Five things to try in 2014

IMG 1129 224x300 Five things to try in 2014

Get out here instead of on pavement for a change of pace

If you’re at all like me, it’s easy to become a creature of habit with running. We tend to run the same routes, race the same races, and repeat the same kind of training season after season. But that can get a bit dull and it certainly can stagnate your running. So I’m proposing that in 2014, we shake things up a bit. Nothing radical, just a few simple changes to keep it interesting and keep us growing as runners. My five to try:

  • Get off the pavement and onto a trail. There’s nothing better than taking your shoes off the pavement and onto the dirt. It’s an entirely different experience and one that not only refreshes the mind, but the muscles as well. Give a local trail a try sometime this year. I have a feeling you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
  • Mentor a beginner. Can you remember back to when you first started running? You were probably pretty intimidated by the whole thing and in search of advice on all things running related. Take a new runner under your wing this year and help him or her to get the most out of his/her training.
  • Go slow. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–most runners run too fast on their easy days. Try to set aside even one day a week to slow things down and let your pace go. You’d be surprised at how refreshed this can make your legs feel the next time out. Start by doing this the day after a hard run to get the most benefits.
  • Volunteer at a race or with a local running club. Trust me, there aren’t any race directors out there who couldn’t use a little help. Find a race nearby and give up a morning to pitch in or find another way to help out behind the scenes.
  • Try a new race distance. I’m kind of dumbfounded sometimes by how many runners out there have done the marathon distance and half marathon distance only. There are so many other short distances and you really might be surprised by how much you like them. My personal favorite? The 10-miler.

These are just starting points and I could easily have made this list longer. The point is, a new year is a natural place to start fresh, and I think there are plenty of ways to hit the refresh button on your running.

What new thing might you try in 2014? Did you try anything new with your running in 2013?

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  1. My plan for 2014 is to do a lot on this list. Trails, new distances, slowing down and just having fun. Hopefully all while staying injury free!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..One Marvelous MileMy Profile

  2. Great ideas! I was taking the other day about running races in cities I’ve never raced before and distances I’ve run ever raced before. 6k and 15k are next…

  3. I love these ideas!! I have never volunteered at a race but I would really like to…since I don’t have many races to run in 2014 I have plenty of time to do it! I’ve heard great things about trail running too.
    Janelle @ Run With No Regrets recently posted..Let’s Catch Up: Post-Thanksgiving and Entering DecemberMy Profile

  4. You are so right about running routines! I’m happy to say that I’ll be venturing out in a lot of ways this year – scary but true!!! One thing on your list that has eluded me is volunteering at a race. It’s almost embarrassing that I have yet to do this! I’m going to make it happen this year. Thanks for the reminder:-)
    Allie recently posted..How to Stuff Your Whole (Foods) FaceMy Profile

  5. Yep, Yep, Yep, Yep and Yes, trails and 10K’s are on the menu this year, along with finding a running shoe that just works, instead of always looking for greener pastures. Also be willing to experiment with other ways of training, instead of the “this is what I have always done”, you can always go back to that, but you might enjoy something new :-)
    Harold L. Shaw recently posted..Week in Review – 12/15/13My Profile

  6. it’s crazy–but so am I :-)—BUTBUTBUT I am mentoring a runner in 2014.
    It’s an oakland group for inner city kids and more than anything Im mentoring with a 5k happening at the end ;-)
    MIZ recently posted..what you can when you can (AKA #wycwyc).My Profile

  7. I love mentoring and working with beginners! There is so much joy to be had helping someone through the early hurdles of the sport :)
    Christina recently posted..Good week of running and ginger teaMy Profile

  8. now is the perfect time to give back and volunteer! I love that idea. I love them all!
    Lindsay recently posted..Gluten Free Talk- Health, Wellness, and Fitness.My Profile

  9. Love all of these but especially #2 – I think it’s such a great idea and will mean the world to someone who is just beginning!!!
    And I’m guilty of #5. I’ve never raced a 5k – AGH!

