going to spend the Summer and early Autumn preparing for the marathon, I'm going to have to find a reliable way to quiet the monkey mind and make peace with being alone for multiple hours on Saturday mornings.

Push the pace.

a blurry image of person: Push the pace. © Burst/Matthew Henry Push the pace.

I've made myself pretty comfortable in the slow lane at races. I've never finished last, but I've just barely beat walkers on more than one occasion. As my endurance has improved, my speed has stayed stagnant. This year, with many months to go before my first half marathon and then, of course, the marathon, I'm going to reduce my mileage and try to get quicker. I'm going to add speed work, stick with my running team, and challenge myself to see what I may be actually capable of instead of doing what's easy.

Face the damn hills!

a blurry image of a street: Face the damn hills! © Unsplash/Seth Macey Face the damn hills!

I've become an expert at walking up hills. No matter how many hills I face during a race, I will take the time to walk up the hill, then run down the hill. I don't even try to run up the hills. That was so 2017, though. This year, I'm running up the damn hills. Whether it makes me faster or slower, I know that with every hill I run up, I've gotten over another obstacle I've been too afraid to face before.

Add self-care to running.

a man standing in front of a building: Add self-care to running. © Burst/Matthew Henry Add self-care to running.

I have finished half marathons, eaten drive-through junk food, and taken a four-hour nap. Nothing about how I spend post-long-run hours is healthy or promotes self-care and recovery. This year, I'm going to spend more time focusing on recovery and self-care routines that will make me a better, healthier, happier runner. There will be more meditation, long detoxifying baths, foam rolling, stretching, and yoga. There will be less complaining about achy muscles and more ice baths. I'm asking more from my body this year, and in exchange, I have to listen harder when it speaks to me.

Do more than just run.

a man playing frisbee in a park: Do more than just run. © Burst/Shopify Do more than just run.

I can run up and down the same hills over and over again and still, I will struggle if my legs and glutes aren't strong enough to carry me. Instead of avoiding the workout room for another year, I'll make myself a regular and build leaner, stronger muscle that will run more easily and more efficiently.

Make it fun again!

Make it fun again! © Julia Raasch Make it fun again!

My 4-year-old niece puts her serious face on and sprints up and down the street in front of her house. Running is fun. Racing is fun. And when she needs to take a break, she jumps in a puddle because that is fun, too. Why can't running be fun for me, too? I'll find a new route, a new race, and a new reason until it feels almost as much fun for me as it does for my niece. I'll try to appreciate running through the lens of her wise 4-year-old eyes.

Pictures: 10 Strategic Running Tips for Every Marathoner

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