What will you accomplish in 2018? How will you feel strong, race well, have energy, eat healthy, stretch, collect medals and do it all with a smile on your face and spring in your step?
This is the best time of the year: everything is possible.
But how do we do it? How do we make 2018 better than the year that just past—a year in which we saw the Prime Minister race the Army Run, massive turnout for Ottawa Race Weekend, new races and partnerships and sneakers and tons of fun on the roads and trails? Herewith, iRun GM Ben Kaplan, author of Feet, Don’t Fail Me Now, Rogue’s Guide to the Marathon, breaks down 18 ways to achieve your big dreams for the new year—and have fun in the process.
18. Set a big goal. Listen, even if you don’t achieve it, that goal will act as your north star towards achieving every little thing that you want to do. Want to run more? Eat better? Have something big in mind, give yourself PURPOSE, and you’ll be best situated for keeping your eye on the prize.
17. Set lots of little goals. OK, you want to run a half marathon in 2018. How do you do it? First, run a 5K, then run a 10K, then try the 10K again. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither is a 2018 personal record.
16. Think of yourself as an athlete. You’re a runner. You’re in training. Do you really need those onion rings? Now, you don’t have to make yourself crazy. An onion ring won’t kill you. But…visualize your finish line, and act accordingly. Good choices are addictive, as are the bad.
15. Get a partner. Even if you have to hire one, and odds are you don’t, but this journey is more apt to reach fruition if there’s a) accountability, and b) encouragement. You can reach your finish line on your own. You’re more likely to reach it with someone at your side.
14. Enjoy it. Gotta figure out how to make your workouts fun. Perhaps it’s the intrinsic value of working towards something or perhaps it’s group runs in the snow that end in a coffee shop or pub. Doesn’t matter. But, odds are your 2018 Resolution is something that’s going to take a while. Enjoy the journey (you’re going on it anyways).
13. Keep a log book. You can get lost on your travels if you don’t document how far you’ve come. Lots of folks use Strava or Runkeeper (or the likes), I like paper and pen. Whatever. The point is: keep a record. Keep statistics. When you document your progress, you’re more apt to keep progressing. Simple!
12. Tell folks. A goal announced is more apt to come through than a goal kept to yourself. Now you’re on the hook to make your big dream come true. Social media is good for this; so is talking to people the old-fashioned way. Be accountable to what you want to accomplish, you can do it! Let the world know.
11. Visualize crossing the finish line. Keep the dream top of mind as you work towards it. Make it a big deal. And don’t lose track of what you’re trying to do. If you want to run that half marathon, remind yourself of it constantly. That will get you out the door on these frigid mornings.
10. Read my book. Or, read iRun magazine. Or Born to Run. Or Canadian Running. Point is: immerse yourself in the culture. Not to the point of nausea. You don’t want to get burnt out. But, embrace the world you’re trying to conquer. There may be a tip out there, not on this list, that rings home. Keep your antenna up.
9. Get a mentor. Everyone needs a mentor. Whether it be an elite runner working in coaching, like Rejean Chiasson and Kate Van Buskirk, or your Running Room instructor, runners, even Olympians, tend to be down to earth, approachable and willing to pay it forward. It tends to be inexpensive, and rewarding.
8. Pull the trigger. Sign up right now for the big goal of 2018 that you want to achieve. Do you want to run a race? Reach a new distance? Race abroad. Don’t put it off, commit. Buy the ticket, take the ride: sign up now, and make your goal real.
7. Dabble in gear. I’m not one to recommend dropping coin, but, it’s cold outside, you need special clothes to run outdoors. Plus, the money you spend on running shoes and accessories is basically deductible from the money you save on big meals, chocolate cakes and alcohol. Treat yourself, even new socks add bounce to your step to get out there.
6. Allow downticks. Long-term goals will, at some point, hit a snag. Injuries, hangovers, cheeseburgers, what have you. If this were easy, goes the saying, you’d have done it already. When, inevitably, you fall over: Get yourself back up again, like they say in Trolls. You’ll hit a snag. Expect that. Don’t let that derail you. And yes, that is a decision you make.
5. Enlist family, loved ones, and friends. Even if these folks don’t become training partners, make your own support staff. People who care about you want to see you succeed. Let them help you, whether that be in buying healthier groceries, taking the kids in the morning and just sending you the occasional YOU GO, GIRL! text. Get help. You’ll need it.
4. Diversify your workouts. This is key. If your 2017 workouts were enough to bring you to your 2018 goals, your 2018 goals would be even bigger. Switch up the program this year. I bet eight-tenths of our readers don’t regularly do speed work. I don’t, and I wrote a freaking running book and am the iRun GM. Gotta do it. Plus, the same-old, same-old gets boring. Switch things up. Get strong!
3. Believe in yourself. This is the best time of the year because a goal is really a bet on yourself. Why can’t you run a half marathon? Why not cut out meat? You can do whatever you want to. You have agency. Remember that. A new year is a new chance to become the you who you want to be. You can do it. Believe that.
2. Sometimes, forget all this. Go to the movies once a month and get a root beer and large popcorn. Eat Chinese food. If you try to do everything always perfect, you’re liable to drop the entire endeavour. Don’t do that. We have big goals, that will take time to accomplish. So, let yourself eat cookies. Sometimes. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Make it a lot and a little. The best way to succeed over time is make the time worth living.
1. Consistency, consistency, consistency. That’s the secret of running, that’s the whole ballgame. You want to run further, run faster, run more? Keep running. Run smart. Follow your program. And stick with it. It’s not one run that will make 2018 your dream year, it’s the entire package. So just keep getting out there, keep believing in yourself, and keep running. Together, we’ll find new finish lines.