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Kate’s 2014 Running Resolutions

2013 was a solid training year for me, and my first year working with a running coach (one of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself). I qualified for Boston in my spring marathon, creating a new PR for myself, and achieved my second fastest marathon time in the fall. I ran my first Ragnar Relay, and Anne and I placed second as a Sister Team in the Chicago Women’s 5K. Since the fall marathon, I’ve been taking it pretty easy, at first to force myself to take a break, and now because, well, I’ve gotten a little lazy and complacent. I’ve still been running — winter is actually my favorite running season; I can’t resist a few snowy miles on the Lakefront Trail — but slowly, and never for very long.

A snowy run home from my part-time job. Running to and from work has helped me vary my routine a bit.

A wintry run home from my part-time job. Running to and from work has helped me vary my routine a bit.

My sluggish return to running has had me worried the last few weeks. It seems to confirm the fear I face after every marathon, that when I stop logging high mileage, I’ll never be able to run far again, and that I’ll be so tragically out of shape that the damage will be irrevocable. I worry that I’ll not only be physically incapable of long-distance running, but also lose my mental motivation. Logically I know this isn’t true, and the teeny-tiny part of my brain that’s capable of rational thought understands that rest and recovery are as important as training, but it’s hard not to become anxious and depressed.

So, the best cure? Planning for this shiny new year of training! In 2014, my goals aren’t just distances and times. I need to step back and think about how I’m going to refresh my running routine so that I don’t risk burnout, and I very much need to start focusing on my overall fitness.

With that in mind, here are my major goals for 2014:

  • Team training. I always run alone, and I love running alone. It gives me quiet time to solve any issues I’m facing and reflect on the state of my life. But after 4-plus years of hitting the same stretch of trail solo, day after day, I’m ready for a change. In January, I’m joining a team-training program for the Boston Marathon. I’m nervous about it — I love meeting new people, but I suffer from a teenager’s level of social anxiety — but that, of course, probably means it’s good for me.
  • Varying my route. This one is difficult because I live in the city, and it’s definitely safer to run on the trail, without traffic, than on streets and sidewalks. Also, I like to run in the morning, and on weekdays I wouldn’t be able to travel somewhere to run and still make it to work on time. My solution is that I’ll complete at least two of my weekend runs each month in a local forest preserve, like Waterfall Glen.
  • Cross training. I am the WORST at cross training. I consider myself a very motivated person who would rather do stuff than talk about doing stuff. Until it comes to cross training. I talk and talk and talk about how much I need to start cross training in order to improve my overall fitness and become a better runner, but I never do it. In 2014, that changes. I’m going to schedule cross-training sessions for myself and treat them as seriously as I treat my runs. The challenge is that I can’t afford to join a gym or take classes, so I need to develop a plan for how I’m going to engage in activities that will make me a better runner — like strength training, Pilates, and yoga — at home.
  • Eating better. Yes, this sounds dangerously close to one of those lame resolutions about losing weight (ack), but I seriously have lots of room for improvement in my nutritional intake. Runners need way more protein than you would believe — for some folks, close to even double the USDA’s recommended daily allowance — and I’m having trouble getting enough. In 2014, I’m going to start using the MyFitnessPal app daily to track my nutritional intake and to make myself culpable for bad food habits. I’m going to cut down on processed foods and attempt to follow Michael Pollan’s 5-ingredient rule (in sum: don’t eat anything with more than 5 ingredients).
  • Cutting down on the booze. Ladies, I love my beer. And my wine. And my cocktails. But alcoholic beverages do not provide much, if any, of a nutritional bang for your caloric buck. This year, it’s all about limits, and when I do drink, the plan is to consume 12 ounces of water for every inebriating concoction.
  • Treating myself to new gear. I’m cheap with myself, as a runner, and that needs to stop. Physical activity is so, so important to me, and yet I constantly feel like I don’t deserve to buy new apparel or accessories for myself. To help myself continue to value exercise and be excited about it, I’m going to allow myself to purchase cute new clothes and switch out my shoes as often as recommended, and aim to own enough pairs of shoes that I have the right ones to help me accomplish the goals of each day’s run. (Plus, research is finding that rotating your running shoes really can help prevent injury.)

So, those are my running resolutions for 2014! What are yours? Do you have any tips for helping me achieve mine?

I’m also planning a second blog post on the races I’m most excited about in 2014, to be posted soon (provided there’s no carryover of 2013 laziness into this new year).

Lively Athletics

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01 Jan, 2014

Race Planning,  Resolutions,  Training,  Winter

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