Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Running Resolutions

It's that time of year.  The time to look back on a year behind us and to set goals and expectations for the year ahead of us.  Running-wise, 2013 has been a pretty fun year.  I've stuck to a consistent running schedule and have spent the last few months training for a marathon.  I even started a blog about running (sort of)!  In 2014, I hope to run those 26.2 miles at my goal pace and to set a new marathon PR.  So, today on the eve of a new year, I'm sitting down and writing out my 2014 running resolutions. 

1.  Running With Water
This is how I feel when I try running with water.  Except slower and with my shirt on. 

I don't know why, but I just never have been able to carry water (or anything for that matter) while I run.  I just can't stand to have anything touching me or bothering me while I run.  I know this is weird, but it's just the truth.  That said, staying hydrated while you run is so important.  Did you know that you don't feel thirsty until after you are already dehydrated?  Did you know that trying to re-hydrate while you run after becoming dehydrated is significantly harder than staying hydrated?  Did you know that running while dehydrated can cause increased fatigue leading to a slower pace and possible muscle cramping?  Did you know that increased fatigue makes running a real pain in the a$$?  Okay, that one you probably did know.  So in 2014, I resolve to run with water. 
2. Running Buddies - In 2014 I would like to spend more time running with friends. 

3.  Hills - Okay, I know what you are thinking.  And, yes, I did already resolve to run hills once this year.  But, that's what new years are for right?  Attempting to do better than the previous year.  Hills are just so hard and so intimidating.  And, finding hills in Houston isn't the easiest.  But in 2014, I plan to make this my sign:

 4.  Foam Rolling and Stretching - I resolve to spend more time with these kids:

I can't tell you what a game changer the foam roller is for runners.  It is like getting a deep tissue massage at home whenever you want and for free.  You can actually feel your muscles loosening up as you roll.  Which, by the way, does not feel good.  I won't lie to you. Foam rolling can hurt like hell.  Which is why I have fallen off the rolling bandwagon lately.  Especially when it comes to rolling my IT band, which for a runner is probably the most important spot to roll.  But in 2014, I'm going to be better.  And, I'm going to be better with stretching.  I've written before about how important flexibility is.  But, I'm more of a do as I write not as I do kind of girl.  I swear, I'll be better.

5.  Races - In 2014 I'm going to enter more 5k and 10k races.  I have always thought running short and fun races was the perfect start to a weekend.  Paul and I used to enter all kinds of races around town and have so much fun running them (not together, of course.  He leaves me in the dust).  But, in 2013 our situation changed and we haven't had the same freedom of leaving the house as we used to.  So, instead of racing on my own, I gave up 5ks.  Not anymore.  In 2014, you're going to see me wearing a lot more bibs and drinking a lot more free after-race beers!

 6.  Sprints - Okay, this one is probably a lie.  I can't even really type it without knowing I won't keep this resolution.  I want to be better at running sprints.  I really do.  Running sprints isn't just great for you physically, but it also helps you increase your speed in distance running.  Watching me run sprints though, is a sad sad sight.  It's as if my arms are moving really quickly and my feet are stuck in slow-mo. 
 7.  Warming Up - Warming up is essential to good running.  It increases blood flow and allows you to run more efficiently and effectively.  Warming up increases your heart rate and loosens your muscles.  Warming up prepares your body for the task ahead.  I know all of this and yet, I suck at warming up.  I am too impatient to get started.  I also find myself being too busy and on such a tight schedule that I skip the important step of warming up.  How silly is that??  Warming up can actually increase my speed and yet, I don't think I have time for it.  In 2014, I'm going to spend more time warming up and looking cool doing it.
And, if I fail at this resolution, I'm just going to buy this t-shirt and roll with it.

8.  Rest - Now, this might seem like an odd resolution for a runner.  But, rest is my real weakness.  I am terrible at resting.  I am terrible at resting my mind, body, and spirit.  Rest is something that in 2014 I am going to work on.  Rest days are very important for runners in giving your body time to recuperate and prepare for the next run.  Rest days increase strength and reduce fatigue.  Remember what I said earlier about running fatigued?

9.  Enjoy Running - In 2014, I'm going to take more time to enjoy running just for running.  Because I've been in training for the last couple of months, I've lost those joy runs.  All of my runs are calculated specifically to produce the end goal I have in mind.  They are all training runs.  In 2014, I'm going to be resolved to take the Garmin off and to run free.  I want to again run just for the sake of enjoying the run. 
When I was looking for pictures related to enjoying running, this is what I found.  And, yeah, ENJOY!!

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