The number one New Year’s resolution is losing weight. This general and vague goal is a tough one to follow through on. How much is enough weight? How soon do you want to lose this weight? Instead of setting such a broad goal, scratch it and set something more specific. Maybe instead of this resolution, set a resolution to run one or all 5 of these races. You can save the half marathon and the full marathon for next year, or if you’re feeling really ambitious, set out to run all five.
1. Color Run: Running should be fun, and the people who put on color runs make sure it is. I haven’t run one of these yet because I like trying to place in my age group, and the color run is non-competitive. But it is definitely on my list of races to run If you are a beginner, this could be the perfect race for you. Get a group of friends together and set out to run it. Color runs are only 3.1 miles, an easy distance to train for. Most likely you won’t lose a ton of weight by training for a 5K, but it might end up being the push you need to make running a habit instead of a chore.
2. Valentines 5K: Why Valentines? Because if you started training now, you could be ready to run a great Valentines Day 5K. Most training plans range from 5-8 weeks depending on your fitness level. This would fall around the time when your New Year’s Resolutions don’t seem as magical as they did at 12:01 on January 1. By running this kind of race, you can reinforce actions into habits.
3. St. Patrick’s Day 10K: In case you forget, this would fall somewhere around March 14. Like the Valentines Day 5K, if you started training now, you would be more than prepared to run a great 10K (6.2 miles). When I first began running, 6 miles seemed like an impossible goal. Three miles seemed much more realistic. If you find yourself nodding in agreement with this feeling, challenge yourself. Push yourself to achieve miles that seem impossible. Look at this kind of race as a way to push your mind and your body.
4. Indianapolis Mini Marathon: Ah, my favorite half marathon. This year it falls on May 2. This race runs all throughout downtown Indy and on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It’s the nation’s largest half marathon, and the course is filled with runners, musicians, and spectators cheering you on to the finish line. Registration is still open, but it usually fills up soon after the new year. I’ve run this race four times and am signed up for my fifth one this year. If you’re starting from square one, this race may seem overwhelming. I have no doubt that you could run it. If you enjoy pushing yourself or want to become better at self-discipline, this could be the perfect race for you. Don’t live close to Indianapolis? Look for a half marathon close to you. If this is your first one, I would pick on that is larger as that first half marathon can be a little tough and you can never have too many people cheering you on.
5. Chicago Marathon: This year the Chicago Marathon is on October 11, 2015. Registration usually happens in March or April and is done through a lottery system. However, because it is a large marathon, you have the option to run for charity. This means that your entry into the marathon is free, but you have to raise money for the charity you signed up with. However, running for charity has benefits on race day, not to mention the fact that you’re helping a nonprofit raise money. A marathon is a large undertaking. It requires 17-18 weeks of training. I started training in June for this October race. Yet this one race taught me more about life and running than any other event I’ve ever taken part in. It’s a finish line that I hope to cross again some day.
Need help with a training plan for each of these? I always go to halhigdon.com. Here you will find training programs for 5k, 8K, 10K, 15K, half marathon, and full marathon. Each of these distances also include training plans for novice, intermediate, and advanced and provides detailed descriptions of the workouts.
Happy running and cheers to the new year!