As February approaches, it's time to take a step back and evaluate -- or re-evaluate -- your New Year's resolutions. If you're having trouble hitting the running goals you set out for yourself early in 2015, don't give up just yet. Instead, take a second look at your resolutions and break them down into doable increments.
Choose an Achievable Mileage Goal
Set a personal goal to run a specific number of miles in 2015. If you use a tracking app like MapMyRun or Nike+, it's easily to track your mileage progress on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The MapMyRun app sends weekly and monthly emails with details on progress, and the Nike+ app allows you to set a challenge for yourself for a specific number of miles over a decided time period, as long as you invite at least one other Nike+ friend.
I find it helpful to create a challenge on a monthly basis, but this year I'm also setting a challenge for the entire year. My goal this year is to run 600 miles, which is an average of 50 miles per month. In 2015, I ran close to 500 miles. I had to take several weeks off mid-summer due to a move and a long vacation, so I know 600 miles would be a challenging but achievable goal in the New Year. (If you want to join the "Chi Jogger 600 in 2015" challenge, add me as a friend in Nike+. My username is Chicago_Jogger.)
Identify Areas of Improvement
Running isn't only about pounding the pavement and counting miles. Whole body fitness, endurance and strength are important components to staying health and keeping your goals, too.
If you're struggling with the mileage, stop counting for a while and instead identify two areas that you would like to improve that are related to overall fitness. Commit to finishing workouts on a regular basis that help you achieve these goals. Perhaps you are a regular runner and an expert at weekly cardio workouts, but need to work on core strength. Or you may be someone (like me) who struggles to stay motivated to lift weights every week.
In 2015, I am focusing on arm strength and overall endurance through high-intensity full-body workouts and weightlifting. My resolution is to complete two workouts per week that focus on these goals. I frequently browse Pinterest for workout motivation and ideas, and I'm planning on relying on my husband to teach me new weightlifting moves.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Lastly, remember that achieving goals is also about stepping out of your comfort zone. You can do this in several ways, including trying a new class. It's a great idea to have other workouts in mind if you need to take a few days off from regular running or when the weather is not amenable to an evening jog.
Many gyms and fitness studios have sales at this time of year, and you can always find new fitness companies in the Chicago area on deal websites like Groupon. My first step towards this goal was to purchase a 10-pack of dance/core fitness classes from Groupon with a friend. If you're like me and your dancing ability is on par with Elaine from Seinfeld, then this type of workout is the perfect way to do something fun while also pushing yourself to try something new.