It’s that time of the year again.  The time when we start reflecting on our biggest achievements and our worst setbacks from the past year, all to help us prepare for the next.

Some people say that we put too much emphasis on setting goals and resolutions for the new year, but I think the exact opposite.  I think taking time to challenge yourself and make a plan for self growth is exactly what we need each year.

So when a friend linked to an article about rules for 2014 on Facebook, I couldn’t help but sit down and ponder the running rules I want to follow in the coming year.  The list started building, so I decided to write them down and share them with you today.


Running Rules to Live By

1) Call yourself a runner.  If you run, you’re a runner.  Don’t be afraid.

2) Set a bigger goal than you ever thought possible.  And figure out what you need to do to get there.  Then do it.

3) Change your shoes more often.

4) Eat a little cleaner, and enjoy the added energy.

5) After crossing the finish line of an upcoming race, stop to cheer on other runners and congratulate them on their accomplishments.

6) Join a running group.

7) Spend more time analyzing your training data.

8) But don’t forget that sometimes you shouldn’t record the data at all.  And just run.

9) Run more hills.

10) Sign-up to volunteer at a trail race’s aid station.

11) Take a few weeks off, and use that time to try out a new sport or activity.

12) Do your strength training.

13) Thank your spectators and supporters, and treat them to a special surprise.

14) Put in the warm-up and cool-down miles.

15) Read more running books.  Learn from them.

16) Find a training partner.

17) Try to set a new 5k PR, even if you’re focused on marathons or ultras.

18) Treat yourself to new socks.  Maybe even ones with a little compression.

19) Foam roll more religiously.

20) Plan out your schedule now, at the beginning of the year, so you can train properly.

21) Don’t be afraid to reward yourself after tough workouts or long runs.

22) Get up and run in the morning more often.

23) Talk a non-running friend into signing up for a 5k with you.  And run with them the whole race.

24) Attend a race just to cheer on runners you don’t know.

25) Stretch.

26) Return to a race you struggled with in the past.

27) Experiment with new ideas by committing to different 10-30 day challenges.

28) Start a run streak, even if it is just for one week.

29) Keep up with long runs, even if you aren’t training for any particular race.

30) Run on trails.

31) Force yourself to break out of routine and try new routes.

32) Most importantly, be proud of every run.  Be proud that you are a runner.

What rules will you be following next year?

Photo Credit

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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