5 Ways to Be Your Best Self in 2015

It’s that time of year again when the cookies are plentiful, running streaks are keeping some of us honest for at least one kilometre a day, and every women’s magazine on the rack is reminding us that in 2015 we can be “better” (and lose five kilos in the process, yay!). And yes, we drank copious amounts of eggnog this holiday season, had a little extra butter with our dinner rolls, and didn’t pass up that second glass of wine at a dinner table overflowing with relatives. But no, we’re not going to be “better” if we only focus on what happens if we shrink ourselves down. This is going to be the year we get “better” by focusing on what happens if we build ourselves, and by proxy, those around us, by being our most awesome, “best” selves that we can (and maybe running a few kilometres too).

So, how can we be our “best” selves? I’ve got a few ideas.

1. Set a goal

Do you want to get up off of your couch in the evenings and run around the block or do you want to qualify for Ironman Kona? Your goal is up to you, but the first thing you’ve got to do is determine what it is. If you want to lose the two kilos that are bothering you, then let that be a goal. Just don’t let it be your only one. Maybe this is the year that you go from a 5K to a mud run, or the year that you make the leap from half to full. This year, I’m not planning on running a marathon, but I would really love to do a kids’ race with my two youngsters and have them run until their legs are tired and their smiles are huge, and to have them earn that finisher’s medal at the end, instead of parading around the house with mine. Though, I’ll admit that it is pretty awesome to watch your three and five year olds wearing a medal and asking when they can do a marathon too. I’d also like to shave some time off of my 5K, so I’m going to figure out a course of action that is going to work for my lifestyle this summer, instead of having training take over my days. Small goals? Maybe. But they’re the ones that are going to work for me and that I know I can attain while staying sane.

2. Get to work

A wise woman (me) once said, “you’re not going to get around the block if you haven’t put your shoes on.” If you’re not willing to put the work in, then you’re not going to achieve your goal, plain and simple. Let people know that you’re buckling down and draw on their support. Last year I can guarantee you that drove half of my friends into hiding my status updates on Facebook, since every other post was a Map My Run update (or a cute picture of my kids, you’re welcome), but that public accountability to myself was gold. Putting it out there that I was going to bed early because I had a 29-kilometre run in the morning was partly what drove me out of that same bed early (so very early) for most Saturdays in autumn, winter and spring.

3. Diversify

You may hate hill repeats or sprint workouts or long, slow runs on country roads. I hate hill repeats, sprint workouts and running as fast as I can on a country road with no shoulder because I’m scared of (a) wild animals and (b) wild drivers. However, all of these things (even knowing how to stay safe around cars!) are going to help you get stronger and fitter and closer to whatever goal you have set for yourself. Mixing it up will kick boredom to the curb and keep you coming back for more. I listen to Pandora (or Serial) for just those reasons when I’m running. Telephone poles while I’m listening to Taylor Swift? Yep. Recovery kilometre while I’m trying to figure out if Adnan really did it? Yep, that too.

4. Eat right

Notice I’m not saying “lose weight”. But, let’s be honest, everyone (except the youngsters with the impossibly fast metabolisms) need to watch what they are putting in their mouth. I would eat pizza for every single meal until the end of my life if I could; however, I know in my heart (yes, in my literal heart where the pepperoni and cheese would be building up) that is not healthy. All the mileage and workouts that you do aren’t going to be undone by hot chips with your (occasional) cheeseburger, bacon and eggs after your long run, or a frosty beer as you soak in an ice bath. You just want to make sure to eat a salad once in awhile and drink some water. See #3: Diversify.

5. Have fun

Let’s be honest. No goal is going to be reached if there isn’t a little laughter along the way. Wear a funny costume to a race, cheer on your fellow runners from the sidelines while they race towards the finish, and encourage someone else who seems like they are struggling (heck, this is a good one for LIFE and not just for running). If we’re not having some fun, then what’s the point? One of my most memorable runs was a regular workout in college when the sprinkles turned into a downpour. My teammates and I dodged streams of water down the city streets until we realised that it was futile and we splashed around trying to get as soaked as possible until we were done. The simple enjoyment of life in that moment (not to mention the extremely long hot shower that I took afterwards) made me remember why I loved to run.

I hope 2015 brings you PBs and things that you check off your bucket list, and a genuine respect and admiration for the life that you have. Just promise me that you won’t let the scale define what your “best” self is going to be this year.

Build yourself up and don’t shrink yourself down.


Coach Marathon

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