16 Ways to Run Awesome in 2016


In order to make 2016 the best ever, my husband and I set some new run goals this year. (mine to just run for fitness and his to run 2016 km, …… he’s behind already.) In keeping with the freshness and goal setting ideas that a new year always brings for many, here are 16 ways to make your running awesome this year.

1. Look back at 2015. Is there anything you want to change about what you did last year? Run more? Run less? Run faster? Or slower? It’s always a great idea to look at what you did to see where you want to go.

2. Set reasonable goals. How many times have you heard this one? Yet so many of us set goals that are lofty and out of reach. It’s a great idea to have that huge goal, and I would never discourage that, but set smaller goals along the way that bring you to that big one. This way you can celebrate mini achievements in case that “big” one doesn’t pan out.

3. Set yourself up for success. This goes back to #2. If your goals are realistic and attainable with your lifestyle and routines, then you have a greater chance of success. And success feels good! So take a realistic look at your life when you set those goals, so that your chance of success is as close to 100% as possible.

4. If you’re a beginner start small. This also relates to those runners coming back from a serious injury that required a long lay off. I just came back to running after a metatarsal stress fracture that had me off running for 8 weeks. I started back with 30 seconds of running and 4.5 minutes of walking repeated 5-6 times. Achievable, safe and progressive. I added 30 seconds to my run and took 30 sec off my walk (each time interval totaling 5 minutes) every 3rd run. It’s easy to achieve small chunks like that and you don’t get that frustrated out of breath feeling. It allows your muscles and joints to adapt to the stresses of running. For a beginner, this is one of the best ways to get into running.

5. Find a buddy. Some people like to run with others. It is motivating to know someone else is waiting for you or depending on you to get out the door especially on a cold, dark winter morning. Find a friend, neighbor or friend of a friend who is of equal pace to you or who can either slow you down on easy days or speed you up on quality days.

6. If you can’t find a buddy, join a running club. Most metropolitan cities and even some smaller communities have running clubs. These may be held out of a retail location or “man made” club meet up location. Run clubs guarantee there will always be others to run with of various levels and paces. Some run clubs hold quality workouts on specific days of the week and others just are there to have company at every run. Google for information in your area or ask fellow runners if they know of any clubs. It’s a great way to meet like minded people, and sometimes leads to #5 (finding a buddy).

7. Set yourself a schedule. Putting your run days into your agenda is a much better way of guaranteeing success than deciding last minute whether to go out for a run.  Of course this schedule can be and should be flexible based on life circumstances, poor weather, kids’ schedules etc. The most important thing is that you reschedule if you can and not just give into “laziness” on too many of those days!

8. Hire a coach. If your goal is speed and race times, there is no better way to almost guarantee success than hiring a knowledgeable coach. Having a set process for achieving your goal with steps along the way based on science and experience is a great way to run well. You don’t need to be training for long distance in order to feel like you deserve a coach. I hired one last year to train me for 5km’s and to keep me in check from doing too much. My time went down by 2 minutes from March to September. It makes it so easy to look at the schedule and execute the workouts without having to figure it all out for yourself. The difference between an online workout you Google and a coached program is having the specificity for you and you alone as well as encouragement and feedback from the coach. An invaluable tool.

9. Cross Train. We’ve all heard this before. Cross training can help our running. Well it’s true! Whether that’s using an elliptical, cycling, swimming, doing yoga or Pilates; something about using different muscles and challenging the body in new ways is an excellent adjunct to any running program. Choose an activity that you enjoy or perhaps haven’t tried before and give it a go. Cross training can be used when the weather is ugly and you still want a workout, or if you are injured or recovering from an injury. Cross training also helps to prevent injury. Mixing up the way your body is used is a great way to avoid overuse injuries.

10. Get into a weight training program. It’s proven fact that the more muscle tissue we have especially as we age, the better it is for our metabolism, bones and strength maintenance. As a runner, stronger leg and core muscles can make your running more efficient (more muscle=less energy required to move limbs, climb hills etc.). Cross training with upper body strength allows extra energy on hill climbing and speed work. High repetition and lower weight work aids in endurance building on your runs, where as lower rep, high weight programs build strength. Using a combination of both is a great way to build a strong foundation. There are a ton of exercises you can do with minimal to no equipment, at home, or in a gym if you have access to one. I’ve found so many great routines to mix things up online on various sites (Pinterest, Oxygen Magazine, Bodybuilding.com). In addition, Runners World and Twitter/Facebook are also great places to find some reliable information. If you are a total newbie to weight training, hiring a personal trainer who works with runners for a session or two to get you going on a program is a great investment in your running health for 2016.

