Happy New Year!

Happy holidays to all of you! As someone who has covered every level of the fitness spectrum from marathon runner to full-time sloth (my current status after two stress fractures this fall,) I am going to share with you some tips for getting in shape this year.

Maybe you’re noticing that you’re huffing and puffing on the stairs.  Maybe you took a look at your kids on Christmas morning and realized you’re not setting a good example.  Maybe you’ve been injured and are having a hard time getting going again because you feel defeated, yet recently went shopping for a bigger pair of jeans, fell over trying to step out of them, and got a good look at your butt in the dressing room mirror before landing!  Regardless, this can be your year, and we here at Trolley Run want to help you make it a great one.

Whether you are looking to incorporate exercise into your life for the first time or even if you are a workout warrior looking to make this year count, hopefully these tips will get you motivated!

1: Rome wasn’t built in a day (and neither were saddlebags and beer bellies)

I hate New Year’s resolutions, because they never work.  Do NOT think of your fitness goals as a New Year’s resolution, because then when you fall off the workout wagon, miss a couple of runs, or sleep in a few days instead of hitting the weights, you will likely feel as if the 2015 fitness ship has sailed without you.  Don’t feel defeated when you slip up this winter, and remember that your goal is a long-term change in lifestyle/new heights in running (faster race times, more distance, your first marathon, consistency in weekly mileage.)  You have an entire year to get there.  Getting in shape or taking that next step in your fitness is a journey, and personally, I think our goal should be just to survive these next few months without succumbing to rickets from lack of sunshine.  Get through January and February with your goals intact and allow yourself to show some weakness without giving up on your year.

2: Know how you get into a pool

I annoy my husband on so many levels, but one of my patented irksome tendencies is the way I get into a pool/the ocean/any body of cold water.  It takes me about 30 minutes, one toe or inch of skin at a time, and by the time I am fully submerged he has moved on and headed to dinner.

Do you do the same, or do you take that leap and yell “Cannonball?”  Figure this out for yourself in terms of fitness if you are a newbie and plan accordingly.  Some of us can handle an aggressive workout routine and complete nutrition overhaul that is a massive change in our daily schedule, but others might do better starting out with slotting 2-3 periods each week for exercise, building from there, and gradually adding nutritional changes once the exercise component is more fully integrated.  Figure out what works for you, because what works for others is irrelevant.

And just a tip for the experienced runners looking to make some big changes this year?  Listen to your body and don’t let your specific goals force you to outrun your love for running or end up sidelined.  Speed work means slight changes in form, major increases in distance mean major changes in the force on your body, and all of it means an increase in the chances for injury.  Stay healthy, friends, and hopefully you won’t end up with two stress fractures in the middle of marathon training!

3: Punch a higher floor (any Prince fans out there?)

I would love to be one of those purists who runs in silence, but for me longer runs mean more time listening to my jams (New Jack Swing, anyone?).  Now I realize that recommending music with your exercise doesn’t exactly sound like an original tip, but I think it’s an important one and can be used in a variety of ways.

If you are new to running, you may be like my friend Pam, who hates to hear the sound of her labored breathing as she runs.  Crank the tunes up and hopefully you can ignore the fact that you sound like you are being tortured (but be safe and aware of your surroundings.)

If you are still working up to a full mile of running, use songs as your run/walk breaker.  Run to the verses and walk the chorus. 

Use your songs to make sure that you are running at the right speed.  When I am on easy or long runs, I will sing the chorus of songs on my playlist (silently, of course!) to make sure that I am not overexerted.  I also will use songs for fartlek and speed work (sprint or accelerate for verses, slower for the chorus.)

Try running to podcasts, audiobooks, or my recent favorite, disco (dim all the lights, sweet darling!)  Feel free to check out my running blog for lots of posts with music suggestions (my favorite 80s music playlist is coming up!)  Listen to jazz.  Crank up some rap.  Just try not to shake your butt while running..trust me, you will look stupid and likely fall on your face.

4: Ignore the Joneses. 

This past summer I ended up on the same weekend running routine as a certain lady in my neighborhood.  She was fast and gorgeous, with a perfect swinging ponytail...flying past me in my 9th or 10th mile every weekend, hauling butt in nothing but a jogging bra, tiny track shorts, and abs to kill for.

Whether you join a running group, start running with a friend who ends up being faster than you or who makes gains sooner than you do, or run solo at the gym or on the streets, you will see people who are thinner, stronger, faster, better at everything you try to do. 

That’s life.  Ignore them and know that no one is looking at you or judging when you run...except when you cross the Trolley Run finish line in April to the sound of thunderous applause! Click HERE to register today.

Good luck with your goals this year...and maybe I will see you on the streets!