Your intentions have a major problem.

They may sound great in your head, but if you’re being honest, they’re totally pointless. They’re a cop-out.

… I intend to lose weight

… I intend to get better grades

… I intend to run faster

… I intend to train for a marathon

Even the best intentions are no better than the worst intentions, as long as they remain intentions.

Instead, you must act.

What’s the one thing you could do for your running today? The one thing you can do immediately, that will have the biggest impact?

Act. Commit.

If you haven’t heard, New Years was last week — a time for resolutions, goals, and thinking about what’s in store for the next twelve months.

But it turns out only 8% of people fulfill their resolutions. Yikes.

That means that the next time you hit up a happy hour with 10 of your closest friends, less than one of you will keep your resolutions. There are a number of ways to buck that trend — which you can find here and here — but really it all boils down to committing.

Commit first, then worry about the planning. Do it the other way around, and chances are you’ll never leave that planning phase.

Commit to Your 2016 Races

Last month I sat down to plan out my 2016 race schedule (here’s a photo to prove it).

I wanted to not only think through my schedule and have a clear plan of action for achieving my race goals, but more importantly, to go into 2016 committed. To enter the year registered and publicly committed to certain races and events.

Just the act of writing them down and sharing them with your family and friends, or on social media, will turn your intentions into something more concrete. And it will make them tougher to abandon later down the trail.

Here’s the template I use for designing my race calendar and making those commitments. It’s simple, but organizes everything enough to plan appropriately.


You can download it here.

Don’t take the process lightly. Committing to your goal races, and the races that build up to that main goal, requires forethought. Start by committing to your “A race” and move backwards from there.

Here’s additional information on how to plan your race calendar:

Other Commitments

Don’t really know (or care) about what you want to race next year? No problem. There’s plenty to commit to other than just races or running events.

Instead, commit to:

  • Logging your first 1,000 mile year
  • Running a new mile PR
  • Pushing yourself with 12 monthly challenges in 2016
  • Strength training 3 times per week
  • Exploring 30 new routes and trails this year
  • Going on a running vacation
  • Hiring a coach
  • Volunteering at 6 races
  • Running the furthest distance you’ve ever run

These are just ideas. Commit to the goal that’s the most inspiring to you (which coincidentally will also probably the scariest).

Solve Your Intentions Problem

Think back on all those intentions you’ve let slip by. On all the goals and resolutions you never acted on. It still stings a little, doesn’t it?

You can decide not to put yourself through that again, and move from intention to action. Now’s the time to commit to your running goals.

Share you commitment with your loved ones. Write about it. Tweet about it. Post about it in the comments below. Solve your intentions problem.

Will you join me by committing?

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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4 thoughts on “The Problem With Your Running Intentions

  1. Super sound advice! Resolutions are basically useless unless you make some sort of plan, or make your goals measurable. I loved your NY Goals podcast on NMA, you should totally own your choices, you are living a GREAT life!

  2. These are such great tips to stay on track! I’m trying to do the first challenge of the 12 running challenges this month – the run streak. So far I’m motivated, but it’s only the first week. Writing it down and sharing it with others will help me stick to it I’m sure.

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