Old year resolutions - Women's Running UK

Old year resolutions

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  November 10, 2017

Old year resolutions

January can’t be anyone’s favourite time of year. You’re broke, bloated and tired of bickering with your family; the nights are long and the weather is bleak. But if there’s one good thing about the New Year it’s the sense of optimism we can all summon as we conjure up a long list of lofty goals for the coming 12 months.

Fast forward to now. The shops are sneaking their Christmas stock in and suddenly you get that sinking feeling that, once again, you’re sleepwalking towards the end of the year without a single resolution stuck to or running goal achieved. Think about it for a minute though: there is no reason you can’t make a fresh start any month, any day, any time of day. Start right now with some small changes and you can still reach the end of 2017 feeling fitter and better than you started. What’s more, you’ll have a great run up for any burning ambitions you conjure up for your list on 1 January next year.

Over the next four months, we’re going to be releasing three challenges per month for you to try. Try to take one tiny step towards hitting these common runner’s resolutions, for each week until the end of the year, and see how far you get. There’s no need to be too ambitious or aim for perfection – just take the view that it’s better to try and make small, successful changes, than to give up now and finish the year feeling worse than when you started.

Week 1: Run a marathon or ultra

On most runners’ bucket lists, “run a marathon” figures pretty big. If you haven’t quite managed it this year, but you can run for an hour (or five to six miles) without stopping or suffering too much, then there is still time for you to run a long one this year. If you’re marathon fit (you’ve run one in the last six months and are still training regularly), you may even be able to run/walk your way round an ultra-marathon. Your options will be limited, but visit racebookuk.co.uk and you’ll find a select few half-marathons, marathons and ultras in December. Start training sensibly today and you can be fit enough to complete a long race before the end of the year – just keep your pace steady and your expectations realistic.

Week 2: To lose weight

The number one New Year’s resolution we make is to shift a few pounds (often whether we really need to or not). Rest assured that if you have ended up nine months in and heavier than you started, you won’t be alone. Instead of trying to make drastic changes now just try one simple change: measure what you’re eating. Yes, that means literally weighing out your food. Reducing portion sizes is the easiest way to reduce the amount of calories you’re eating, without giving up any food you love. At first you might find it unnerving to feel slightly peckish after meals – but remember that the feeling of hunger is nothing to be scared of. Do this every day for a week and, by day seven, you’ll already be getting used to the kind of portions you should be eating to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Try to keep up this habit through the next 10 weeks: if you can’t face actually weighing food every mealtime, then develop shortcuts, like marking a plastic jug with 50g portions of rice, pasta or oats, or using smaller plates.

Week 3: Run consistently

“Run more often” is too vague a promise to be called a goal, but many of us resolve to do this every year all the same. It’s particularly tricky to run consistently when you’re only able to train a few times each week, as it’s easy to tell yourself you’ll run tomorrow instead, until you end up promising yourself a run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday – which is not realistic. So for one week and one week only, set your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier and run for 15 minutes, every single day. When you want to run longer it won’t be practical to keep up this everyday habit, but it makes you re-think your day so hat it always starts with exercise. The following week, keep the same wake-up time but on your non-run days just do 15 minutes of stretching. You won’t overtrain, and you will have created a new routine that you can tweak to make your runs longer as you need to. The point is, running will be so much a part of your day that missing it becomes the exception rather than the norm.

Women's Running Magazine

NMA’s 2020 Lifestyle Magazine of the Year, Women’s Running provides expert advice on gear and training, motivation from your favourite runners and the latest running news.

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