Then the realities kick in (or the third week of January) and some of our "resolutions" fizzle out quicker than the bubblies in our champagne. There goes our "cheers to the New Year". It's sad, but you know it's true. We have all these dreams of shedding those extra pounds, being more physically active, eating better, living a happier life, blah, blah, blah - you know the spiel. But...maybe this year will be different. Maybe 2015 will be the year that you're steadfast in your determination to prove yourself and the universe wrong! The first step is setting up realistic goals. Have you started your list of attainable goals? 2015 is your year. What will you do with it?
Here are my 10 tips for 2015:
1. Be realistic, as well as specific, in your targets. Find your focus. Is it speed? Is it distance? Narrow down that one thing you want to accomplish and set a target. Write it down and come up with a game plan on how to accomplish it. I'll be the first to admit that I'm terrified of setting goals and - gasp - sharing it with others. What if I fail? What will people think? You just have to get out of that negative mindset. And P.S. - you don't really have to let the world know. If you'd like, write it down on paper - for your eyes only. But know that you'll never get better if you don't push outside your comfort zone. 2014 was a year of Personal Bests for me. I had a new PR for every type of race - 5K, 10K, half marathon, marathon, and ultra. Now, I just have to set new goals for 2015. Will this be the year that I run the Savannah Rock n' Roll half in 1:45? I want this. However, in order to get there, I'll need to focus on training properly for it. I've got until November to make this happen. In addition, it's also wise to have a Plan B and even a Plan C for your goal. Depending on how your training goes, you can always adjust your goal. For example - If you happen to injure yourself during training, it may be time to re-evaluate your timed goal.
2. Write it down. This kind of goes back to #1. Once you've identified your target, write it down and come up with a game plan. I've never had a planner, but after seeing all my runner friends (thank you Victoria Runs) talk about new planners for 2015...my curiosity piqued. What exactly are these runners using these planners for? I began to research and found that many runners will write down their workouts in their planners and make these non-negotiable - holding them accountable for getting the workouts done. Genius!! It's also a great way to log your miles! Not to mention - there are so many cute planners out there! This will be a first for me, but I'm willing to give it try.
3. Do more than running as physical activity. Because running requires the use of your whole body, you should really be incorporating total body training to your workouts. I NEED TO DO THIS!! I keep talking about attending yoga classes and never do. I'm going to make time to do that this year. In addition to yoga, I'm going to get back into my Nike Training Club app that I abandoned in 2014. It's a great app that serves as your own personal trainer so you can workout anywhere, anytime, and it also provides customizable 4-week programs that incorporates running. It includes "how-to" videos on each type of exercise and requires minimal equipment (kettle bell, dumb bells, medicine ball, etc.). Incorporating core work, building strength in your arms, and increasing flexibility will reduce strain on your legs which will help prevent injury. For Christmas, I got my husband some TRX bands. He doesn't know this, but it was a great 2 for 1 since I can reap the benefits too :)
4. Sign up for your dream race. My first marathon was a destination race - the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco. I always wanted my first marathon to be a HUGE experience and it most definitely was! Sign up for a race that will get you excited and motivated in your training. Enter a lottery for a big race! Go somewhere you've never been before! Explore a new city and make the most of your trip. For 2015, my husband and I are running the Big Sur 21-Miler in Monterey, CA in April. Neither of us have been there, but this race has been on my bucket list. We weren't able to get into the marathon, but this will do. After my mom passed away in March, I entered the lottery for DC's Cherry Blossom 10-Miler. My mom loved this festival and we never went with her. I happened to get selected for it so I'll be running this in her memory on April 12th. I am stoked for both of these races which will help keep me motivated this year!
5. Run for a charity. In addition to running my first marathon, I ran it through Team In Training (TNT) to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). What feels better than doing good for others, as well as doing good for yourself? I trained to run my first marathon, as well as fundraise to benefit LLS and ran in memory of my grandfather - who passed away from leukemia. There are several charities you can run for. My heart belongs with Team In Training. We have a great staff in our local TNT chapter! I'll be running the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati, OH in May for TNT. You should sign up too! Other races for spring season include the Asheville Marathon and Half Marathon (Asheville, NC) and the Publix Women's Half Marathon (Savannah, GA). You can check it out here on my website (www.ceciliaontherun.com).
