OK, so here we are running right into 2018! Everyone makes some kind of New Year’s resolutions, and runners have their own way of resolving to improve in the coming year. Here’s a list of “resolutions” that you may or may not have made, but are worth considering.

  • Keep a running log. If you don’t already do so, you’ll find it invaluable. For example, as you get ready to run your next race (3M Half Marathon anyone?), if you’ve been keeping a log, flip to this time last year. See what your weight, weather and workouts looked like leading up to the race. If the race went well, then you have a reference point to work with. If not, you still have valuable information, in that you can change things up this year.
  • Try a new distance. Ever consider an ultra? That doesn’t have to mean 100 or even 50 miles. A 50K—the “baby” of ultras—is just 31 miles, and is well worth a try. It’s not like the marathon, because you’re not so much shooting for a fast time as you are exploring a new experience. Check out the Hells Hills Trail Run in Smithville, TX, set for April 7, 2018. It’s a great

    It’s a new year, so why not ry something new?

    trail run, and offers both the 50K and the 50-mile race distances.

  • Set a PR. Whether it’s a sub-40 10K, a sub-three or sub-four-hour marathon, setting a personal record is very gratifying in many ways. For starters, PRs validate your hard training, indicating that you’re doing things right. What’s more, personal bests show that you are capable of setting a goal, working towards it, and following through. This is a great life lesson that has implications far beyond running.
  • Run even or negative splits in your next race. Though it’s been proven that many of the world’s distance records have been set by runners who executed even or negative splits, it’s still remains one of the hardest things to do. That’s because it takes a great deal of discipline. Who hasn’t started a marathon just a bit faster than goal pace? All of us have, and 90% of the time, this strategy backfires, resulting in losing precious minutes in the second half—far more than you gained with your early fast pace. One trick to running an even pace is to know your expected mile splits in advance, and to pay close attention to your splits. Handy running calculators like this one make that easy to do.
  • Have fun. For all its health benefits, running will do you the most good if you enjoy it. If you find yourself stuck in a running rut, try something new. Change the time of day you run. Plot out some new courses. Join a running group, or resolves to make some regular running buddies. Many runners don’t like distractions while they’re running, but if you’ve never tried ear-buds and your favorite playlist, give it a shot. Prefer “au naturel”? Well then, make a point of running some of Austin’s most scenic running routes (check out this list provided by the Austin Runners Club), and soak up the splendor. The point is that running is fun, but some folks just don’t realize it!

Upcoming Races: Saturday, January 20, the Taylor Garden Club Run for the Roses 5K at 9:00 a.m. at Murphy Park in Taylor. Sunday, January 21 at 7:30 a.m., the 3M Half Marathon at Stonegate Blvd. at the Gateway Shopping Center.