While we're well into February, the year is still fresh and I've been thinking about how I want to shape my running in 2018. Perhaps it's because I'm still getting my feet under me after my back injury last year, but looking ahead, I want to take advantage of the fresh opportunities that come with another trip around the sun.
I think it all boils down to five things that should make for better and stronger running on a personal level, but also considers the running community beyond myself. Because, really, getting the most out of running means being part of this great community that exists.
So here it goes, the five things that will make for a great year of running:
2. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Just as important as getting miles on our feet, is getting rest, eating well, rehabbing, and strength training. We all know it's true. Get off the couch and put your legs up the wall or roll out while you're watching Netflix. Skipping lunch probably won't help much when we lace up our running shoes. And, as I've learned, a strong core and glutes are key for efficient running and good form.
3. EXPLORE. It's so easy for us to fall into a routine - the same workouts with the same routes, week in and week out. But one of the best things about running is the ability to explore new places, and become completely immersed in our surroundings. Without car windows between us and nature. Make a point to try a new route at least once a month. See something new.
4. COWBELL LIKE A PRO. We love races with great crowd support, but be honest, how often are you on the curb cheering and supporting other runners? Make a point to pick a race or two - even if you don't know anyone running it - and go cheer for the runners. Being cheered on by a complete stranger at just the right time can be the perfect boost when a race gets hard, so pass it on - be the person who cheers for others when they need it most.
5. VOLUNTEER. Another excellent way to give back to the community that often gets overlooked in our busy lives. Every race we run requires a lot of support, and race directors need volunteers. Pick a local race, big or small, and sign up. Then show up. Better yet, get your best running friends together and volunteer as a group. Trust me, runners are the best volunteers. You'll have a ton of fun and leave feeling good about how you spent your morning.
What are your goals? How are you making this a great year for your running?