6. Join a running group or find a BRF (Best Running Friend). If you're not running with a group or haven't found your BRF - go do it! I promise you it will change your life. Running with a crew or your BRF will help you be accountable for not hitting snooze on your 4:00 AM alarm - because lets face it - it's sooo tempting. When you know people are counting on you to help them in their run journey, you not only help motivate others, but without even knowing, you're improving on yours. When you're running with the same crew, you develop some valuable friendships that help inspire you to stay on top of your goals - and not to mention the laughs and funny stories we all share during our training runs. It's also a great motivator in signing up for races with one another. You're never alone when attending the various races around town and you'll even find yourselves signing up for getaway race trips. In addition, I love how much my running friends have come to support me in attending my shows at the Bay Street Theatre and the Lucas Cabaret and I enjoy my theater friends participating in run activities. It's thrilling to see my worlds collide. Looking for a running group? Fleet Feet's CREW, Savannah Striders, and Moms Run this Town are just a few local ones in the Savannah area.
7. Try something new. Are you only running road races? Maybe try a trail race. Are you only running 5Ks? Maybe try a 10K. Half marathon lover? Try a marathon. Tired of marathons? Try an ultra or maybe even a triathlon this year. You get the point. Try something different and see if you like it. Last year, I ran my first 12-hour Chase the Sun Ultra and completed my first 50-miler. It was a huge accomplishment! For 2015, I signed up for the sold-out Delirium 24-Hour Ultra. I'm still nervous as hell for this one. We'll see how it goes. I'm not setting up any expectations for this run other than to see what kind of mettle I have in me. I would love to run 100 miles, but going back to #1 and setting up realistic expectations - I've never done 100 before, nor have I run, walked, or crawled in 24 hours. This will be all new to me...and I'm deathly afraid of running through the night all by myself. Here's when having BRFs come into play. Will one of you guys help pace me and run with me?! I'm using this as a training run to see what it takes to get to 100. Try something new this year!
8. Treat your body good. I'm the biggest hypocrite for even writing that, but I'm daring myself to make changes to my everyday diet. I will drink more water - maybe I can write that in my planner every day! I've become a huge fan of sparkling water. Kroger makes a great knock-off of Perrier. It tricks me into thinking I'm drinking one of my favorite sugar-filled sodas. I will eat more raw vegetables and fruits. I will be more conscious of what I eat. I'm not saying I'm steering clear of Spanky's delicious fried chicken fingers and spuds...but I will strive to eat better and reward myself with said Spanky's delicious fried chicken fingers and spuds. My husband lost 70 lbs in 2014. He did it to prove to his doctor that he could lower his cholesterol naturally and he was determined. I'd like to be as disciplined as he is, but that's going to be tough. My goal is to try harder to eat right...and not delve into the pantry and devour the kids' Cheetos and lunch snacks. This one's going to be tough (as I'm munching on my daughter's tater tots)! Oy. Help me Claudia Deen! Ha!
9. "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia". Sometimes it's not all about you. Go out of your way and encourage someone else to run this year. Do you remember that feeling when someone offered words of encouragement while on your run? It felt great, didn't it? Be that cheerleader for others. When you see those herds of runners getting in their miles at the crack of dawn, let them know they're doing a good job. Offer words of encouragement in passing. Let them know we're all in this together.
10. Have fun! This should actually be #1 on any list, but lets just say I chose to save the best for last. The most important thing is to enjoy your run. If you're a beginner, it's going to suck. That's the truth. It's going to really suck. You're going to hate it and you're going to say, "why do people do this for fun?" I've been there, done that and so have many others. Stick with it. Please. I promise you that it will get better. And then, it will get fun. You will experience what we call the "runner's high" and then you'll be addicted just like the rest of us and we'll happily welcome you with open arms into our crazy community of runners!
Remember - 2015 is your year. I can't wait to see and hear all about it!