  10. I’m ready to get back to 10Ks! My favorite race distance.
    Nicole recently posted..Fitness Stocking StuffersMy Profile

  11. I need to do more race volunteering for sure!
    Amanda – RunToTheFinish recently posted..Understanding the Fitness Self for workout motivationMy Profile

  12. GO SLOW!! i always try and tell this to my little brother regarding running!!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..Win a $100 Athleta Gift Card by Supporting #MyFitWishMy Profile

  13. For me it is trails and ultras … I have such convenient running right around my house and the way my schedule works going elsewhere is not practical in the morning and inconvenient on the weekends (with family activities). Traveling for work this year there was a great place with trails I ran a couple of times per week … definitely want more of that!
    Michael Anderson recently posted..Seasonal Saturday – A Place for Everyone on our MantleMy Profile

  14. Great challenge, I’m definitely going to mix things up in 2014. Moving a few times over the last 5-10 years has kept me mixing it up as well!
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..Find Joy in the OrdinaryMy Profile

  15. I like my routines and don’t feel the need to shake things up all that much. I suppose my five kids keep me on my toes enough. I like running to be my go-to-place.
    Mom’ s Home Run recently posted..Failing by exampleMy Profile

  16. All good ideas. We don’t have any nearby trails, but at least I could do the dirt path in the park instead of the paved one sometimes!
    Gracie (Complicated Day) recently posted..Hot oiled hairMy Profile

  17. Definitely going to try more trails this year and running more for fun. I am also going to coach a Girls on the Run group at my little ones school. Truly looking forward to 2014.

  18. Great post! I plan to do a few of those things myself (get on the trails for races anyway, and change my distances). I already run slow in training so have that one covered! All the best for 2014!
    Robin recently posted..Last Race of 2013My Profile

  19. These are all great ideas! I volunteered at my first race back in October, and I definitely want to volunteer at more races in 2014!
    Kathryn @ Dancing to Running recently posted..30 Day CountdownMy Profile

  20. Always good to try something new now and again to keep things fresh! One of the best things I did this year was to volunteer at couple of races and will be doing it again in 2014. I’ve also promised my husband I’d try running trails with him.
    Michelle @ Running with Attitude recently posted..Monday Re-setMy Profile

  21. I really want to try trail running. I am a little nervous about it but willing to give it a try!

  22. What a great list! Now that marathon season is over, I’m ditching the pavement and hitting the trails hard. LOVE it! I also get tired of doing the same local races. My husband and I want to add some destination races in the future. And every runner should line up on the other side of the finish line. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your local running community and experience the joy of running in a whole new way.
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..My Christmas To-Do ListMy Profile

  23. dang it. I was totally off base. Was thinking to try “fluffy-er pillow” for improved couch-azzing in 2014.
    Yum Yucky recently posted..Leg Day WorkoutMy Profile

  24. GOING SLOW has been helping me get back to running HAPPIER for sure!
    Kat recently posted..Monday’s Motivation #50 + back home!My Profile

  25. I love this list!!
    I’d love to go back to trail racing, which I haven’t done since cross-country over a decade ago! I’d also like to run a few 10k and maybe even 5k races.
    And I really should volunteer! I volunteered at a bike race in 2013 and loved it!
    Abby @ Change of Pace recently posted..Better late than neverMy Profile

  26. I definitely want to volunteer at a race this year! Its happening! I appreciate all the volunteers so much! I want to giveback!
    Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail) recently posted..Triathlon Talk – Week 2My Profile

  27. I think a 10- miler is my favorite too! Very rare bird in these parts! I was just thinking I’d love some ‘fresh meat’ (aka different races) in 2014. I’m also planning something totally out of my zone. We’ll see if I actually do it!
    Marcia recently posted..Runfessions: Holiday EditionMy Profile

  28. Great list!!! I actually tried a couple of the things this past year (trails & new distance). I’m not sure what my year in running will be like – I will have to use the list and think about it some.
    Kim recently posted..Does Simple Count?My Profile

  29. I love trails SO much more than roads! And I love volunteering.

    My new thing to try this year was racing for a time instead of racing for a distance. I’ve trained to finish a race as best I could and developed goal times after training, but I’ve never gone into training aiming for a specific time.
    Kate recently posted..The one we’ll talk about for years: Pere Marquette 2013My Profile

  30. Can you believe I’ve NEVER run on a trail before? Ever. What have I been thinking?! I’m with you, I need to make this a goal for 2014, no doubt. Thanks for the reminder!!
    Sarah @ Sweet Miles recently posted..Running on Flat Feet – The EffectsMy Profile

