19 Dec 2018

20 running goals for 2019 that are nothing to do with, like, actual running

Hey look what a lovely obviously unposed photo this is of me blissfully looking into 2019

It can be easy to reduce your ‘next year goals’ as a runner to: be better. Be faster, be fitter, be slimmer, run more, run further, run b e t t e r. 

Yeah, I’d love a sub 27min 5k. I’d love a sub 55min 10k and a sub 2hr half marathon. I’d love a sub 5hr marathon. I’d love to do an Ultra… wait, what, who said that? Idk, I didn’t say anything…

Here are 20 goals that aren’t to do with being a better runner. Here are 20 goals that are to do with better experiences.

If you haven’t been to parkrun, do parkrun
Seriously, do it. Just once. Sign up and print off your barcode (all free), get up early on a Saturday morning, and do your nearest 5k. Experience the community, the diversity, and the kindness. 

Volunteer (more) at parkrun
If you’re a serial parkrunner but haven’t done much (if at all) volunteering, have a go. Marshal, hand out finish tokens, tail walk, timekeep (my personal fave). parkrun wouldn’t exist without volunteers, so it’s good to give back if you can.

Do some parkrun tourism
By the end of 2018, I’ll have (hopefully) done 62 different parkrun courses. I love parkrun tourism, and I’d be lying if I said we hadn’t partly planned our big Canada trip next year around which parkrun courses we could do over the three weeks… It’s so fun to experience different routes, how other core teams work, running with just another 20 people and then with thousands. And testing out the different post-run cafes, naturally. 

If you already do parkrun tourism, make sure you go back to your home run
I’m guilty of this. We call Southwark our home parkrun, despite the fact it’s very much not, because that’s the first parkrun we ever did and the one we’ve been to the most. We know the core team quite well and feel at home there. But we should go back more and support them, instead of gallivanting around the country. So if you’re a tourist, don’t forget where it all started for you…

Buy those Tikiboo leggings
Ok, I’m done with parkrun goals now, I promise. BUY THE DAMN LEGGINGS. Treat yourself. Running doesn’t have to be about buying the cheapest, most bland gear. Go colourful. Get weird patterns. Look like Elmer the Elephant. I need more Tikiboo leggings in my life as a matter of urgency.

Do an international race (or parkrun)
This one is very obviously dependant on time and money and effort, but give an international run a go, even if it’s parkrun. It felt bizarre doing parkrun in Poland this year, but we loved it! You’ll meet people from all over the world, tour different cities in a different way, and maybe even get some free local delicacies out of it.

Run with a friend 
Never forget that running should be enjoyable. Instead of going out at a specific pace for a specific time or distance, go out with a friend for a slow run and a catch up. Go exploring, have a natter, and forget you’re running at all. All chill like.

Run without your watch
Go on, I dare you. Run for running’s sake. Leave the watch or phone at home and just… run.

Drink some more bloody water

Make a new playlist, or try out podcasts
I’ve listened to my running playlist so much now that it’s just white noise. It’s background music that doesn’t actually distract or motivate me. So update your playlist, or try out podcasts, or listen to the radio. Change things up a bit.

Pace a pal 
Instead of burying yourself in your own little PB bubble, get involved in someone else’s. If a friend is trying to get a personal best and you think you can pace them to it, have a go. Encourage them and be their keenest supporter, and then take your own advice when you’re struggling with your own personal bests…

Fundraise without an actual charity place
Run for charity because you want to, not because you need a place for a race. They’re obviously great too, but choosing to run for a charity when you already have a race place is like gold dust for charities. I know, because I work for one. With no hard fundraising goal so no pressure, you can have fun with your fundraising, and raise money for a charity that truly means something to you.

Learn how to do those french plaits for a race
And then teach me.

Get fitted properly for running shoes
Get yourself to a place like Runners Need (other running shops are available) and get your gait analysed... just ask someone who works there that that’s what you want, they’ll know what you mean. Look like a knob on the treadmill as they scrutinise how you run, then try out some recommend trainers. It’s lifechanging (and free to actually get analysed).

Don’t run for a month
Plot twist. Sit down. Don’t move. Put your trainers away. Give your body a rest and feel what happens when you don’t run. It’s very interesting and super helpful with getting to know what your body and mind need. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Do something stupid when you see a photographer
Honestly, forget trying to get a ‘good’ running photo. We all look like dicks. If you see a camera, pull a face. Jump in the air. Wave. Flash your tits, I don’t know. Anything. 

High five everyone
Everyone. Even if they don’t have their hands out for a high five. You make the first move. High five the kids. High five the volunteers. Take their sweets (if they’re offering, please do not take candy from an unwilling baby). Laugh at their signs. Wave. Wave some more. Smile. Interact with those on the sidelines, it’ll make you run faster if you don’t concentrate on the running for a bit, trust me.

Run without a route
I mean, please don’t run in the middle of the woods in the pitch black, be sensible, but not all good runs need a plan. Just go out and run. Have an explore. See where you end up and just run to run.

Look after your body even when you’re not injured 
It’s worth it. Have more baths, stretch, use a foam roller, do some yoga, STRETCH. Did I mention stretching? Looking after your body will prevent injury instead of nursing it. You’ll feel stronger for it, so make the time.

Organise a social where you don’t talk about running
And lastly, drink. And eat. And show people what you look like with your hair down or not in trainers. It’s great having running friends but don’t define your friendship on just that. Just like your job shouldn’t be your life, running shouldn’t be either. So make the time to hang out with running pals and talk about other stuff. Unless they’re terrible people and you like containing them in the running circle. That’s fine too. But it is possible to talk to your running friends about, like, TV and… whatever else it is that non-running people do…

You don’t have to take on all of these goals. Hell, you don’t have to take on any. You do you. But that’s just it: you do you. Reflect on your own running ‘journey’ (sorry) in 2018 without including anyone else’s, and be excited for what you could do in 2019…

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