This is the article that ran with our January 2013 newsletter, and since we're more than halfway through 2013 (!), we thought it would be a good time to check in and see where you all are.
Resolution, schmesolution. One measly task is so stringent and final: You either succeed or fail. Not for us, thanks; our stress levels are already impressively high.
But 13.1 small assignments for 2013? Feels much more flexible and possible. Like we could taste success regularly (yum!), and use that momentum to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
So here are a few tasks we'd like to task you with in 2013. Check them out; pick one, a couple, or all of them; and then be amazed at how completing one or more benefits your running—and, not coincidentally, lowers your stress level.
1. Run naked—no GPS, no music, no watch, no agenda—regularly. Could be once a week or once a quarter: whatever feels possible for you and your level of anal retentiveness. (Guarantee, even if you’re on a strict training schedule, running bling-free won’t wreck your progress. In fact, your legs and mind will be fresher than ever.)
2. If you haven’t run on a trail, do so. If you have, up the ante and try a trail race. The vibe is so different than a road run or race, you owe it to yourself to give it a whirl.
3. Find at least one new running route from your house. (If your options are limited, at least run your regular route backwards.)
4. Promise yourself that if your knee, foot, IT band or other vital body part is feeling the destructive kind of pain on a run—you’re wincing or changing your stride or gutting it out—you won't just plow forward with your training.You'll do your best to figure out the cause, then foam roll, strengthen your hips, or do what you need to do until you're not wincing, changing your stride, or gutting it out. Repeat after us: No running-induced injury ever got better by more running.
5. When somebody asks you if you run, simply say yes. No qualifiers—I’m so slow, I just started, I only do 5K’s—allowed. None. Just this: “Yes, I am a runner.”
6. Volunteer at one race, minimum.
7. Run a race with just one goal: To take it all in. Leave all thoughts of numbers behind and high-five every spectator you can; chat up your fellow runners; check out the scenery; don’t curse the lines at the Port-a-Potties; see if you can snag an excellent finish line pic. (And if that’s your usual M.O., for one race focus more on the clock and yourself: What are you capable of?)
8. Set a numerical goal. Make it slightly ambitious, but still doable considering your schedule and running experience: Run X times weekly or monthly; race X times in 2013; run X miles monthly or yearly. Adding those little numbers is (almost) as fulfilling as a post-run high.
9. Pick one run a week, cut it short by 15 minutes and spend those 15 minutes strength training: Lunge, squat, push-up, plank, crunch, triceps dip...you know the drill. Better yet: if the weather is cooperating, stop your run 5 minutes from the end, get in some strength at a park or quiet street, then finish up the run. (Promise, nobody cares if you’re lunging down the sidewalk.) If you want something more challenging, check out Sarah in Get Ripped Like a Mother.
10. If you run a marathon, don't run at all for at least a week post race. After a 13.1, give yourself at least two days of no pounding. And then make your runs easy-peasy, no-more-than-30-minutes for at least three outings. Your legs will thank you—and us.
11. Whether they’re on foot or bike, have your kiddos join you on a run. They set the pace and distance, of course. And you make it fun: can you get to that stop sign? Can you sing and run at the same time? Can you run for 30 seconds then skip for 30 seconds? Can you beat me? (If you have to hold yourself back to let your kid win, soak it up, mother runner. Guessing it, like most beauties of childhood, doesn’t last long enough.)
12. Ask a friend to run. If she’s a newbie, pace her nice and slow—a run/walk combo is a great call—and go a little longer than she thinks she can. Before you part ways, set up specifics (time, date, place) for your next run together.
13. On those days when you're hit with the there’s.just.no.way.I.have.the.energy.to.run blahs, head out for half of a mile; if you're still not feeling it, you can turn around, and you still got in one mile.
.1. Tell a friend about the another mother runner tribe.
Have you ticked any of thees off? Do you have other goals you're accomplished? We love hearing about your successes and experiences; comment below, give us the details on our Facebook page, or email us at runmother [at] gmail [dot] com.