  31. I definitely want to do more on trails next year. I’ve really enjoyed the couple of trail runs I’ve done in the last month or so and want that to continue. And I want to do at least one really easy run a week. I’ve started doing these with my dogs in tow and I let them dictate the pace. We mostly run but if they want to walk a bit we walk. If we need to sniff we stop and sniff. And if we need to pee – they pee and I try to find a toilet.
    Char recently posted..Love/HateMy Profile

  32. I love this. Altho I believe that I have found my distance (the half), I refuse to do the same race twice. It has been pretty fun to find new ones every year! I’ve got a few for next spring that I’m considering. I’ve talked about how age is taking a toll on my running, and so in 2013 I tried something new…and something I’m going to continue is my cross training via crossfit. This has just been a blast! Every week is a new workout. The benefits to my runs have been just short of amazing.

  33. I love this! For me, my to do list is to run healthy and happy wherever that might take me!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Snowy Morning Run and Still BelievingMy Profile

  34. I ran my first 50K in 2013!

    I haven’t worked out all of the details of 2014, though – perhaps some travel races around SE Asia, and mayyyyyybe (although shhh!, because I haven’t really told anyone yet) training to actually run a FAST (rather than this year’s FINISH) marathon. =)
    Holly @ Run With Holly recently posted..Culture Jolts (“Jolt” is less than “Shock”, right?)My Profile

  35. MAF training was new for me this year, definitely continuing next year. This winter I want to try cross country skiing again, as well as snow shoeing.
    Kovas – Midwest Multisport Life recently posted..Meet the MomentMy Profile

  36. This is a great list, Amanda! One of the things I love about my job, it taking new runners under my wing and watching their excitement as they finish their first 5K, 10K, etc.
    Debbie @ Deb Runs recently posted..Picking Out The Best Tree In The ForestMy Profile

  37. “off the pavement” awwwww.

    Yes, trails is def. on my radar for 2014… there are big things in store for me next year. If all goes well, if all goes well.
    Pavement Runner recently posted..The @RunThisYear 2013 Finale GiveawayMy Profile

  38. Great list! I’d like to do them all!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted..5K Race SpectatorMy Profile

  39. Fabulous ideas for changing things up in 2014. I’ll be challenging myself by entering the world of triathlon. One of the best times I had this year was volunteering with my family at Ironman Arizona. A great experience for us all.
    Beth @ Miles and Trials recently posted..2013 Running HighlightsMy Profile

  40. I have yet to do an official 10-miler. I feel like there just aren’t that many in my area!!! One of my “things” for 2014 though, is to definitely do some more 5k’s! I have only done 2….ever.
    Crystal@TheFastFitRunner recently posted..GIVE ME YOUR OPINION: To Buy a Treadmill, or not?!My Profile

  41. I REALLY want to find someone to mentor this coming year. I think about how far I have come and know that I wouldn’t be where I am without the help/support/advice from those with more experience. I would love the chance to give back!
    Laura @losingrace recently posted..CIM: Race REVIEWMy Profile

  42. New to me attempt…again! Run 50 miles. I’m sure my final goal list will have a few more new-to-me-in-2014!
    Jill @ Fitness, Health and Happiness recently posted..14 in 2014My Profile

  43. What an awesome list! I think you’re right, often we get caught up in the same old routine. One new thing I would like to try this year is to work on speed. I really focused last year on just getting the miles in, but I’d like to actually WORK at it this year. And you’re totally right, I need to get my butt on a trail this year! No excuses not too, and it will be a lot cooler in the hot Carolina springs and summers.
    Cheri recently posted..Run Hack! #runhack #lifehackMy Profile

  44. love these! i started over, so that was new to me :) i already have a beginner runner or 2 in mind, so that’s top of my list.
    elizabeth recently posted..Lots of Tacky SweatersMy Profile

  45. Great list! I would add to choose a race not for it’s PR-ability, but for some other challenge (hills, elevation, etc). My husband and I ran the Lake Tahoe marathon for our 10th anniversary and it was definitely difficult at about 6200′ with a nasty climb called the Hill from Hell. Needless to say, not a PR course, but the stunning views at Emerald Bay made it such a great memory for both of us. Plus, it took the pressure off to run a fast time.
    Kate recently posted..20-miler recovery: Ice baths, misery to blissMy Profile


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