11. Dress for the weather. Here in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is finally upon us. It was nice to wear shorts , 3/4 tights, and light tops through December but we all knew good things would come to an end! One thing I love about running is getting awesome clothes on before I hit the roads. I feel good, my sweat wicks, and I stay warm in all my trusted Mizuno gear. Breath Thermo rocks for comfort and warmth without overheating. Not to mention I feel great wearing it.

12. Address your imbalances. As a Physiotherapist and someone who loves to be fit and moving, I have had my share of injuries. One thing I personally try to do is visit my Physiotherapist (yes the physio needs a physio!!) at least once every 4-6 weeks. It helps keep those little niggles at bay and / or addresses past issues so they don’t become new issues. There is always something I could use treated even if it’s not hampering my day to day or interfering with my enjoyment of fitness. If you have someone in your contacts list that you have to been to in past whether that’s a Physiotherapist, Massage Therapist, Chiropractor, or Osteopath, try regular visits if you don’t already do that. It just may save you from having to spend more time and $$ in their office down the road. If  you don’t currently have a health professional to help you out, ask your friends or local run shop. Nothing beats Prehab!

13. Dial in your nutrition. I do not have a background in nutrition training, so I won’t claim anything that I’m not qualified to claim. I will say that eating whole natural foods is a good practice to follow. Counting calories in my opinion is a waste of time and what I have learned over the last few years is that intuitive eating with foods most close to nature will lead to an overall healthy nutrition practice. It will fuel you for your workouts and help you to recover from those same workouts. I love making new recipes I have copied from Twitter, or Pinterest, for homemade granola bars, protein bars, and energy balls. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy the odd Quest bar from time to time but I do try to eat more whole foods and eat when I’m truly hungry and eat what I feel like eating at that time.  Wholesome meals and snacks plus fluids give you far more bang for your fitness buck, but also allow for the occasional “treat”. Mine is dark chocolateJ .

14. Replace your shoes. What better way to start out the New Year than to start out with a new pair of running shoes! Unless you received a new pair for Xmas or had just replaced around Thanksgiving, then you are likely okay. It’s important to change your shoes within every 5-6 months. More often if you run over 100km / week. The golden rule of thumb is to change your shoes every 400-600 km or 300-500 miles. I always err on the side of the lower end, since waiting until they “run out” can mean the difference between an injury and no injury. It’s not necessarily the outside of the shoe that breaks down and is visible, but the midsole, which we can’t see just by looking at the shoe. There are a lot of shoe counters out there online which allow you to track your mileage on if you so choose.

15. Plan a race season. If racing is something you like to do and use for goal setting and running regularity, then by all means plan out your race season. It’s an awesome way to stay on track with your running through the winter months and see progress along the way. Just be honest with yourself and your training time in planning this so that you have ample time to train for each event. As a general rule, 16 weeks for a marathon, 12 weeks for a half marathon, and so on. This is assuming you have somewhat of a base prior to starting the program. If not, you may need a longer buildup before you start a structured program.

16. Just get out there! Finally, the best way to make your running awesome in 2016 is to get out there in the first place! I know I am somewhat of an anomaly when it comes to exercise. I get excited before bed each night to be able to wake up and get moving. This I know is not how the majority of the world sees it! So for those of you not like me, try hard not to allow that little voice to talk to you out of getting up and getting out there. Success starts by making an effort to be successful!! (Oh and I made that upJ).

See you on the roads!



Elise Blog image 2016 Elise Yanover is a former competitive age group triathlete and  runner, who now runs for fitness. As well, she loves to strength  train and do yoga. Elise is a registered Physiotherapist with over  24 yrs of experience treating both athletes and non athletes alike.  In her spare time, she likes to read, enjoy the fresh air and tryout  new recipes in the kitchen. Elise is a mom to a sporty pre teen  girl and a wife to a man who also likes to run. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *